Tracing an old friend | A Bitter Sweet Taste of Success
Tracing my old friend for 47 years | was it all worth it?
I had been trying (unsuccessfully) for almost 47 years, to trace my dear old friend uk. The one who I spent nearly all my early years together with. My unforgettable and cherished friend from the past, where are you?
Having exhausted many other avenues I decided to contact Friends reconnected. I was impressed with their long history in the people tracing field and I just felt comfortable with them. Especially after talking to John, their 74-year-old talismans. An experienced People tracing operating in both the UK and overseas.
Interesting he undertakes many old friends traces in Australia. Where he enjoys reconnecting ex-pats both ways is highly popular.
Tracing my old Friend
Find A friend from the past. Specifically tracing my old friend for 47 years. Here is a redacted account of the story. Was it worth it?…. Yes, But unfortunately it was a case of defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory.
To protect identities we have given them fictitious names. Joan Is the name of our client, and Sheila is the name of the lady she is searching for.
? Joan:- “I would very much like to contact a very old friend from the UK. She disappeared out of my life around 1974…. My god -almost 50 years ago!
Over the years, my thoughts often wander back to those heady days when she and I were inseparable pals. Vowing we would (come what may) stay best of friends forever.
Unfortunately, circumstances dictated otherwise, and we lost touch! I will elaborate on this lower down the page”.
Slipping into my “memory lane mode”.
Dithering, pondering and flickering between should I or should I not!
People tracing? Is there any point in raking over events from almost 50 years ago?
I am amazed at how much time has flown by. We have moved from being fresh-faced and rather naïve young teenagers of the swinging 1960s to today being 70-year-old grandma’s.
“Where in the world is Sheila today?” How has life been treating her? Moreover being almost 5 decades since we last met – is she still alive”? Sadly the answer to these questions, I presumed, would never to come to light!
Hardly believable but here I am attempting to trace an old friend named Sheila, after 47 years. Daren’t tell my Grandkids, as they would probably think I have taken leave of my senses.
People tracing Services.
The logical question you may well ask is: why have you not been able to make any form of contact?
It’s quite simple actually. Despite numerous attempts, I have never been able to get a fix on her whereabouts.
Although I vowed never to give up, I have sometimes felt that another aborted effort might prove a bit too much. I am not really sure if I could face another failure. it’s like as if she doesn’t want me to find her. Maybe I should take it as an omen.
At the same time, I find it very difficult to accept (resign myself to) -in truth- that Sheila is probably lost to me forever.
People Finders for most people this would be no big deal.
“What’s all the fuss about?” After all throughout our lives, friends inevitably come and go “so just let it go”. It’s just one person out of more than 60 million people.
Indeed many would see it as part of life’s inevitable complex pattern and process of events. Nobody’s fault- “Dry your eyes and move on”.
That’s all very well, but I am very much ‘old school’. Part of that resolute and mainly honourable, decent “so-called – baby-boomer generation”.
A generation born in the shadows of World War 11. Born to parents who believed by and large in integrity, decency and do not tell lies, honour and a work ethic.
Tracing my old friend for 47 years- Virtually A Lifetime Actually!
Oh, well it was almost 50 years ago
Who knows they may no longer even be with us any more. For many especially the older generation this is not the way to go.
Take for example a recent client of ours, now in her 70s. Seeking an old friend not seen since 1973.
Grassing Her Up!
Joan goes on to say: “The worst part is, Sheila probably mistakenly thinks I grassed her up – which is incorrect-I didn’t.”
All due to a sad and unfortunate misunderstanding as to where the blame should be apportioned. Sadly due to a somewhat abrupt parting of the ways I never had the opportunity to explain. This is something which has bugged me for all this time.
Back in the late 1960s, Sheila was a great school friend and neighbour with whom I grew up with. Alongside Sheilas two sister. All in our teens we spent a lot of time together partying, going to disco’s lots of late nights and generally enjoying ourselves.
Sheila then gained a place at University moving to another location 1966-9
Subsequently on to Cambridge University 1969-70.
After Cambridge, she became a school teacher.
Thereafter In the early 1970s, she married, became pregnant and took on a new career direction as an Air Stewardess with the distinguished and world-famous BOAC.
This involved quite a lot of travelling from her home in the Midlands to Heathrow. Quite challenging especially with a newborn baby to look after too.
Joan and Sheila’s friendship remained intact.
Often Joan would come to the house to help Sheila with childminding, house tasks, cleaning, ironing, cutting the grass – you name it. This was very helpful as her husband worked away a lot.
It was then agreed she would come and live -in with Sheila as a permanent housekeeper babysitter/nanny. A good idea all round to keep an eye on Sheila’s house whilst she was working, and her husband who was also often away. Sheila wanted Joan to continue to stay with her as a trusted housekeeper and to care for the child which she happily agreed to do.
However, as time went on it became apparent the marriages was showing signs of friction and discord. Indeed the marriage had started to take a nasty turn. Whereby the husband as well as being manipulative, started to become violent.
This resulted in Sheila taking the decision to move out.
Taking the daughter with her to her grandparents.
In the meantime leaving Joan to look after the house and the unenviable task of potentially facing the wrath of the irate husband.
The only request made was; please do not divulge where I and my daughter had moved to.
In fact, Joan kept her word and never divulge to Sheila’s husband where she had moved to. However, unfortunately, he did find out with some nasty consequences
Unfortunately, Sheila was convinced that Joan had revealed to the husband where she was living. They had a huge confrontation and broke off the friendship. Our client refused to defend herself other than repeating it wasn’t her and just let her go. From then on they never ever saw each other again.
Joan heard Sheila had moved to Kensington.
Apparently she employed an Au pair and carried on working as an Air Stewardess.
Shortly after she moved on to a houseboat moored on the River Thames. Subsequently, moving to Putney or Barnes. Somewhere between all that she remarried.
Tracing my old friend for 47 years-some task!
Last seen each other around 1974. Simple brief to us; Find Her!
Chapter Two Search For Sheila.
Tracing my old friend for 47 years
In June 2020 Friends Reconnected were instructed by Joan to find her old friend Sheila not seen since 1973ish.
Friends reconnected take over what happened from thereon;
We began by establishing Sheila’s place and date of birth. Also, the same information for her two sisters. Together with the names and places of birth and marriage of their parents.
Thus enabling us to pinpoint the dates and place of marriage for all three children. Following on, we researched if any of the 3 girls had divorced along the way. The only one was Sheila, which showed the year, dates, and indeed subsequent marriage, to whom, and where.
The two sisters showed crystal clear information
They were both traced to current addresses in 2020. However, the mystery individual Sheila we found ourselves struggling. Her second marriage was identified as well as the date and a location in West London. Logically quite near to Heathrow where she was working.
So we had all the remarriage information nice and neatly parcelled up. This included the name of her husband, a birthplace, and any sibling.
By then Joan was naturally and understandable becoming quite excited. But at the same time, we were becoming somewhat alarmed as we had hit a brick wall. \we could not get beyond her West London addresses.
No record of any children, no addresses no divorce or separation-Zilch!
We were aware she lived for a while on a houseboat in Mortlake, then a residence in Richmond Park. She was a bit of a hippie, great fun, and wildish. Also a party animal.
So we now move to plan B
A sideways direction movement shift towards her sisters.
Something Friends Reconnected Often resort to when hitting the proverbial brick wall. Luckily we had a 2020 address for one of her sisters. However, we did triple check as to its authenticity. We have learned from experience It is only too easy for something to slip through the cracks.
We noticed among the list of other residents at her sisters home, one surname which struck a chord like a bolt of lightning, the surname matched the last married surname of Sheilas. Quite easily missed actually but luckily our chief researcher spotted it.
The coincidence here was too much to ignore. Yes, we were right it was indeed Sheila’s, daughter. Next question: why was she living with her aunty?
This led us to conduct a check of registered deaths under Sheila’s name. Unfortunately against desperately hoping otherwise- There It Was. Sheila, … death recorded in 1993. Crossed checked and it was sadly “our Sheila”.
A feeling of sickening misery enveloped over all of us. The opportunity of Joan ever being able to finally make peace with Sheila was stolen. Our hearts went out to her. That true and faithful pal who went to so much trouble and expense, to be so cruelly robbed of victory by the grim reaper.
The only consolation is we passed on to Joan, Sheila’s sister’s address. Hopefully, both she and Sheila’s daughter will want to speak to Joan. If only to learn what a good and loyal friend Sheila had.