Blown Away By The Power of the Internet

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It can be used for bad (witness the folks who get dumped via text messages), but it can also do miraculous things. For example, it has brought me in touch with numerous relatives searching my family tree: I’ve gotten to know whole new branches of my family, and will now be going to Nashville in late June 2007 for a family reunion. I’ve gotten to know more of the Weinbaum clan than I’ve ever thought existed. I know far fewer of my father’s father’s side, although I am in regular touch with a relative on MySpace (those of you in Davis might know him: Erik, who plays the bagpipes).

However, the Internet has just blown me away.

Not many people know that I had a brother, Erick. He was from my father’s first marriage, about 8 years older than me. I never really knew him that well (for how well does a 5 year old know a 13 year old). In 1969, he started school at UCSB (a law degree, I believe). This was the era of the hippies, and he dressed the part, with long stringy hair. Sometime while he was at UCSB, I have distinct memories of visiting him in the dorms, near Isle Vista, not long after the Bank of America burned. During the summer of 1970, while I was at camp, I received word that he had been electrocuted. This is a tragic shock (no pun intended) to our family, and I think changed people in many many ways we didn’t realize for years. Over time, we lost track of Erick’s friends. Some died, some drifted away. But I always wondered what happened to folks like his girlfriend or his college roommate.

About 15 minutes ago, while working on the family tree, I received the following email:

are you the daniel whose father was adrian and brother was erick? if so, i was his roommate at ucsb and have been wondering what happened to you and the rest of your family.

Whoa! Blown away time!

I just got off the phone with Andy, Rick’s roommate. He works at BJE Jewish Community Library in San Francisco. I don’t have the whole story, but evidently my brother was involved in some way in pushing him into religous studies. Amzaing the paths one lives takes. We spoke briefly; we’ll hopefully get together the next time he is LA.

The power of the Internet.