Do you ever get the urge to find someone from your past? I was thinking about Sue from high school a few weeks ago. We used to play guitar and flute together in high school plus spend a lot of time talking about life and philosophical questions. I had no idea how to find her except to type in her dad's name in an online phone directory. I knew he'd be around eighty five and saw nothing listed.
I've always been a bit of a detective. I love to try to locate things people have trouble finding. For instance, my cousin misplaced his wireless card. I was determined to hunt it down. It turned out to be in the mud room in an overnight bag's side compartment (he's sixteen and just put it in with his sleep over gear because he had no laptop case). There's something wonderful about finding something you thought was missing. But in the case of a friendship this goes even deeper.
I tried first to see if my high school had an alumni section on their website. They did not though this is a good tool to turn to first since some high schools have this database in place. Many colleges have this function so if you are after a lost college friend, try going to the university website and look in the alumni section. Some schools may charge you to join the alumni group in order to access certain info.
Another way that I know can work is to contact mutual friends from high school. However, in this case, I had no idea where our third friend lived and once again her parents' home was no longer listed in our home town phone book. Still, this could be a way to find classmate from the past that could work if there parents still lived in area.
I put my friend's name in quotes in Google as this can give an exact search and be more accurate than not to use quotation marks. Someone did come up, but it was not the same Susan as their age and pictures were totally dissimilar. Foiled again. I also tried Facebook and myspace which are good resources. My friend has always been unconventional and likes to stay invisible so I could not find her there. But social networking sites may be right for your own contacts.
There are some online services to check for missing people and lost friends. Some are free and will show if the person is listed in database though you will not get contact info usually unless you pay a bit. Try to really brainstorm on the person's birthday as this can be a very helpful clue to locate them. If they were in your grade it would probably be the same year as your or off by one year. Also write down their address that you recall as well as any job history, if you've had contact since high school.
I was in a rush as I was going to California for a workshop and the last I had heard was that my friend was going to grad school in California. I wanted to find out something so I did pay a small fee for an online service to receive the information. If I was not in a rush, I probably would've continued to play sleuth and keep seeking things out via search engines, free associations etc to track her down. I am doing that with another person from 11th grade that I am not in a super rush to find.
Do not forget an old friend as you can find classmate from the past. By the way we got in touch and she is still as amazing as I remember her. She shared some insights about my family that were helpful too in sorting out certain patterns I am trying to get beyond. Friends can have insight into your family and your past.