Searching for my Husband
Every now and again I do a search for my husband. I suppose I should call him my "former" husband, as he walked out on me 3 years ago with forty two dollars in his pocket determined to make a life for himself as a drug addict. He had written me a couple severe letters after he left. For an inarticulate man he stated himself clearly when he wrote, "I'm done with you." Ouch. I wasn't done with him. I thought if he got clean he might contact me. It couldn't be that hard. He has my address, my email address, everything except my phone number. Month after month passed by and I did not hear from him. I began to wonder if he was dead. Drug addicts don't usually live as long as alcoholics or "normies." I watched with sadness as other people we had known in AA passed away slowly and quickly. Still, no word from Howard.
One way to find a person is to go on "Facebook" and put in their name. Unfortunately if the person has a relatively common last name and first name, such as Howard, hundreds if not thousands of people show up. There are manners to filter: by school if you attended school with the person, as well as by work place. If you don't have either connection to the person though, the filters are kind of slim. There seems to be no way to filter by city and state.
Another place I look for him is on MySpace, where less people set their setting to private. I was able to ascertain he had communicated with his grown children. He had even posted that he was thinking of moving before the year's end to the Midwest where they live. Then the trail grew cold. He had never replied to a niece who had sent his MySpace a message. Not wanted to disrupt the lives of his children, I found their mother via their "friend list." I emailed her, and asked if my husband was with them. She replied, that after an initial contact communications from Howard grew more and more sporadic until they stopped hearing from him altogether. Was he dead I wondered. Using again? With a drug addict it's so hard to tell.
The irony is, if you are a regular person who pays your bills on time your privacy is compromised. Go to any free search engine, such as "white pages" on line and you will find your last couple of addresses, people listed as your nearest relatives, often even your phone number and email. When I used to check for fraudulent orders when I worked retail I sort of liked being able to check up on people like this. Now I find it annoying and invasive. I see myself as listed as a relative to someone named "Neil" who lives in New Jersey on Intelius, and I don't even know who this Neil person is. I'm not sure how the information is being culled or who to call to correct it. Similarly, if I search my first husband's name, I come up as a relative under my name at the time (ie with HIS last name) which is no longer my name, and I am no longer related to him. . .but it must be true I read it on the internet. Here's the irony: if you are a loser drug addict your privacy is protected. If you couch surf or if the lease and phone are not in your name you have no records to show. If you buy things cash because you have no credit, no records show. You can be unfind-able rather easily if you are a drug addict.
Intelius has a lot of teaser come on. For additional money you can get additional information. One afternoon in pique I did sign up for the next level of information. I didn't really want court records, I just wanted an address. In the olden days this information was loaded free in the public white pages phone book. Anyone old enough to remember Steve Martin in "The Jerk" might remember the scene when he happily realizes he's IN THE PHONE BOOK. Once upon a time the public library used to keep around various white pages phone books which were useful for looking up current information. They stopped that practice about ten years ago when white pages started to appear on line. The difference, the white pages on line is full of outdated information. After paying money to get "further information" all I got were the old addresses Howard had when WE lived together. How useless is that? Write a letter to someone based on a 5 year ago address, it's going to come right back to you if you pay for first class.
Another manner of search is via the rootsweb.com or ancestry.com website. You can search by first and last name, even better is if you put in the social security number. IF the person is dead they will come up in the death index. I check every two or three months to see, although I suppose if he's loaded and passes away as a street person, the body might not be identified. I wonder if it would be reported. He still had his original Social Security card when he left, and it was so faded, I don't know if a person could read it.
The other day at work a gentleman asked me if he could ask me a personal question. "What was your husband's name?" He asked me. I told him, "Howard." The man replied, "because I think I ran into him at the VA hospital in Los Angeles. He looked clean. I hardly recognized him. You remember how he looked before he left? Always scruffy and kind of bedraggled. He looked good."
"Oh my," I said. "I would so like to know how he's doing.""Well, I didn't recognize him, but he said 'hi' to me, and asked me how it was going up in the mountains, after he left I asked someone 'who was that?' I can't think of who else it would be, who else would ask me about living in the mountains?" That was the last known sighting.