01 February 2009

Faded Memory

I am finally done with entering all 773 alumnus from Newtown High School Class of 1985 into a Google Doc spreadsheet. The geek in me could not stand constantly flipping through the yearbook looking for a particular first name. When the reunion coordinator needed volunteers to help out with the process, I raised my hand, sort of, to create the list. It's 2009, you must have a digital repository to work from.

It is handy to have all the names entered. Twenty-four years is a long time and many people changed their names since then. Not just the women getting married and using the husbands' names. A good friend of mine changed his last name to better match the Chinese pronunciation. I myself stopped using my original Vietnamese first name. As long as the people didn't change their name totally, I can fly around the xls to locate their own name. Someone may have changed her last name, but if she was the only person with a particular first name, bingo!

It was a good chance to put Google Doc through its pace. I look forward to the offline Google Doc because the only version, while easy to share with the World Wide Web, is a slowpoke. I had to slow down my typing to let it catch up. At least it has an equivalent of End + Arrow in Excel. If you have a big chunk of data to go through, in Excel pressing End then the arrow key in that direction take you to the next contiguous cell that is furthest away. With Google Doc spreadsheet, the key combo is Ctrl + Arrow. So if I am at alumni #1 and need to quickly jump to alumni #773, instead of pressing Page Down several times, Ctrl + Down Arrow takes me right there. Neat!

There were certain high school memories that I still remember vividly and then there were others that totally disappeared. As I went through the yearbook, time after time I would learn that 24 years ago I knew a certain person, because he/she wrote in my yearbook. Some of them would address me by some nickname, others knew that I was going to Cooper Union, etc. Scary, but the mind sure works in some amazing way.

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