Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hey, I Know Him

Sometimes, I can be very silly and embarrass my children. I've done this before. When they are lucky, they don't find out about it. There was the time I walked over to a soldier and began talking to him - only because he had a turquoise beret like Elie's. There was the time I told the soldiers sitting at the checkpoint that I was Elie's mother and I was bringing him hamburgers.

A few years ago, we opened a Training Center in Jerusalem, there to offer courses on technical writing, marketing writing, QA Software Testing, Translation, and so much more. Elie was "in" on helping us set up a lot of the workstations. He worked for hours to build desks, put together chairs and cabinets and computers.

The one thing we didn't do at the time, was set up an Internet connection on each workstation. We rationalized that people would be distracted, check their email, play games, and so we didn't run the wiring.

A few months ago, a neighbor in the building opened a branch where they teach people how to play an online game. I don't understand the mechanics of it, but they give sessions to teach people how it works. The only thing is, only the teacher has a computer most of the time. So, at some point they came over and asked if they could run a few sessions here in our computer center. We agreed in principle and all was well...and then a few days ago, they came over and asked if they could have the sessions "tonight."

I explained that I didn't have Internet access, which was critical. I said we could have...but we don't. So they sent over one of their computer people and we began figuring out how we could run wires and connect as many workstations as we could. We actually did quite well and got 14 stations up and running and connected.

As we finished each one, I clicked the browser icon and navigated to to test if we were really online. It seemed simple enough. Honestly, I'm not a great fan of CNN, but you can rarely find a shorter URL address. At one point, the computer expert sat down and started to type in, explaining that he would use my chosen website.

I said, "well, if you want my choice, go to my blog." I opened the browser, typed in the address and a second later, the blog, with Elie's picture, opened up.

"Hey, I know him," he said to me.

"Artillery," I said and was amazed to hear him mention Elie's brigade number and division.

"You really do know him. How?"

"I taught him how to shoot," he said.


"Yes, I was his instructor during basic training for shooting."

No, he doesn't remember how well Elie did or much about him other than his face, his group - but it was still a wonderful feeling to connect with someone who knows Elie in that world he goes to when he leaves home.

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