If I asked you what Clinton meant to you, many would immediately think of an American President.
For many Canadians, the names Steven Truscott or Lynne Harper might come to mind.
If you’ve ever been at the corner of Highway 4 and Highway 8, you recall the big radar screen. After all, it is the Home of Radar.
Or, if you’re a reader, maybe Alice Munro.
For others, it might mean CFB Clinton or, before that, RCAF Clinton. (Or even long timers might remember RAF Station Clinton) And most recently, Vanastra.
For many of us, Clinton was just home.
Out for a coffee a couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about the ability of Facebook to make connections to people and places from all over the globe. I kept thinking about this and sent a private message to a childhood friend, Paul Anstett, who is incredibly well connected on Facebook.
“What would you think if we started a Clinton group on Facebook and see if we can’t find some old friends?”
His response, “Sure, why not?”
So, I started an Open Group and made both Paul and myself administrators. I invited a few of the friends that I knew (most courtesy of Paul, I should add) and Paul invited a bunch. Then, as they say, they invited two people who invited two people who invited two people…
We called the group If You Grew Up in Clinton, You Remember…
What happened was actually quite amazing. As of the writing of this post, there are almost 1,700 members. Not bad for two weeks of the word getting spread from two guys and two keyboards. What’s more amazing, the town only had a population of 2,000 when we lived there.
We didn’t know what to expect, but we threw out this invitation…
and we started the ball rolling by mentioning Bartliff’s Bakery which remains a spectacular “must visit” place if you go to town.
Within a short period of time, people checked in and started conversations about so much, uniquely Clinton.
- bumper riding;
- gravel runs;
- Central Huron Secondary School or before that Clinton District Collegiate Institute;
- baseball, softball, road hockey;
- virtual walk down the main drag giving kudos to the town fathers and sustainers;
- remembrances of real driving up and down the main drag on Friday and Saturday nights;
- the old arena;
- the new arena;
- school dances;
- pictures from family albums and yearbooks;
- and the list goes on and on.
The people joining the group brought back powerful memories as well. Sometimes, it’s the family name that jogs a memory of someone I knew when living there. Sometimes, it was the actual person.
Then, there was Pat. She started engaging in conversation including the fact that we lived in the same neighbourhood. It took a while until I realized that this Pat was actually a Patsy that I knew. Rats to married names! Paul has attempted to address this and started a chain asking for members to let us know their maiden names.
We even had folks check in from where they’re living now. So many people stayed in Clinton or Huron County, but there are checkins from every province, the US, and from around the world.
It’s been an addicting two weeks. Every time the computer is turned on, there seems to be another dozen or so announcements. Because the group is open, it’s self-managing with members inviting and/or inviting friends and family. To date, we haven’t had any spammers join us – Paul and I keep an eye open for that scourge of being electronically connected so that we can blow them away if they ever show up.
It’s also finally given a purposeful use to the old yearbooks that we’ve been hanging on to. I haven’t aged a bit.
To date, it’s been a great ride. If you think of a topic of interest, people are quick to jump on it and make the conversation and memories so rich.
There probably will come a time when we’re all talked out. By then, there will probably be a Seaforth group. They always wanted to be like us!