Heard from Marty Biviano. This made my sister nearly choke when I called. I’d like to say, being the communications professional that I am, that I was not surprised. But I choked a little too.
I mentioned Marty Biviano in a blog I wrote several entries ago on coed dorm rooms now being allowed at the University of Chicago.
I was trying to illustrate how much dorm life has changed from when my sister attended Lincoln College in the late 1960s and men had to sign in with the dorm mother. Men like Marty Biviano, my sister’s boyfriend her freshman year in college.
I did not have to mention Marty by name or really talk about him at all. But I liked the story about her having to rush their goodnight kissing to make it in by the 10 p.m. curfew, another feature of dorm life in the 60’s.
And I liked his name. Marty Biviano. I mean, it’s a great name and I thought it gave the story a little added color and credibility.
I called my sister back to tell her this and she thought I was a little more nuts than usual.
“You’re writing about Marty Biviano?” she asked. “Are you sure it’s OK to use his name?”
“Why?” I asked. “Was he secretly married as a freshman at Lincoln College? Was he leading a double-life and really part of a religious sect that did not permit kissing?”
“Fine,” she said, only a teeny bit exasperated.
And then Marty Biviano e-mailed me.
From another state nowhere near Lincoln College, nor his hometown.
My sister was blown away.
I was also astounded, as if this was the first time I have ever written anything that appeared on the Internet and was seen by real people I did not personally know who did not live in the Chicagoland area.
Marty could not have been nicer. If we were surprised, imagine how he felt, he wrote, when his son sent him a link to a blog referring to his life more than 42 years ago.
He remembered what my sister had described and he remembered visiting our house and my parents lending them their car for his first drive into Chicago. I’m not sure he remembered my sister trying to pass him off as being Jewish to my father, who cared about such things in 1968 and was clearly easy to fool.
Sadly, Marty didn’t have any stories about the adorable little sister but it must have been a brief visit.
He updated me a little on his life, I updated him a little on my sister’s and now we’re e-mail buddies.
But there was one thing I still had to know. Though I’d like to think this website/blog of mine gets around, and I know it has moved beyond my immediate family, how did it get to Marty?
I wrote him again and he responded that just by chance, his son had Googled his name and it was in the top 5 hits. I was suddenly proud. Top five, wow.
Googling yourself is not a new phenomenon. It even has some nicknames, like “egosurfing” and “egogoogling.” No name that I know of when you google your loved ones, but I’m sure it’s in the works.
My daughter Amanda once googled herself and was shocked to learn that she was the author of two “books” – one on the tennis player Anna Kournikova and another on Allen Iverson. She was about seven at time and didn’t recall having written two books. So I had to come clean and admit that I was not all that proud of the rush-job I did for a European publisher (I mean, Anna Kournikova? Need I say more?) and decided they would be ghostwritten by Amanda.
“Oh, great,” my husband said at the time, “now she’ll never get into a good college.”
So amusing. At least she can buy them all up for about eight cents each.
Marty said he’s sure he’ll never hear the end of it from his family regarding his brush with fame. He also told me he was a retired public school band director, which gave me the perfect opening to e-mail him all about our son’s budding music career.
Funny, I haven’t heard back from him in a while.