Missed Connection

You: An elderly African American gentleman in cream colored windbreaker and a read Marine Corps baseball cap, nearly hit in the head by my infant son’s sippy cup. Me: A doughy, over-apologetic, middle-aged white guy in faded black jeans and a t-shirt with a drawing of myself as Snow White… We chatted briefly about our childhoods and the cleanliness of Grand Rapids as we waited for the historic locomotive at Greenfield Village. You mentioned Charleston, where you’d moved 25 years or so ago, and how you were surprised to find better calamari in Michigan. You told me that you were originally from New York, but the years in South Carolina were perceptible in your voice, which was calm and kind. We both laughed about something. I can’t remember what. And then we were pulled in separate directions, me by my family, and you by the older British man and woman that you were traveling with. If we’d had more time, I would have asked how you came to be in Michigan, traveling with a British couple, but I never had the opportunity… If, by some chance, this happens to find you, please give me a call. I know that I’m half your age, and live a thousand miles away, but I really think that we might have something special… in a same-sex, strictly-platonic version of “Harold and Maude” kind of way.

That’s what I just posted to Craigslist at the urging of Linette, who I think has grown tired of me moping around and lamenting the fact that I didn’t get the name and number of this older gentleman that I’d hit it off with yesterday, as we stood in line at Greenfield Village, waiting for the train. It’s not like me to have such an easy rapport with someone, and I knew, the minute we’d drifted apart, that I should have run after him and gotten his name. As the family and I sat in the car, shortly afterward, making our way home, I wondered aloud whether I might have enough information to track him down… Could I call upon a friend at Greenfield Village to access their security camera recordings? Might I have a shot at persuading someone at Charlie’s Crab in Grand Rapids, where he’d eaten the day before, to sort through their register receipts, looking for parties of three that ordered calamari? Might there be someone at the Charleston VA who could post my picture, and a note asking for him to call me?… And, as I obsesed, I could hear Clementine scribbling furiously in the backseat.

When we got home, Clementine presented me with this. It’s a BFF (“Best Friends Forever”) necklace. “It breaks into two pieces. You wear one part, and he wears the other part,” she said. “It’s squid, because you both love calamari.”


In all seriousness, I really did like this fellow, and I know it’s unlikely that this post will help me find him, but I thought that I’d give it a try, as I rarely hit it off with anyone like I did with him. In fact, the last time I had an experience like this was in about 1994, when I first started hanging out with my friend Ned Cartledge, whom I still miss very much, now more than ten years after his passing. Remind me one day, and I’ll tell you about him. He was really an incredible artist and human being. And I know that I have video of him somewhere in my office that I should upload to the internet so that you can all meet him.

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  1. Posted August 12, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    This was my first time posting on Craigslist. Apparently you can’t just say something is a “missed connection”. You have to state your sex, and that of the person you’re hoping to find. So, this post of mine falls under the “Men Seeking Men” section, which I think is kind of odd.

  2. dragon
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    You: Aging doofus Caucasian American wearing a Corner Brewery t-shirt with knee high sweat socks, nearly having his ipad knocked over by my kid’s basketball.

    Me: Middle aged black guy wondering why you’re taking notes, and looking at me like Wayne Brady.

  3. anonymous
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, Google is not yet strong enough to give a name and address when you enter, “old African American man from Charleston who enjoys Grand Rapids calamari”.

  4. NSA case manager
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    His name is Felix Alexander Johnson (b. April 7, 1932). He currently resides at 451 Myrtle Grove, Charleston South Carolina, where his friends call him Lex. He lives alone, having lost his wife in 1994 to cancer. They had one daughter. She currently lives in Florida where she works as a nurse. He has no grandchildren. According to credit card data, he travels frequently both in the United States and abroad. The man he was traveling with was most likely Robin Elliott, with whom he corresponds by email regularly. (There’s a more than %80 chance that they met while both were serving in Japan in the 1960s.) Credit card data shows that he enjoys seafood of all types, not just calamari, and tends to prefer Holiday Inns. He is presently in a suburb of Chicago, staying with a friend from the Marine Corps. He will be returning to Charleston on Wednesday. I hope this is helpful.

  5. Kristin
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Oh Clementine. What a good girl you are trying to get your dad worked through this.

  6. Grandma
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I love Clementine’s imagination and mind!!

  7. Elliott
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I’m anticipating the kinds of responses you’re likely to get from this m4m Craigslist post, and I’m worried for you.

  8. T.
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I am an elderly man who likes to eat fried seafood. Can I date you?

  9. Edward
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Making friends is difficult to begin with, and it’s harder with age.

  10. XXX
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s easier to find someone to fuck in this world than someone to talk with.

  11. Posted August 14, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you should post it to the missed connections in Charleston, Sc. ?

  12. Oliva
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Hope you find him again. Think you will.

  13. EOS
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I’m wondering why no one has called out Mark for writing that “men seeking men” is odd???

  14. anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I think he’s saying that it’s odd that his “missed connections” listing, given the structure of Craigslist, had to be forced into the “Men looking for Men” section, which is pretty sexual. I don’t think he was making a judgement call about men having sex with men. He was just saying that it was weird that his “I want to find this man and be his friend” listing got put there.

  15. anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    All I’m saying is, he’s just saying that he’s just saying, is all I’m saying. What I mean is that all he’s saying is what I’m saying, which is that he’s just saying. That doesn’t mean he’s not saying, which is what I’m saying, and by he I mean I, as I’m just saying what he’s saying.

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