Wednesday, April 17, 2024

It's a Small World for Sara and Melissa

We've been running a column series to get more personal with our readers. We are currently in our fifth year!

This month, we are talking about small world coincidences we've experienced. 

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them. 

Melissa Amster:

I'm phoning it in again, as I have a busy week with Passover prep ahead. I wrote about this at my personal blog 11 years ago this month! 

In the past, I had been told about some really cool small world instances and was almost jealous of how wild the experience must have been. The first time I met my mother-in-law (when I had been dating my husband for a couple of months), she had gone to a Judaica store in West Rogers Park (an area of Chicago) and had a conversation with the cashier that led to her finding out that he was my brother-in-law's college roommate. And better yet, the same guy showed up at our family friends' house a few weeks later. I wanted a story like that for myself!

Shortly after I started my first job after moving to the DC area fifteen years ago, we had a holiday party that involved a tour of the White House. I had only been at this job for a few weeks and was still getting to know everyone. At the end of the tour, we were standing by the doors and complaining how cold it was outside. One of the women mentioned how the cold didn't bother her because she was from Cleveland. I asked her what part of Cleveland, since my husband also grew up there. She named the town and it turned out to be the same town where he grew up and went to high school. I imparted this bit of information to her and she asked his name. I told her she probably wouldn't know him since she was a few years younger. She said "try me." So, I told her his name. Then came the real kicker....she responded "I went to prom with him."

What are the odds that I'd get a job in Maryland working with my husband's prom date from high school in Cleveland?!? They obviously hadn't been in touch in a long time and I don't think she knew my last name prior to the conversation, so the topic probably wouldn't have come up if we didn't have this excuse to talk about it.

When I first told my husband about how this woman and I work together and how I found out that she knew him as more than someone in her yearbook, he told me that it was the small world story to top all small world stories. I dare you to come up with something better than this!

Sara Steven:

When I think of the phrase, “small world coincidences,” I immediately think of two things: the earworm song, “It’s a Small World (After All),” and the uniquely uncanny way that the universe can remind you of just how minute our world can really be.

I’ve had moments in time that I would consider small world coincidences. Technically, meeting Melissa could be considered a small world moment–years ago, she met and befriended my husband after communicating through an online chat board and commiserating over their shared love of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and then many years later, Melissa and I started chatting ourselves and we haven’t stopped talking in roughly fifteen years! 

Some other interesting coincidental moments:

* In 2016, I went hiking with a friend of mine to the top of Camelback Mountain, and on our way back down, we followed behind a man who looked familiar to me–he later turned out to be a former resident at an apartment community I used to work for in Nebraska! I hadn’t worked for the property since 2005, so imagine my surprise at seeing him in Phoenix, Arizona. He said he was in town visiting family. He also said he remembered me, but maybe he was being polite.

* I joined an October 2010 baby board chat group on after my youngest son was born. About a year into meeting and chatting with the other women in the group, someone suggested we all tell a little more about ourselves and where we lived. I noticed that one person had written, “Bellevue, Nebraska,” which is where I lived at that time. I messaged her privately to find out more, and it turned out she lived five minutes away from me! We decided to meet up for a playdate for our two babies, which quickly turned into a friendship.

* The friend I had hiked Camelback with–we’re nine days apart in age. I found out that her first car had been a 1996 Hyundai Accent. Purple. Just like mine had been! We also had the same purse when we first met, but hers was brown and mine was green.

* An ex-boyfriend (later turned husband) had walked into the roller rink my dad worked for when I was eighteen years old. My sister sat next to me on a wall bench, putting on her roller skates when I saw him stroll in with rollerblades dangling from around his neck. I jabbed my sister’s side a bit with my elbow and quietly said, “I’m going to marry that guy someday,” and her response was to laugh at me and tell me how idiotic I was. Later after the session had started, the mystery man and I had started a conversation. We both felt as though we’d seen each other before, so we began narrowing down the places we might have met, quickly throwing in random schools. We discovered we’d gone to the same elementary school our sixth grade year, we were in the same class, and when he asked for my name and I gave it to him, his eyes lit up and he said, “You’re Lizard Lady!”

(We’d had a “bring your pet to school” day during the spring of sixth grade, and I decided to bring a couple of pet blue belly lizards from home. Someone had taken a photo of me with both lizards crawling up my shirt for the school yearbook, and the rest is history.)

Do you have any small world stories to share? We'd love to hear them!

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

1 comment:

dstoutholcomb said...

Romance author Vicki Lewis Thompson (former Harlequin, now an indie) was my late father-in-law's neighbor when they were young. I found this out when I learned she had lived in that town as a child about eight years ago. I knew they were in a similar age range. We were talking more, and then she mentioned she knew a younger child by the name of Jimmy who used to come over and play. I confirmed the street with my husband's aunt. So wild.

Her father had been the Dean of Male Students at the small college in that town.