Tuesday, 22 September 2009

What a coincidence!


How many times do we have cause to utter those words!


The photograph is of our village. We live about a mile and a half out of the village but it is still "our village". The farmer was born in the house we live in and has never lived anywhere else (apart from a very short time after our marriage, when we lived in the attached farm cottage). He went to school in the village - walking across the fields each morning to get there. His father and his mother went to the same school. When he was a young man he knew almost everybody who lived there.

My mother and father were both born in villages. My father only ever moved about three miles away in his entire life. My mother went into service at 14 into a house in Lincoln, which was twelve miles away from where she lived - she then married and moved four miles. I was brought up in their village and as a small child we used to play pencil and paper games (my parents and I) to pass winter evenings (pre TV) and I could name every house in the village and everyone who lived there!

But life isn't like that any more, is it? Now there are only a handful of "locals" - the rest are incomers (or off-cum'd 'uns as they are called by the locals). The farmer knows these locals and their wives or husbands, because they married local too - ten miles was as far as you went looking for a mate when you had to walk! He came name the provenance of local families for several generations back given half a chance to reminisce!

But now we are mobile. My Dad never owned a car. In their entire lives my parents went once to London (not impressed), several times a year to Glasgow, where my brother lived and many times to Lowestoft, where my sister lived. When I moved to the Midlands their horizons widened considerably as they came to stay with us.

I went abroad for the first time to Paris in 1953 - then after a gap of a few years I have been all over the world. My sister and her husband went round the world on a cargo boat as a retirement present to themselves. My niece lived and worked in the Solomon Islands for some years. How the world has changed.

That neatly brings me to coincidence. I could tell you of dozens of times when, on holiday, I have met people and within a few minutes of starting a conversation I have found a link - either they live in a place where I know somebody, or we have a common acquaintance - or something similar. These kinds of coincidences give credence to the idea that truth is always stranger than fiction.

Sitting on the banks of Lake Maligne in Canada a few years ago, drinking a coffee and looking at the beautiful scenery,a couple asked if they might share our table. They asked if we were English (I'm afraid it shows!) and where we came from? After a few minutes conversation they located the exact village where I had been born and asked if I remembered a Mrs McGillivray.

She had lived next door to us for some years. "She was my sister!" the woman said.


Have you had similar experiences? I'll best most of you have. If so I would love to hear about them. Have a good day.

23 comments:

jinksy said...

Truth is always stranger than fiction, that's for sure.

Kim said...

Hubby originates from new Zealand but moved in his early twenties to Oz where we met, married and settled down. In his mid-thirties we bought a taxi cab which we operated in one of the major cities here in Australia. One night a man jumped in for a lift home and who should it be but an old school mate from his youth. Weird how it should be our cab in a very large city in another country that he jumped in to.

Gramma Ann said...

When we moved to Iowa eleven years ago, 850 miles from where we both lived all our life. The first day, we went in this little restaurant here in our town for lunch. We started talking to a man and turns out he knew where we were from, since his son-in-law was the minister of the church two of my sisters attend. Later, when his daughter came to visit them, she brought one of my sisters with her, dropped my sister off at my house, and we had a fun visit together.

Dave King said...

I haven't anything to match that, but a college friend of mine decided to try tracing his ancestors and discovered two cousins, brothers, who had lived two doors from each other for very many years and did not know they were related.

Reader Wil said...

I remember the first time we met on blogspot, that you told me that your first husband had also been in a concentration camp. That was also a coincidence! The world is smaller than we think.

mrsnesbitt said...

I remember when it was Jon's birthday surprise. I had organised for him to spend a day driving a steamtrain in Birmingham. We went, together with a friend and my FIL. We went into a very big waiting room where lots of other "would be" train drivers were sitting with families etc. The chap in charge asked all the drivers to stand, must have been about 30 of them. He went round counting 12345 go with... he came to our corner and pointed to Jon and 4 other men "Right he said, you 5 go with John and the train driver (John) came over to the 5. They were all called John! How is that for a coincidence?

Heather said...

That really was a coincidence Weaver. We have moved several times during our married lives on account of my husband's work, but I think it must be lovely to have lived in the same place for years. I like the idea of putting down roots. I grew up in a village but left when I was 18. The only coincidence which comes to mind concerns being on holiday in the Channel Islands and meeting someone from our village at home, on the beach. I can remember my grandmother telling me when I was small that I should always behave myself when away from home, as there might be someone there who knew me - she was right, wasn't she?!

Linda said...

We live in a Toronto suburb and the lady living in the house whose property backs onto ours, Mrs. Redden, went to the same public school in Mitcham, in England as my husband's Mum. They grew up two streets apart. You are only six degrees of separation from anyone in the world. Meeting the people you met at Maligne Lake Weaver, is rather extraordinary since it is in a remote part of Canada, although it is a hot, tourist destination. Still, it isn't a place you expect to meet up with people and reminisce. Thank you for this interesting post.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Weaver: I loved the glimpse into your and your husband's geographical history. While travelling and living in different places has its allure - there is something comforting to me about being so settled that you know each crack in the sidewalk, and bumps in the road. Perhaps it solidifies a sense of belonging (a la Maslow).

You have managed to "weave" both travel and constancy into your life. How wonderful.

Isn't it simply amazing when you make those connections with a stranger?!!

I love to hear about people's backgrounds, histories, experiences - perhaps that is why I chose the work I do.

Love this post Weaver.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

"It's a small world" is probably just as appropriate a term for many of these coincidences. When we were on holiday in California, lookng out at the ocen at the Big Sur near Carmel, a couple heard us talking of Scotland and asked where we lived; St. Andrews we said. The gentleman's sister had been living there and they had recently been over as she had passed away.

Holidaying in Spain with friends once, our friend's doctor from UK was sitting in the same restaurant!

Hope the dentist went OK.

Golden West said...

My neighbor on the corner and I knew each other slightly, just well enough to wave hello and use each other's first names. We'd see each other while I was gardening and he'd walk by with his dogs. One day he approached me with the business card of one of my dearest friends, who lives 3,000 miles from here in a small town with a population of 400. The neighbor had been hiking there in the Catskill Mountains and run into my friend, and once they got to talking about where each of them lived, it became apparent to my far away friend that the hiker and I lived on the same street.

The Weaver of Grass said...

As Jinksy so rightly says - truth is stranger than fiction. If any of the coincidences mentioned on this page were to be put in a novel people would never believe it, would they? I love Denise's 5 men all called John - how unusual is that? And all these cases of people from many miles away finding a link. Thank you for responding so well to the challenge.

Pondside said...

Last year on a boat at the tip of South America - a table full of Latin people. Three North Americans. One looked very familiar, and it turned out we were second cousins, once removed. The other North American, hearing us chat about Nova Scotia,piped up "I'm from New Brunswick" and named her city. I said "I only know two people in your city - my cousin Lori and her husband", "Oh, you must mean Lori and Auguste G____" she replied. They are good friends and go to our church.
The South Americans were probably thinking that Canada is seriously underpopulated.

MarmaladeRose said...

Lovely post. I'm affraid our Hull accents give us away where ever we go!...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

When I married my present husband and move 50miles from where I grew up I knew no one in the town we live in now. I was in a restuarant with friends talking and I heard a voice say "Lisa, is that you?" It turned out that a school chum of mine had moved here 20years ago. I had forgotten or didn't know. We got reacquainted.

Reader Wil said...

Hi Weaver! Yes there is a link to the puzzlesite. If you click on the jigsaw puzzle on my blog, you come directly on the puzzle site, which is called http://jigzone.com. But you can also click on the word jigsaw puzzle. The range of puzzles changes every day. And you can choose all kind of cuts.

Dominic Rivron said...

I think many such coincidences are not so coincidental as they sound if, as it is sometimes said, we are all merely 6 aquaintanceships away from knowing everybody in the world (or something like that).

Crafty Green Poet said...

I was in Botswana hitch-hiking with a friend (a fellow teacher in Malawi at the time) and we got a lift from someone who had been at University with my friend.

Studio Sylvia said...

Yes life does throw us little wonders that are coincidences, Weaver. To encourage my daughter's creative flair, I found an online scrap book shop, which was offering 2 hour technique classes. I communicated with the lady owner for about two weeks trying to co-ordinate a time. Eventually a time was arranged and we attended. This woman seemed familiar but I couldn't place her. I didn't say anything and as I was sitting there engaged in the activity, a name just popped into my head, straight out of the blue. I asked if her maiden name was .... and she said yes, in astonishment. She was a year or two behind me in primary school. We couldn't believe it. We hadn't seen each other for years and years and re-connected via the WWW.

Bernie said...

How wonderful that you have the advantage of both worlds--one with a lot of history and family and another with traveling to far off places and seeing a good share of the world.

I have always envied the people who have roots in one place. I moved when a child and also in my marriage so I don't have a place I can call my home town.

I enjoyed this post very much \

The Weaver of Grass said...

I would have thought that any one of those answers would have made a basis for anovel - hows about it folks.

thousandflower said...

I live on a very small island on the west coast of the United States with a population of about 100 (village size). About 15 years ago I was in a pub in Oxford, England and was asked by someone where I was from, it obvious I was an American. When I told her, Waldron Island, she said,"Oh, do you know the Bucknells?" Well, yes I did.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I could make a list of all these fantastic coincidences - isn't it amazing - maybe Dominic has a point - we are all within 6 people...........