It is said that there are just 7 degrees of separation between us and any other person in the world. I don’t know who coined that phrase or when it was first stated but I feel quite sure it was said after the birth of the World Wide Web. I know, I know, it could well have been before that but I mean how was that study first set up? Letters sent all over the globe? Or the Researcher travelled extensively? Or perhaps their great grandma told someone else’s great great aunt by marriage…..????? nah! the answer to it must have been the WEB!
Yesterday my husband and I made our weekly visit to the Campground Laundry facilities and therein met a gentleman passing through town in his Motorhome. He hails from Ohio and just happened to have pulled in for the night. Before he was off to his next destination, he decided to throw in a load of washing. Outside the laundry room, he ran smack into a cousin of his that he had only seen a few times in his life. (He is about 68 yrs old). Granted his people originated from this area but he had never lived here. It brought to mind the amazing coincidences I too have experienced in my life. I shan’t touch on all of them and not even many of them but one particular incident stands out in my mind and that one I shall share with you.
In 1987 my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. My 7 brothers and 3 sisters gathered together for a very festive weekend in a lovely chalet in Quebec in January. We laughed and danced and sang and honored our wonderful parents who were thrilled to have us all together again at last. It was to be the first time we were together in 25 years and the first time in our lives we all sat together for a meal. (with such a large family, we sat for meals in shifts). The weekend was perfect. One of my brothers had researched (before www) and got newspaper clippings from their wedding day; we got a special blessing from the Pope, etc etc.
After the weekend, I flew home to my waiting family in Bermuda. Later sharing the news with my husband and children, I showed them the copy of the newspaper clipping with the wedding announcement in the Society pages of the Halifax Herald. He had reduced the copy size to make for easier handling and so while the print was small, it was quite readable. In the center of the page was my mother’s engagement photo. Her lovely smiling face was the focal point of the news for that day. In looking over the page, my daughter Jennifer exclaimed, “Mom, why is Mr. Gascoigne’s name in this newspaper?” (Stanley Gascoigne was our neighbor in Bermuda and my very close friend’s husband)I hadn’t bothered reading all the little society tidbits but scanned the paper then. Sure enough, it was written up, “Mr. Stanley Gascoigne, from Bermuda who is a student at Mount Allison University is visiting friends in Halifax for the weekend. They enjoyed an afternoon tea.” To think that fifty years later, the daughter of the lovely girl in the photo would be his next door neighbor and a dear dear friend. I often thought that maybe he saw that page and in looking for his name in print admired perhaps the pretty young girl who was to be married that day in New York City. Who would have thought?