Everyone has a few "Small World" stories where they bump into someone who knows someone they know, or where your past slams into your present. Sometimes these can be uncomfortable, like when the person from your past shares some awkward details, (details you left in the dust hoping to bury forever), with the person from your new life. OUCH! But sometimes they are lovely little reminiscences. These are some of those.
A friend entered a fund-raiser called The Polar Bear Plunge, (that's another story) and while sharing her story she mentioned the name of a friend and fellow plunger. My ears perked up. "I used to know someone by that name," I replied thinking, "How lame is it when someone says that?" and "After all . . . what are the chances that my Greg @$#^$$#$ is the same guy as her Greg @$#^$$#$? Well, it turned out he was! We attended the same third grade class, and when my family moved to a totally different county, I ended up on the same street with his grandparents! For a third grader with a crush on a nine-year-old, such good fortune seemed like the intervening of the gods in my behalf.
My crush on him passed on to other, more accessible ten-year-olds, but his grandmother became quite special to me. She had a wonderful library of books, and knowing how much I loved to read she invited me into her home on occasion to select a book to borrow. One day, I stopped in straight from the bus stop. An hour later, I remembered I hadn't been home yet, and when I did get home, my frantic mother gave me such a licking! Fortunately for me, she warned me about the smack-down I was about to receive all the way home, so I had time to prepare. I put every pair of shorts and my bathing suit under a pleated skirt to hide the bulk. And when she entered wielding the belt, I wailed my heart out, providing a convincing performance, though I never felt a thing!
I always liked Greg's grandma for sharing that library with me. She's passed on now, but I think it'll tickle her to know that little Laurie Chilcoat writes books these days, and that I'm going to share something from my library with her wonderful grandson and his family. Yep . . . I think she'll smile.
I had another one of these crazy wonderful moments just two weeks ago. I received an email from the librarian of a small town in Utah who was inquiring about when book three of Free Men and Dreamers would be available. The name of the town intrigued me because I had college room mates from that area. The name intrigued me too because one of the room mates also had that first name. Her last name was different, but . . . as I thought longer I remembered that she dated a young man by that name! BINGO!
I did the 411 thing, got the library's phone number and asked for her. I recognized her voice immediately.
"Hi, this is LC Lewis, (my nom de plume). Did you send me an email?"
"Wow! That was fast!"
"I think I know you."
"Yeah . . . did you go to BYU in '75'?"
"Yes. . . ." Her 'yes' was very tentative.
"I think I was your room mate!"
What a fun conversation we had for the next thirty minutes. It was such a joy to hear about her beautiful life and family, and to catch up on others from Fox City, the indulgent name we gave to our apartment. We've emailed a few more times and hopefully our busy paths will converge so we can meet in person again.
It is a small world. Feels sort of cozy, doesn't it?