If you read the following words out loud, it is likely that the song will pop into your head and get stuck there: “It’s a small world, after all.”
Disney might have made the song famous among kids, but even we older folks know that the words are true. We might call it “six degrees of separation,” but sometimes there are only one or two degrees.
We all have at least one “small world” story. You know the ones: Someone is having coffee in Starbucks in the airport in Paris (or Frankfort or Budapest) and looks up to see her long-lost college roommate 20 feet away ordering the same latte.
Or the family is strolling the beach in Florida and comes upon their next-door neighbors from Detroit, who they didn’t know would be in the same place.
My favorite personal story happened about 20 years ago. One of the first friends I made on Hilton Head was Fred Warren. A few years after we met, he got married, took a new job and moved to Connecticut.
When he and his wife had their first son, the birth announcement was in the local paper because he still had family here.
Hoping his old email address still worked, I sent a congratulatory message. Fred emailed me back, thanked me, and asked if I could mail a paper to him in Atlanta, where they now lived. I wrote down the address and mailed the paper the next day.
Several months later, I went to visit my brother and his wife in their new home in Atlanta. On our many trips to stores and restaurants that weekend, we drove up and down the same road out of their neighborhood. For some reason, the name of the road sounded familiar.
On the third day, it hit me: That road was the street name in Fred’s address, where I had mailed the birth announcement! On the next trip, I saw the name “Warren” on a mailbox.
Unbelievably, my old friend’s house backed up to and shared a fence with my brother’s backyard!
You can imagine the conversation when I called and asked him to walk to his back window and look out. I was standing on my brother’s deck, waving at him.
Something similar happened just last week when my son moved into a new house in Savannah. The address sounded familiar. It didn’t take long to figure out that my friends Ian and Marian had recently owned the house directly across the street.
Also last week, a wild small world story was revealed with a simple Facebook post. Our friend Larry Hughes shared a post about an idyllic childhood in his hometown of Easton, Pa., identifying “Doc Smith’s” where he bought penny candy. He also said he walked to March School every day through eighth grade.
I posted a comment, asking if Doc Smith’s was a drug store on Cattell Street. Larry replied that it was.
Here’s the amazing part: My husband, Amos, also was born and grew up in Easton, and he went to March School, as his mother had. He and his mother had once lived above Doc Smith’s pharmacy.
Further, I told Larry, Doc Smith’s full name was Amos Clark Smith – and I knew this because he was my husband’s grandfather.
Yes, it’s a small world after all. What’s your small world story? How are we all connected? Let’s find out.