In a recent publication of the Bluffton Sun, the editor shared a few of her “small-world” and “six-degrees-of-separation” experiences. We all have them.

One of ours relates to our life here, in this house, originally built in 1795 on the May River.

When we moved into this old house, we were acutely aware that no one outside the Huger-Gordon family had lived in it for the past 130-plus years. To say we felt like aliens and interlopers is an understatement.

In the process of acclimating ourselves to the house, we sought out stories about its past inhabitants. We hoped to feel closer to the family through those memories.

We learned that a patriarch of the family, Hugh Gordon, was, among other things, a highly-respected global aviator and a chief pilot of Pan Am Airways. In fact, he was the captain aboard the airline’s inaugural 747 trans-Atlantic flight from New York to London in 1970.

That flight, Pan Am Flight 2, carrying 342 passengers, was certainly no ordinary flight. The New York Times described the airplane as the “epitome of plushness… a luxurious auditorium some genie had wafted aloft.” A passenger told the Times reporter that the 747 looked like “Radio City Music Hall with wings.”

We can imagine that the champagne flowed generously that day. That everyone was dressed to the nines. That Chief Pilot Gordon was truly the man of the hour, if not the year.

Certainly, no one aboard that flight was likely to forget it. Ever.

Now here’s the fun thing. That small-world thing. That moment that connects us, the outsiders, to this house.

See, we already knew all about that flight. We’d heard stories about it for many years. We’d had vivid first-hand reporting from two of its passengers: my husband’s parents.

We hadn’t connected the dots until we moved here. We didn’t even know the dots existed.

Small world. Roger that. And, as they say, over and out.

Sallie Collins enjoys living on the banks of the May River and writes about it in her blog,, from which this article is taken.