The Curiosity Shop

Chance Meetings

They say, "It's a small world", but sometimes you have to wonder what the odds are that you're breaking when you run into somebody you know far from home. When my step daughter started her job with American Airlines she was stationed half way across the country, in New York City. One day she was getting off a bus and as she made her way to the door, who should she see but her Aunt from Galveston who was in New York for a few days.

I've had a coincidental meeting and a coincidental near miss myself. The meeting involved a friend from high school. My high school was in the San Francisco Bay Area and I graduated in 1965. In 1974 I was in my second year of graduate school and a new resident of Canyon Crest married student housing at UC Riverside over 400 miles away in southern California.

My new wife, Denise, and I had met many of our neighnors, but not the couple in the single unit just past the east end of our duplex. One weekend day, while I was working on something inside, Denise went to take out the garbage. That involved a walk not too far from that single unit. On the way back Denise noticed the lady who lived there was doing a bit of work outside and she stopped to introduce herself.

The lady's name was Kathy. She and Denise talked for quite a while. In the course of the conversation they discovered that both their husbands were from the town of Castro Valley. After a while Kathy's husband, Phil, came out and joined in the conversation. Denise said, "Kathy says you're from Castro Valley. My husband's from Castro Valley too. Where did you go to high school?"

"Oh, I doubt that I would have known your husband. I graduated from high school quite a while ago, 1965." Phil said.

"My husband graduated in 1965." Denise responded.

"I graduated from Canyon High School"Phil replied

"So did my husband."Denise said.

"Well, who is your husband?"

When Denise told him he exclaimed "Garr!", in disbelief.

I saw Phil running past our kitchen window and was amazed. We caught up on what eachother had been doing since we last saw eachother. He was finishing up a Ph.D. in neural biology and I was starting mine in Math. He, Kathy, Denise and I all became friends. Phil and Kathy are very nice people.

Having Phil living two doors down, 425 miles from home is odd, but not nearly so odd as my experience with another friend named Alan. Alan was another friend from high school. We shared an interest in astronomy, the hobby of AM radio "DXing" and a taste for Gerber baby food plums. I hadn't tasted the plums since I was a baby until I met Alan. His father was the manager of the local Gerber baby food plant, and brought home the plums. They ARE good. Toward the end of our sophomore year Alan's father got transfered to Arkansas. We kept in touch for a few years by mail, but eventually lost touch with eachother.

After guaduate school, my first job was teaching math at UW Stout, in Menomonie, Wisconsin. I shared an office with a Statistics Ph.D. named Alice. Denise and I got to be good friends with Alice and her husband David. When Texas Instruments was interviewing in Minneapolis in the Spring, Alice and David invited me to come with them. I did. David was offered a job that day and Alice and I were invited to Dallas for further interviews. Alice and David made arrangements to buy a house on the interview trip and I tried to find an apartment to rent should I be offered a job. I had no luck. There were only two apartment houses in Lewisville, Texas, where I was to work and neither had a vacancy.

When we got back, Alice and I had job offers waiting for us. When the school year was finished we moved to Texas. I stayed with Alice and David for about six weeks while I waited for an apartment to become available in the not too distant town of Irving, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Denise spent an additional week or two with friends in Wisconsin and then made her anual trip to see her parents in California. She got to Texas shortly before our Irving apartment became available.

Alice's and David's house was on the west side of the town of Flower Mound, on Poccahontis Street. Flower Mound is just west fo Lewisville. That gave them a moderately long drive to TI Lewisville and a very long drive to some of the other TI sites in the area. As I remember, David moved to another site at work and so they sold their house and bought another in North Dallas. Denise and I helped a bit with the move. I remember that they had stored some things in the neighbors garage and we helped them carry those things out of the garage and load them up to take to their new house. In the process we met the neighbor lady and her son.

Some years later, while talking to my parents in California one day, they mentioned that my old friend Alan had visited them. They told me of part of the conversation with him that started with his asking where I lived now. They told him I lived in Texas. He said he lived in Texas too and asked what part of Texas. They said that I lived in the Dallas area. He said he lived in the Dallas area too and asked what town. They said, "Flower Mound", though Denise and I had separated by that time and I was actually living in a small apartment in North Dallas. He said that he lived in Flower Mound too and asked for my phone number so he could give me a call when he returned home.

Shortly after that I got a call from Alan. It was good to hear from him after more than twenty years. We started talking about it being such a coincidence that we had both lived in Flower Mound. I mentioned that I had lived there about six years. He said that he'd lived there thirteen.

I said, "It's funny that we never ran into eachother in all that time." He agreed that it was.

I said that I'd lived in far east Flower Mound, almost in Lewisville and asked where he lived.

He said, "Oh, well I live in far west Flower Mound." Flower Mound is maybe twenty miles from east to west and mostly rural, and we agreed that that was why we'd never bumped into eachother.

I added, "There's only one road that I know in west Flower Mound, and that's Pocchontis Road. I stayed there with some friends back in 1979 when I first came to Texas."

Alan replied, "I live on Poccahontis Road!"

"Well the friends I stayed with lived in the second house on the left after you turn off the highway." I said.

"I live in the third house." he replied.

"Then I've been in your garage and met your wife and son." I said. "I helped your neighbors, Alice and David, move the things you were storing for them."

Alan and I got together for lunch after that a couple times. We really enjoyed seeing eachother again, but we lost touch again I haven't seen him in over 10 years. How the time flies. I need to look him up. For all I know he may be living just down the street.

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