A high school reunion provided a coincidental link between my old home town and my new one.
In Nacogdoches, Texas, for the 50th Nacogdoches High School reunion, I had a few minutes to spare and drove by the house on Pine Street in which my parents had lived a long time ago. The huge magnolias had been cut down, so the house looked very different, but it was a place from my past and I was feeling sentimental, so I parked in front of the house briefly. As I sat remembering, a man drove up the driveway and went into the house.
I'm not usually so bold, but I couldn't resist. I knocked on the door and introduced myself, explaining that I was the daughter of J.T. and Fran Alders, who used to live there, and that I was in town for my high school reunion. It was obvious that I had an emotional tie to their house.
This gracious family invited me in, gave me a tour of the house and told me they'd just bought it. As we visited, another small-world coincidence came to light. They had just got back from a trip to England. We talked about Cambridge, where Mike and I had lived for a post-doctoral research year when the girls were young.
Then he asked me where I was from. Surprisingly, considering that Johnson City is a small town of about 60,000, a long way from Nacogdoches, Texas, “Johnson City TN” rang a bell with this friendly and hospitable stranger.
They knew Phil Kenneson, in the Bible Department of Milligan College, and their friend was a friend of our friends, Ted and JaneAnne Thomas, who had introduced us to Johnson City several years before we finally made the decision to make it our home.
When I got home, I had an e-mail from one of the classmates I'd especially enjoyed visiting with at the reunion. She had another small world story to add to my collection.
At church the day after I'd met the Childress family, the minister had told her about the lady in town for the reunion who had knocked on their door. Laura Lee knew who that was, because we were roommates at the reunion and we'd already talked about the coincidence of their knowing someone from Johnson City.
In spite of the distance in years and miles, there continue to be connections between these two great little towns.