Monday, May 9, 2011

Compleat coincidence.

Want to hear a strange story about coincidences?

When I first announced that I was moving to Rye from Manhattan, my friend Sylvia* said "I only know one person in Rye. Her name's Anne P_____. You should look out for her."

"Sylvia," I protested, "there are 15,000 people living in Rye. Your friend is hardly likely to stroll up to me with a name-tag saying 'Anne P_____,' is she?"

The first event we attended, shortly after arriving at the new house in June 2003, was a juice-and-cookie gathering in the playground of the Primus's new nursery school, where he'd be attending summer camp. As he runs off to play, we turn our attention to the adults, mostly mothers.

A woman strolls up to us. She is wearing a name-tag saying "Anne P_____."

Anne's son is a contemporary of Primus through pre-school, but when the Elementary years begin, they go to different schools, and I never see Anne and her husband. Just this year, the boys are back together at the Middle School. And I suddenly find myself bumping into Anne again, and not just at school events. We pass in the same section of the same supermarket, obviously at the same time. Not once. Not twice. But just last week, a third time.

But here's where it ramps up -- and falls apart. The attentive among you will know that I am researching the great poet Ogden Nash's early years in Rye. And after several week's research, we think we finally have his birthplace pinpointed, about a mile or so from where we were originally looking, although to my disappointment, the estate no longer exists. But a glance at a 1900 map shows several buildings on the land, one of them on a site that's now virtually a stone's throw from . . . the P______s' house.

Or rather, where they used to live when our kids were having playdates and birthday parties. For a glimpse at the Middle School directory shows me that they've moved in the meantime. Ah well, fun while it lasted. And a mere shadow of some of the other coincidence stories I could tell, including a very puzzling one today; but I won't, because I continue to attach no significance to them.

*Not Sylvia the late centenarian actress, whose friendship, career, and passing has been well noted in these chronicles. Sylvia the mother of Primus's pre-school friend Leila, whose lovely name stuck with him and was transferred a little later to the greatest dog in the universe, who's currently barking at the mailman.

No comments:

Post a Comment