Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coincidence? I think not...



This past Saturday, I was lucky enough to have been invited to be a panelist at the Virginia Festival of the Book. I got to hang out with Marcia Talley, Nancy Martin, Emyl Jenkins, Meredith Cole, and Krista Davis. 

Prior to the start of my panel, I walked around the room with a little basket filled with Cozy Chicks bookmarks and chocolate kisses. I’ve never done this before but thought it wouldbe a nice way of breaking the ice and introducing some new readers to the Chicks.

I was almost at the back of the room and it was almost time for the panel to begin when I handed out one of my last bookmarks to an attractive woman with short auburn hair. Here comes the amazing part:

“What does the ‘B’ stand for in JB?” she asked me.

“Briggs,” I answered. “It’s my maiden name.”

“Oh? Are you related to any of the New York Briggs?”

I hesitated. “Maybe. I’m originally from New York.”

She looked me over more carefully now. “How about Mead Briggs?”

Now, Mead is not a common name. I put my basket down on an empty seat and stared at her. “He’s my father.”

“And your mother is Pam?”

I nodded dumbly.

She smiled radiantly. “I was your mother’s maid of honor!” she exclaimed. “We were best friends!”

Holy smokes! Turns out, this woman and my mom not only grew up together, went to school together, and lived in NYC together, but they both deeply regretted falling out of touch. My mom had just mentioned her beloved friend during a recent visit and it was with great joy that I was able to phone her after the panel with her long-lost friend’s number and email address. She was ecstatic.

Coincidence? I think not. This woman and my mom grew up in Toledo, went to college in Chicago, and moved to Greenwich Village. I meet her within days of my mother expressing how much she missed her friend at a book fest in Charlottesville, Virginia. What are the odds?

Gives you goose bumps, no?

Has anyone from your past resurfaced lately?

26 comments:

Andrea C. said...

Too cool! I always love meeting someone who knows someone I know! (if you can follow that)! It always makes the world seem so small and cozy. I like the idea that we are all only "8 degrees of separation" from each other! :)

Dru said...

I love it that doing what you love, being an author participating on a panel at a book festival that that you ran into a friend of your mom who are now reconnecting. Awesome.

Mason Canyon said...

Definitely goose bumps. Guess you would call that fate that you were in the right place, at the right time.

No one has resurfaced lately, but I have had a couple of people pop back in my life at odd times and make me wonder why now, why here.

Kaye said...

Incredible! Gave me goosebumps. Your mom must have been thrilled!

Jeanne C. said...

So cool! The closest thing that's happened to me is when I was in high school, I worked in a deli. One day, this lady came in and kept looking at me and looking at me. Finally, she came up to me and said "are you MaryAnne's daughter?" I said, "yes, I am.". And she says, "you don't know me, but I know your mom. I knew you were her daughter because you look EXACTLY LIKE HER!"

CindyD said...

I found my best friend from college via google on the internet and was very glad to be back in touch with her. Sadly, she passed away suddenly before we could meet in person.

Lover of Books said...

Okay I apologize if this shows up twice. My parents ran into an old friend of my brother's so that's the only reconnecting. That is so cool how you ran into your mom's friend.
Krista

Maggie Sefton said...

Love the story, Jenn. I definitely believe that there are NO accidents or coincidences. But, then. . .I'm kind of "out there."

Linda said...

Yes, it does give me goose bumps! What a great story. Since joining facebook late last year, some people from my past have re-surfaced. It has been fun to see what direction their lives have taken.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I love this story, J.B. How special for everyone involved: you, your mom and her long lost friend. You're right. It did give me goosebumps! Reaching out and making emotional connections is one of the untold and wonderful benefits of being an author.

Jody said...

I took a chance & sent a note via Facebook to a guy in CA who had the same name as my cousin who used to spend summers in my hometown. I hadn't seen or heard from him for over 30 years. It was him! He'd never have found me because I go by a different name now. He's now in touch with many long-lost friends from my hometown as a result of our getting re-connected.

Anita Clenney said...

How great is that? Sounds like more at work than just coincidence.

Mare F said...

No, no one from my past has shown up recently, but now that you've thrown it out there, someone will. I wonder who it will be?

Leann Sweeney said...

Definitely not a coincidence. Everything happens for a reason and the universe makes sure of that. Amazing!

signlady217 said...

Yes, it just happened to us recently, too. A friend we haven't spoken with in a number of years called my husband, and since hubby was going to be in his town for a work-related event, they met for lunch and golf when my husband was done with his work stuff. Plus, hubby has connected with old school friends and some other relatives since he's been on Facebook.

Ingrid King said...

I love stories like this. There are no coincidences.

jbstanley said...

I love the Facebook reconnect stories. I think it's FB's best attribute, actually (unless you don't want to be found!)

Incidentally, this woman thought I looked more like my dad when everyone else thinks I favor my mom. Too funny!

Heather Webber said...

Wow, JB! I did get goose bumps. That's an amazing story.

Vicki said...

Wow, that's awesome! I love stories like that!

Vickie said...

OH! That is just so COOL! Fate just throws the sweetest curves doesn't it?

I haven't run into anyone from my past lately, except on Facebook..sigh....

Jan said...

small world

mary kennedy said...

Definitely goosebump time! Wonderful story.

Deborah Sharp said...

Lovely story ... See what you get when you and out candy ;-) ?
I have a reunion tomorrow of folks who worked at the News Press in Fort Myers, Fla, my first journalism job. When all those contacts from my past life resurface, I expect to think: ''Who are all these OLD people?''

Sarah said...

Wow - that's a really cool story :-) Thanks for sharing it!

Sarah

dollycas aka Lori said...

goosebumps yes,sound like something you would read in a book...hint, hint...

Mayhem and Magic said...

That is awesome!