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Small World Moments

These are moments that I have experienced that remind me that there are true connections between us all and that despite there being far too many people on the planet, we are closer than we might expect. Some people are friends other acquaintances, all add to the mystery. These are not "you've lived in the same small town all of your life" connections, but ones with multiple connection points or taking place in a large city. So much for not being able to solve a three body problem.


Friends reunited through another.

Setting: Coming home from work on the trolley during the Fall of 1998.

I had stopped the supermarket on my way home from work. Getting on to the T (trolley) to go home I passed a man in the stair well. I thought that I recognize him so I looked out the window to the street. Still not remembering who he was, but knowing that I had not seen him in a while, I got off of the T. We make eye contact and I remember that it is Rudiger. He was an exchange student from Germany when I was a Freshman at Juniata College. Although I did not know him well at that time he had helped the group out from my college when I studied abroad in Marburg, Germany, .

He was in town for a convention and visiting a few companies for a prospective Post-Doc positions. Now the small world enough to this point. He was staying with a friend, Amy. She was a senior my Freshman year at Juniata and a fellow choir member. We go up to her apartment, me standing in the door and Amy staring back figuring out who I was, one of the moments to remember. Amy had moved to Boston the same year I had for a Masters program. I'd lost contact with her from the last 4 years. Though she has moved out of the area we continue to keep contact.

Random meetings


Setting: Central Sq. Cambridge MA, Winter 1997.

I bump into Yevs a man that I had worked with for a Summer at Franklin and Marshall College during the summer of 1995. I was walking home and he was heading to dinner with a friend from his lab at M.I.T. The meeting was the classic walk past, both look back at the same time in recognition. I don't keep touch with him, but the moment was still strange and random.

Setting: Kenmore Sq. T Station, Boston MA. January 2001.

Another meeting on the T and another classic walk past. I was on the way home, later in the evening. There is a couple sitting on a bench waiting for a train. I recognize the woman, but can not place her. Looking at her again I think she is a former student. She comes over and I remember her face, Juniata. Suzanna was the daughter of a woman that I had sung with in Choral Union and the Chamber Singers during college. Suzanna had also sung in these groups and we were at the same choral festival while she was studying at Susquehanna University. To top it all off she worked in the department as my roommate at the time and knew her.

Setting: Oberstadt, Marburg, Germany. Fall 1995.

I was walking the Oberstadt ("Old City") in Marburg, Germany, not really doing anything, just window shopping really. I notice a woman a few yards a head of me. She is facing away from me, but the back of her head looks familiar. This turns out to be another Juniata connection. Jen was working in Marburg as an Oper for a family with 5 children. She was a senior my freshman year (another fellow choir member) and I was not seen her since. She though she remembered that there were five of us from Juniata studying that year. You have to travel across an ocean to bump into people you know.

Unexpected connections


Setting: Friend of a lab mate.

One day I was talking to a lab mate of mine Jennifer. She was an undergraduate from New York State doing some research with us. I forget the exact conversation, but she mentioned a friend of her's, C.C. Not many people go my this name, though I have known two. The more she talked about her the more I recognized the person. It was in fact a woman that I had attended college and worked with as an R.A. Jennifer and C.C. had been friends since childhood.

Setting: Student in Sophomore Organic Lab. Spring Semester 1999.

Not many people at Boston University have heard of my undergraduate institution, Juniata College. I was talking with a student in one of the labs that I was supervising. She had heard of Juniata. Interested I asked how, her sister had gone there. Looking at her and remembering her last name I asked it her sister's name was Cindy. It was her. Cindy was two years ahead of me in school and another fellow choir member.

Setting: Research group member of a friend. February 2001

I get the following e-mail from my friend Andy:

This last week I was having dinner with the members of my research group and one of them mentioned that he was from Lancaster, PA. The song, "Its a Small World,[...]" immediately started running though my head as I realized that you were also from Lancaster. I asked him if he knew you and as his jaw dropped open and hit the table he said he did and that you both went to the same high school (although he was about two years behind you). Anyway, Ian R. and I are both in the same research group here at Cornell.

I can't put a face with Ian, but I do recognize the name (I bad with that). Now how do I know Andy. He was an exchange student in Marburg, Germany the same time that I was. Andy is originally from Missouri.

Last Updated: 05/16/2003