It’s a Small World

I was just thinking how small this world is now because of the computer and how many friends and renewed acquaintances that have been made by all of us. I feel like I know each of you personally after we’ve corresponded a few times and especially if you contribute to this LHS website.

But here are some instances of “it’s a small world” before the computer age that just sort of happened.

In 1956, my late sister Helen, eloped and got married in Myrtle Beach, SC. She was supposed to be working and staying with our half-brothers who lived in Ohio. But she had met a young man who was stationed at Myrtle Beach, SC in the Air Force and they slipped away and got married.

Of course, as soon as the “deed” was done, she called and gave my parents the delightful news. After the shock of the elopement, my mother began to question Helen on who she had married. Helen told her Jerry Paul. And he was very nice. He was in the Air Force and they would eventually return to Dayton, OH (where they had met) to make their home.

Well, this started my mother to thinking (you know that mother‘s sixth sense). So she asked Helen, “Is his father’s name Gerald?” Helen asked Jerry, “ What’s your Dad’s name?” Sure enough it was Gerald. My mom then asked her, “Is his grandmother named Fannie?” Again Helen asked Jerry, “What is your grandmother’s name?” He replied, “Fanny” . By this time my mom was pretty sure she knew of the family. She asked , “Did his grandmother and father come from Caryville?" Sure enough they did. Then my mom told Helen, “Well, gal, I used to play with your husband’s father when we were kids in Caryville”. And that had been in the 1920s when they all lived next door in Caryville. Needless to say, when we got to visit in Dayton, “old” acquaintances were renewed and no one could believe they met and married so far from home and our families knew each other. As time went on, Jerry not only was a brother-in-law…but more like a brother to me. I’ve been very lucky to have Jerry in my life. And Jerry’s 2 sisters were my age. After I moved to Dayton, we became the closest of friends (like sisters) and remain so today after 40+ years. And then to top it off, when I was doing genealogy a couple of years ago on my Dad’s first wife’s family (Paul's), I found that Jerry, my sister’s husband, was a 2nd cousin twice removed to my Dad’s first wife Rosa E. (she died in 1922). Small world isn’t it!!!

Another instance, when my daughter was in her teens, she started bringing home this young man named Matt. After a couple dates, then we all sat down and started discussing where he lived, who his parents were, all the pertinent information a parent needs to know. Of course, his mom’s name meant nothing to me at the time. Then we started talking about Tennessee and Matt says “my grandma and grandpa are from Tennessee and my Mom and my Uncle Jerry were born there.” I asked, “Where from in Tennessee?” “From around Jellico,” he said. “How close to Jellico are you talking about,” I asked. And he replied, “Well, actually from Fonde, KY“. He didn’t figure anyone else had ever heard of Fonde, KY.

Well you know that peaked my interest real fast. So I asked him, “What are your grandparents name?” Their last name was P***** and that’s when it clicked. I said , “Brenda P. is your mother?” “Yes,” he replied. And your grandmother is “Georgia?“ I went straight to my family album and pulled out pictures of his mother and uncle when they were small children and lived in Fonde, KY. They were our neighbors in Fonde until we all moved away and I had played with them as a small child. None of us could believe it. Small world isn’t it!!!! However, my daughter didn’t end up marrying Matt which reminds me of another story.

After my husband and I moved away from the Dayton area and relocated in southern Ohio, my kids remained there to work and go to school. On my daughter’s 21st birthday, we had a party for her and she introduced me to the “man of the hour”. This man was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base at the time--he was career and was pretty high up. He was also born and raised in the area…so it was like coming home to him. He was a few years older than Teresa so the first words out of my husband’s and my son’s mouths were “you’d better not hurt her”. She dated him a few months and then he was getting transferred to San Antonio, TX. And he wanted Teresa to go with him. Oh how I despaired over that. And we went “round and round” about her moving. And her telling me “don’t worry Mom, I know what I’m doing”.

Here’s the part that is amazing!!! I was talking to my Aunt Sarah in Knoxville. We had talked awhile about family and how everyone was doing, etc. Then she asked me, “Charlene, is Teresa married?” And I replied, “Aunt Sarah, if she is, she hasn’t told me”. Then Aunt Sarah told me why she thought Teresa was married.

One of Aunt Sarah’s granddaughters from Clinton had stopped at a rest stop along I-75. There she ran into an acquaintance at the rest stop she hadn’t seen in many years and they started talking. Then they started discussing where they were headed…to Dayton. Then they started discussing who they knew in Dayton. Well Beth told this kid, I have some cousins in Dayton…and started naming names. The kid said, “Hey I know Teresa!!! She and my Uncle Dave just got married a couple weeks ago”. I screamed…,”hold on Aunt Sarah!! I’m calling Teresa right now.” Needless to say, when Teresa answered the call and I screamed, “Are you married to Dave?” I suppose she could tell from the inflection of my voice that she’d better be telling me the truth. After admitting it, she confessed. “Mom, I couldn’t move away with anyone without being married to him.” I told you “don’t worry, I know what I’m doing". After that brief conversation, I told her, “let me finish my conversation with Aunt Sarah and I’ll be calling you right back." So that is how I found out about my daughter’s first marriage. Unfortunately, he was controlling and thought Teresa was one of his enlistees…and she bought that scenario for a few years, then it was over. Small world isn’t it!!!!

And then this tops everything....my son Chuck had a childhood sweetheart named Jackie. Jackie had ended up marrying someone else and had a couple of children. Jackie's aunt was marrying our business partner so we all attended the wedding.

Well, Chuck and Jackie sort of renewed their friendship at the wedding and after a few months of dating got married. This is the strange part....Jackie's mother, Myra, and her family were from Caryville and had moved to Dayton in the 1960s. While in LaF visiting, I was at the Historical Society Museum and was talking with Jerry Sharp about the family I was researching. I had told him that I had a lot of information on the Asbury's. He said, "Let me make a call...so he called Maurice Asbury and his wife, Jane Dora. This was my first time meeting them. We got together and started talking about families...and I mentioned that my son had married a granddaughter of Leonard Roberts from Caryville. He busted out laughing and said, "Does she have an aunt they call Billy Bird?" I whipped out my cell phone and called Jackie and asked her about her Aunt Billy. Of course, it was the one and same. Seems like they had all attended school together in Caryville and Maurice had driven "Billy Bird" to Dayton once and knew the whole family. Small world isn't it!!!!

I’ve got another tale but I’ll have to write about it in another episode. Am I the only one who has these sort of things happen to them or have you experienced the same “small world” occurrences.

Char