Many people use the term “It’s A Small World”; have you ever stopped to think about HOW small our world really is? You may run into someone at a ball game that you hadn’t expected to see and say, “Oh, it’s a small world”! That, I would think, is overusing the phrase a little. What about being on the Great Wall in China and one of your travel companions ends up meeting someone they went to school with; someone whom they hadn’t seen in 20 years. Yes, that’s a much better example.
http://dictionary.reference.com defines it this way: “…One encounters the same people, events or situations in unexpected places.” www.urbandictionary.com defines it as follows: “said when a coincidence happens resulting from people knowing each other or meeting each other in unexpected circumstances.” The dictionary.cambridge.org definition states: “said to show your surprise that people or events in different places are connected”.
I, for this story anyway, lean towards the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition: “… people or events in different places are connected”.
My family emigrated from Northern Ireland to “Small Town” Ontario, Canada in 1971. “Small Town” had, and still does have, a population of about 5000 people. When my parents researched it before moving it was said to be a farming community; unfortunately, they didn’t mention it was a predominantly retired farming community!
My father, who was a former police officer in Northern Ireland, joined “Small Towns” police force. In the ensuing weeks one of the many people he met was an older gentleman; who he instantly developed a rapport with. After all, they had something in common; Mr. Rankin was from Northern Ireland as well! Specifically he was from Londonderry; my mother’s hometown. Over the next months the rest of our family was introduced to Mr. Rankin, his wife and family. They, along with my parents, inevitably spent many hours discussing “back home” or when their next trip “across the pond” (the Atlantic) was going to be.
During one of these many discussions, while in the Rankin family home, my mother noticed a Beattie/Rankin coat of arms; which is when the discussion became really interesting. You see my maternal great grandmother was Charlotte Elizabeth Beattie who married Thomas Wilson. One of their sons was Robert Wilson, my maternal grandfather. Naturally, they wondered if there was a family connection.
Fast forward several years later, on one of my parent’s trips “across the pond”; Mr. Rankin asked my mother if she would mind taking a gift to his sister Charlotte! Does that name sound familiar? My mother happily obliged and enjoyed her time with Charlotte; especially when the discussion came to the “Beattie Connection”. It would seem that Charlotte was named after her aunt; and yes, you guessed it… her aunt was Charlotte Elizabeth Beattie; my mother’s paternal grandmother!
My mother often said, and still does, that Mr. Rankin’s eyes reminded her of her father’s; and one of his grandson’s looks like one of her brothers. So, it would seem, she was right! The “Small World” became even smaller when it was discovered that my mother’s family and Mr. Rankin’s family lived on two streets whose backyards were connected by a stone wall! Yes, indeed; “It’s A Small World”!
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