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Small World

We had a site visit from some wonderful partners at the Raleigh Summer Camp this afternoon. As we were making introductions, one of our guests asked me where I’m from. It’s a question I’ve come both to dread and to relish, as I’ve lived in more places than you can count on both hands. This makes it really tough quickly to tell folks where I’m from; it also means that you and I very likely have had a home in common.

I went with an old standby and resignedly told our guest that I was born in West Virginia, but lived there so short a time that I can’t really remember it. “I was born there too!” she proclaimed. “Small world!” I replied.

During my (undisclosed number of) years on earth, I’ve lived in: West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas, Arkansas, New Hampshire, New York, Arkansas (again), Seattle, and North Carolina (again).  As you can imagine, I’ve gotten used to small world coincidences by now. In fact, I had three of them just today.

Before the site visit , I had a wonderful lunch  at Sola Coffee Cafe with two members of the incredible Kidznotes Board of Directors: Anne Saffer and Margaret Rand Martin. It was a chance for us to get to know one another beyond our professional bios – and a chance to discover our small world connections. Anne serves as Director of Consulting for Executive Service Corps of The Triangle. She also has a background in university fundraising – including a stint at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

“My dad grew up 20 minutes from there! Most of the Malinowski clan still live in the Lehigh Valley. Small world!” I told Anne.

Margaret Martin spent her career as an attorney in North Carolina. She’s lived in Raleigh for almost 30 years but, as it turns out, served as City Attorney of Salisbury, NC before moving to the Triangle.

“My mom’s dad was rector of St. Paul’s in Salisbury for years! In fact, he would have been there at the same time you were City Attorney.” I told Margaret. “Small world!”

I take real joy in making connections with people. While it can be tricky to answer people when they ask me where I’m from, I’m lucky to have moved around enough to connect with almost anyone through the places of our lives. Of course, it may be that I see a small world because I like the idea of living in connection, and place is the most likely way for me to form a connection with someone I’ve just met.



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