Wednesday, May 16, 2007
When I was in the fifth grade, my family moved out of town and on to a road in the country. The road was called Plank Road because it used to be made of wood planks and it went up Glass Factory Mountain where there used to be a glass factory and later a graphite mine. My sister and I joined the 4-H and had the opportunity to learn the domestic skills that we weren't learning at home. We took courses called Sew a Fine Seam and Iron with Ease. We learned how to make baking powder buscuits from scratch so well that we didn't need to look at the recipe. I often sewed my own clothes (with a varying degree of success). We learned how to do a demonstration in front of strangers and we learned how to do home nursing without giggling.
My best friend was Patty, who still lives on Glass Factory Mountain. Her mother was our 4-H leader and our Sunday school teacher. A few years ago, I revisited the hamlet and stopped by the general store (pictured), which I learned was now owned by Patty. Surprisingly I learned that Patty's husband came from along the Potomac, where first lived when we came to Maryland. He knew my mechanic. But that wasn't the most remarkable Six Degree discovery.
I was looking on the internet for Patty's sister Ellen and learned that she lived exactly thirty miles away from me. Glass Factory Mountain is at least 400 miles from here, and lo and behold Ellen is just, once again, down the road.
I first got in touch with her by calling her number and listening to her answering machine. After almost forty years, her voice was completely familiar. Not only was it the voice of a familiar person, but it was the cadence of my home culture.