Brian Golden

I have a lot of trouble believing in the concept of coincidence as it applies to everyday life. And while I’m certainly not the most religious of personages (although I do have a spiritual outlook on life) I find what some people call coincidence to be nothing more than things working out the way they were supposed to, especially since I began writing for our hometown daily newspaper.

Example Number One – The fact that the very weekend I had given up on my house, and had decided I would be better off plying my musical talents elsewhere in New York State (or anywhere else for that matter), I saw that familiar ad in the pages of The Evening Sun seeking a staff writer, which, in the long run, resulted in me sitting here right now typing this blog.

Number Two – One of my all-time favorite stories which I’ve written in the seven-plus months I’ve been here – a mysterious World War II dog tag bearing the name of Richard W. Hamilton, North Broad Street, unearthed in a California desert, which eventually found its way back to Norwich and ultimately wound up in the possession of a nearby co-worker (Linda works about ten feet away from me) whose mother just happened to be the deceased veteran’s closest living relative (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what are the odds).

Thirdly – Not only do I now have a job that is immensely rewarding, I have the opportunity to cover my hometown, the city I grew up in, and all of the events that come with that coverage. Bluesfest, Colorscape, the Pumpkin Festival, the Summer Concert Series, local businesses in which I’ve shopped for decades (such as First Edition – owner Lisa Mody clearly remembers me visiting her store on a regular basis when I was as young as 7 years old) and numerous others. These are events and experiences which I enjoyed long before I wrote for the paper.

So I suppose I really wasn’t all that surprised when I hiked over to the First Edition Book Store on Thursday to meet with ‘What Kind of Apple Are You’ author Barbara Mudge, only find out that – not only did she grow up a literal hop, skip and jump away from my house (the property has been in my family for three generations now), her closest friends as a youngster were my aunts Lori and Marianne Golden, now Lori Bres and Marianne Morano, who actually make an appearance in this, Barbara’s first published book.

Again, what are the odds.

This put an entirely different spin on my thought process as we sat down to discuss her book signing on Saturday, and I found myself covered with goosebumps as we related various stories and memories of Pratt Road and the surrounding countryside to eachother. I was amazed by the number of experiences we had in common, even with our twenty year age difference. The intimidating slabs of stone on the hillside about a mile south of my house (my father always called them “The Cave Rocks”), fishing and swimming in Glenn Lake, building forts in the woods and a host of other tales and youth-inspired adventures. It gave me an instant sense of “rightness,” a feeling I simply cannot dismiss as mere happenstance.

The result of this fortuitous meeting? It turns out Barbara had lost touch with my aunts over the years and if nothing else, our meeting meant I could make their reconnection that much easier (thank you Facebook). There’s really nothing else quite like the friends we had as children (a blog for another day), and I’m looking forward to hearing the surprise in my aunt Marianne’s voice when I call her up and say – “you’ll never believe who I ran into the other day.”

Coincidence? I think not.