Talk to strangers...they may have known your grandmother.
I want to share with you an almost unbelievable coincidence. I was waiting at the Delta gate in Detroit to fly to Florida, when I started chatting with a grandmother in a wheelchair near by. She was travelling alone and in the course of conversation she told me that she was 92-years-old. She said that she had already had a long day, because the first leg of her trip had been traveling by car to the airport from Mount Clemens (a town about an hour away).
When I remarked that my grandmother had been from Mount Clemens, she got a hopeful look and asked me, "What was her name?"
Well my new friend just about fell over. "Helen Held! Helen Held," she couldn't believe it. "I lived across the street from Helen!"
I couldn't believe it either. I immediately thought of the house on Gary Road that I spent so much of my life visiting. Baking Christmas cookies. Hunting for Easter baskets. Eating grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade pickles. If it was Sunday, we often said "Let's go ride over to Nama's."
But my mind was called front and center when she said, "Oh, we used to love watching Wilber come pick Helen up for a date."
Wilber?! A date? Suddenly we are reminiscing about when my grandfather was courting my grandmother in 1930. 1930.
She said things like, "Oh, she was a beautiful dresser." and, "She wore high heels!" She said that she and her sister were about 8 and 10 years old at the time and that they were "fascinated" when my grandmother left the house all dressed up for a date. She was sharing memories from eighty two years ago. She said, "I can't wait to tell my sister!" They talk every day.
I still can't believe it. Can you believe it? My grandmother lived to be 89 and it has been far too long since I have been able to talk to her.
I joked with my new friend that Nama must be up in heaven urging us to, "Say Mount Clemens. One of you say Mount Clemens. You both know me!" Whatever she did, it worked. Not a beat after she said Mount Clemens, I mentioned Nama and we found our connection. When we said our goodbyes, she held my hand and said, "You're just as beautiful as your grandmother."
Have you found yourself chatting with a stranger lately? You never know what will come to light.