Living Long Enough Produces Strange Outcomes

Sadly, my uncle lost his wife to cancer a few years ago, after something like 45 years of marriage. Since then, he’s had the good fortune to meet a new woman who now seems to be a permanent and supportive fixture in his life. But, what’s weird is that this new girlfriend was also once my father’s girlfriend… roughly 60 years ago. Yes, my dad’s very first girlfriend, at overnight camp in the early 1950s. They took canoe rides together and stuff like this. (Note: this is my uncle on my mom’s side— not my dad’s brother). Is a person really the same person they are involved in experiences that are separated by this much time?

Sometimes, I get the feeling that there were only about 20,000 people in the US when my parents were growing up. It just seems that everybody who belongs to a certain segment— say, grew up liberal and educated with some at-least-tenuous connection the East Coast— knows everybody else. I don’t get it.