Being from Massachusetts, especially Central Mass, there are some things I have learned.
1. When traveling, everyone thinks you are from Boston and wants to hear you talk funny.
2. You have no doubt spent some of your summer vacations at either Misquamicut or Hampton Beach. One being in Rhode Island, the other in New Hampshire. No matter they are both just a few hour drive away. If your family had money you went to the Cape.
3. You watch WBZ, WCVB, or WHDH to get the weather forecast which is never right because you live west of 495, south of 2, and north of the Pike. We have our own weather.
4. The best place to get a hot dog was Coney Island. Not the one in New York, the one on Southbridge St (pronounced Sout briege) if you are of Polish descent. Friendly’s had the best ice cream, and Water St the best bagels, but only on Sunday because the Jewish bakeries were closed on Saturdays for their Sabbath.
5. Everyone has connections to everyone, even if you don’t know what they are yet.
I am finally getting around to writing and decided on this topic because the other day my husband learned friends had been killed in a trike accident in Indiana. Not long after he told me about the loss, a person I work with posted a picture and an R.I.P. on Facebook. She also knew the friend who had been killed.
When we got to the bus yard our buses were next to each other and we started talking about how things were connected. My husband knew Shelley and her family because they grew up in the same town. The co-worker knew her from when she dated a friend of hers. My husband and I got married at Shelley’s great aunt’s house.
On top of all that, I learned another co-worker grew up with Shelley. They had been good friends all through school and had recently spoken (on a real phone, not Facebook) about the trip she and her fiance were on when they were killed. It is all kind of weird. None of us grew up together or in the towns we live in now, yet we are all connected by this one person. Our ages range from 39 to 57 and not one of us is blood related to another. If it had not been for Shelley’s tragic passing last night we would not have known we had this connection.
The long time girl friend of a cousin on my father’s side grew up with my husband. Another co-worker knew my aunt, uncle, and cousin on my mother’s side. Right down to which house they lived in. While another co-worker is the niece of someone who used to do my hair and had lived downstairs from another one of my aunts when we were little. Another one of her uncles used to shoot pool with my husband when they were young. None of us grew up in the same town.
Maybe this happens in other parts of the country, I don’t know for sure. What I do know is it’s not difficult to find someone who knows someone who knows someone who is related to someone else. Central Massachusetts is a very small community, or it used to be. These days it seems young people pack up and move out of here as quickly as possible, while others are moving here from other bigger cities. Perhaps in another 4o years they will look back and find the same thing. We are all connected somehow.