Firstly, some background
1 A friendship reconnected
Back in 1983 – 1999 I taught at a local primary school; spending the bulk of that time with year-6 and a colleague, Heather. Also, during that time I published numerous teaching references (17 in Australia and 11 overseas). Of these, three books were co-written with Heather during 1989 – '90. Also, at the school was Bill, who filled many roles including vice-principal and acting principal.
Post retirement, Heather and I maintained ongoing contact until in 2014 while having a second hip replacement everything went horribly wrong for me - two cardiac arrests. On release from hospital after three months with ten days on life support, my wife, Mary, and I decided to downsize relocating to a new housing estate in Fyansford. I thereafter lost contact with Heather.
2 Lassetar's gold-mine
Lewis Hubert Lasseter (1880-1931) was born in 1880 at Bamganie, Victoria; a self-educated, literate and well-spoken man. Though working at a variety of occupations, Lasseter made his name as a prospector in 1929 when at age seventeen he claimed to have discovered a fabulously rich reef bearing gold “as thick as plums in a pudding”. Unfortunately, though two expeditions had been undertaken, the famous ‘Lasseter’s Reef’ was never located. Nonetheless Lassetar legends live on...
Lasseter with wife and son
3 Appointment with a barber
This 480-page book by Amor Towles, which I would rate as one of the most pleasurable books I have read and which one critic described as having an ingeniously ludicrous plot and acutely drawn characters, pivots totally around a multitude of synchronous situations all linking to incredibly consequential life moments.
I invite readers to read this book enjoying its wondrous collection of:
incredibly sensitive and humorous moments,
heaps of serependipity-filled life-monents and
its abundant consequential life-moments.
Secondly, the two stories
The following two stories contain multiple examples of how serendipitous coincidences can unknowingly impact on our lives. These influences are unpredictable, unplanned, improbable and highly haphazard. In effect, it can be seen how personal interactions individually and more so collectively can give rise to any number of "What are the odds?" situations. The examples below are but some of the actions in each story that reflect acts of coincidence, synchronicity, serendipity, life-moments and consequential life moments. You my observe within the stories numerous other examples of this phenomenon.
1. A friendship reconnected
Recently Heather was in her local Belmont post office having been asked by husband, Geoff, to post a parcel. Whilst going about her business in the store, her concentration was abruptly interrupted by someone calling, “H!”.
It was Bill who was, in turn, collecting mail for his wife, Jan.
“Wow! What a coincidence,” thought Bill.
Not having spoken for quite some time, Heather and Bill had a lot to catch up on. Finally, just before taking leave of each other, Heather asked if Bill had any news of “Flatty” (a.k.a. me). “No,” he replied, “not since his near-death experience.” They said their good-buys and went their separate ways. Next morning Bill embarked on his regular three-times-a-week bike ride; never really knowing what route he would be taking. As it turned out, he followed the bike-path around the Barwon River, turned off at Fyansford and headed up the big hill. En-route he felt the urge to detour through the new estate laid-out beside the Moorabool River. As Bill cycled the roads enjoying the sunshine, John (me), who after working on his PC for a couple of hours and having breakfast with his wife, Mary, decided to check the mailbox. “Flatty!” someone called. It was Bill.
“Wow! That’s synchronicity,” thought Flatty.
After warm handshakes and enthusiastic updates, Bill proceeded on his way; taking note of John’s address and determining to share the information with Heather on his return home. With this detail Heather now had enough information to identify John’s Facebook page and, as a consequence, retrieve his phone-number and email and, therefore, re-stablish contact.
"Now, that's serendipity," thought Heather.
The two ex-teachers, writing collaborators and friends had reconnected with so many disparate links unexpectedly coming together to generate a warm positive outcome for each of the parties.
Now, That's lucky!
"Lucky! Not at all. No such thing as luck," thought Flatty.
Heather and Bill simultaneously attend the local post office - not an everyday occurrence.
Both Heather and Bill were delighted with their meeting.
Two unrelated sequences came together in an amazingly, unpredictable connection.
What were the odds of John deciding on that day, at that particular time you check the mailbox; just as Bill was riding past his house?
Both Heather and John were delighted with the outcome.
A sequence of unrelated events unpredictably coming together to have a life-changing impact on someone; in this case both John and Heather.
2. Lassetar's gold mine
Lassetar, a 1930s Russian emigrant who came to Australia in search of his fortune, claimed to have discovered a reef of gold in outback Queensland; one bearing nuggets the size of duck’s eggs. Because Lassetar was a rogue, ladies-man and tall-story teller, it was no surprise his claim was dismissed. Subsequently, he disappeared leaving Nona, his wife, and son, Das, with the barely viable Black Stump general store. “Good riddance!” thought Nona.
It was thirty-five years later that Das, while searching for the store title as a prelude to selling the shop, found by coincidence an old barely-legible map in a long-discarded box of miscellanea. Das, being too old to go off on what he thought would possibly be a wild goose chase, decided fortuitously as it turned out to pass the map on to his two sons. Thus, he subsequently had two copies printed; one for each of his boys, Jerry and Harry.
However, nothing seemed to come from the finding as like many other country lads Jerry and Harry in due course drifting to the big smoke (Sydney) where, over time, they lost contact with each other.
Unbeknownst to their sibling, however, each boy was busy hatching plans; plans to see if he, in fact, had been given a copy of Lassatar’s long-lost gold-map. Thus, each had independently determined to undertake a 5-day search (the then life of detector batteries). Harry began in the rugged hills, SE of the search-zone, while Jerry focussed on the centre of the map working his way outward.
Both marked grids on their maps which they had decided to use
(planning to cover 500m per day.
It was on February 17, 1984, the anniversary of Lassetar’s birthday, that both excited ‘treasure hunters’ set off, aiming to retrace their grand father’s
footsteps. Armed with state-of-the-art gold detectors (with 5-day batteries), backpacks filled with gear for one week and shovels, they each separately headed back to Black Stump.
Imagine their surprise when towards the end of their fifth day of
solitary searching they came across each other, detectors and maps
in hand. Harry exclaimed, “What the hell!” Jerry, declared,
“What are the odds of meeting you here!” Within thirty minutes their
counters began screeching. They spent their final day together digging in order to confirm they had indeed hit the motherload.
"What good luck!" both Harry and Jerry thought.
A whole series of seemingly unrelated events come together with the result that while searching for the title of the shop in Black Stump the map was found by Das in the old trunk.
What a coincidence that Harry and Jerry decided to undertake exploratory journeys in search of the lost gold mine.
The fact that the men both began their adventures on Lassetar's birthday was an amazing act of synchronicity.
Oh, "What were the chances of them both ending their five-day searches simultaneously in the very same location?"
Wow! What good luck the two men had...
But, was it just luck? We know otherwise....
3. An Appointment with the barber
“The fellow took another step toward the barber and wrested one of the scissors from his hand. Then with the deftness of a much slighter man, he turned, took the Count by the collar, and severed the right wing of his moustaches with a single snip….” (p. 68 of 815 on my tablet).
And so this all-too-brief but totally impacting incident slips by as the pages of
The Gentleman in Moscow follow the adventures that occur within the Metropol. Had it not been for this totally unanticipated, highly unlikely incident the rest of the book would not have fallen into place as links in the chain.
Follow the links and you will be rewarded.
I will leave it to the reader
to explore this treasure-trove of special moments identifying them as they unfold.