Monday, 31 October 2016

Fox Chapel District


It's Halloween and so I should dig deep and share a ghost story should I not?
Well I have not ghost story to share but I do have an odd little tale of coincidence
I love a story of coincidence.

Around 26 years ago I found myself on a specialist six month work course at the Spinal Injury Unit in Southport. It was expected that for part of that course, I  was to organise an elective placement somewhere else and after weeks of organising I was lucky enough to wangle work experience in  the US, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to be precise. Much of my experience centred upon the spinal injury rehabilitation hospital in Harmarville.
Like many rehab facilities, Harmarville was located out in the sticks, so to get to and from my lodgings which were back in the City, I was provided with a volunteer driver, who happened to be a very elderly black guy called Norm. Norm insisted that I sit in the back of his large black car, and so I( and many others)  was reminded of the movie Driving Miss Daisy when we turned up at any event. The film had only just opened in cinemas that summer.
Anyhow I digress.

Fast forward a decade or so to rural Lincolnshire, to an antiques emporium at a former RAF station to be precise. In a dusty, junk filled room, I spied an old map with art deco writing in a battered frame and on a whim bought it. It looked American, in period with the look of our former house , and it filled a spot in the hall.

The map travelled with us to Trelawnyd and until recently it has graced the wall on the upstairs landing, more or less unseen by all.

You may recall that recently I painted the living room, hallway and landing, and after this, I rearranged the paintings in the cottage and moved the map to it's present position by the front door.
There , I looked at it again with fresh eyes.

The map, I noticed , had small illustrations on it. A golfer in plus fours, a hunting hound, a whole series of huntsmen and women  in full livery, and written in the right hand margin in faint deco script was the name Harmarville.

I looked closer, and spied a road called Fox Chapel Road and I suddenly recognised where the map was of. Of all of the places in the world that  a 1930s map could have been from, I had bought an old map of the very place I had worked two decades before!
The map was of one very small far suburb of the city of Pittsburgh. A suburb where the Harmarville Rehab unit was to be built some fifty years later.

55 comments:

  1. And once again we are reminded that there are so many things which we don't quite understand with the senses that we do think we understand.
    You may have subconsciously noticed the location some place in your brain. Who knows? Lovely, anyway.

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  2. I'm crossing myself, and saying twelve Hail Marys. That's one bizarre tale.

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  3. Please tell me you made this story up because it's Halloween....

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    Replies
    1. No its true....i shall post some old photos of my trip to prove it

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    2. In my neighborhood, it is true! You need to come back John, we could organize a party!!!!

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  4. Oooooooooooooooooooooooo....great story!

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  5. and funniest of all....that's where i grew up! fox chapel!

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    1. Fantastic! Tell me more wher u lived

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    2. It is fantastic! Who knew that years later a person reading your blog would tell you they grew up there. Maybe they are one of Norm's relations!!!

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  6. Wow John..just wow! Yesterday I was holding my truck keys and the key just popped off the ring.. so glad i noticed it when it did...picked it up .. put it back on ..no harm done.. Not 5 minutes later my husband comes in the house saying he lost his truck key! We found it too after a little searching... What a coincidence... Love the story John as always.. hugs! deb

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  7. I just love coincidence - it is fascinating, as is this story.

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  8. i lived on guyasuta road in fox chapel! now i live on mt. washington.

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  9. How weird is that? Love it.

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  10. Wow, that is so cool!

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  11. "Hi Pittsburgh people!" (Waves) I live about an hour and a half north. Very nice city.

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    Replies
    1. I live in the South Hills!

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    2. (waves to my fellow pennsylvanians from the other side of the state)

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  12. I love coincidences. It's what keeps me an agnostic instead of an atheist.

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  13. I just love spooky coincidences .... especially on Halloween :-)

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    1. Just had 10 of the village school children around stripped me of all my goodies

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    2. good thing they did not strip you of your clothes! :)

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    3. The only children local to us are the kids of the owners of the campsite across the road and further down, and at the moment are too young to come over the road to trick or treat ... so we get no callers to strip us of anything :-)

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  14. Awwwww wonderful story.

    cheers, parsnip

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  15. Awwwww wonderful story.

    cheers, parsnip

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  16. wow...what are the chances of that happening eh ?

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  17. Great story!! Happy Halloween!

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  18. Serendipity ... very cool!

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  19. I LOVE a story like this, John !

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  20. Wonderful coincidence!

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  21. That is one hell of a co-incidence and a good story for Halloween.

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  22. Creepy but nice. I was waiting for you to say Norm was behind the counter of the shop serving. Or in the dusty back room. Somewhat relieved. A patient wished me Happy Halloween - I was wearing black (slimming to the middle aged figure) but I guess she'd spotted my broomstick out front of surgery!!!! Is Albert your cat all black - he'd make a good witches cat. Happy Halloween. X

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  23. Creepy but nice. I was waiting for you to say Norm was behind the counter of the shop serving. Or in the dusty back room. Somewhat relieved. A patient wished me Happy Halloween - I was wearing black (slimming to the middle aged figure) but I guess she'd spotted my broomstick out front of surgery!!!! Is Albert your cat all black - he'd make a good witches cat. Happy Halloween. X

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    1. What a spooky co-incidence Sandycat! Someone else - also called Sandycat - has commented in exactly the same way, using the same words! Eerie or what?

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  25. Good story, John. The kind that makes me suspend reason in favour of rhyme.

    In reply to all your readers who cite "coincidence", here is a quote I came across only a couple of days ago: “There are no coincidences. The idea of coincidence is itself a delusion in the shape of a blindfold.”

    I have little grasp on what the author may mean – but it sounds good, in a sort of lyrical way.

    U

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  26. That map was waiting for you John.................

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  27. There's a lot of us around YP. I use our ginger cats name. That way my real name stays secret. Anyway Sandycat doesn't mind he can't write.

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  28. How amazing. And it took you so long to realise to...

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  29. Hearing a story like that, there has to be some unseen force involved. I wonder what it means

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    1. One of those strange quirks of fate!

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  30. Love this story. I've always been a big believer in the theory of "Six degrees of separation" Happy Halloween! X

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  31. I love stories of coincidence. I think our subconscious is very powerful. For a moment, I was thinking you were going to say that Norm was pictured on the map somehow!!-Jenn

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    1. Obviously it's all subliminal

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  32. How wonderful for you! It truly is a small world! Happy Halloween!

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  33. Serendipity


    Serendipity!


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  34. Great story! As a teenager I once joked that I would never marry a man named Lester who wore cowboy boots...well wouldn't you know years later I married a man named Les who wore cowboy boots. We have been married 39 years this month. Happy Halloween!

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  35. Wow! That is an incredible coincidence!

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  36. It was meant to be,

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  37. Now that's a bit of synchronicity!

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  38. Oh YES . . . I love a good story giving me a few chills and REALLY!

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