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John Kelly's Washington

Going Far for Someone Close

By John Kelly
Friday, April 8, 2005; Page C09

More coincidences that will have you humming "It's a Small World After All":

A few years ago, Dave Nelson was touring Great Britain with his family. After they'd checked into an Edinburgh bed-and-breakfast late one night, the landlord said, "I have another family here from the States. I'll have to introduce you in the morning."

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He did just that over a breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, sliced tomatoes, toast and marmalade. The other couple stood up and introduced themselves.

"Where in the States are you from?" the woman asked.

"Virginia," Dave said.

"My goodness!" the woman exclaimed. "So are we. Where in Virginia?"

"Charlottesville," Dave answered.

"Gracious!" the woman replied. "So are we! Where do you live in Charlottesville?"

"Dairy Road," Dave responded.

"Oh, good grief!" the woman gasped. "So do we!"

According to Dave, Dairy Road is a short street just north of the University of Virginia Rotunda.

"It has about two dozen houses. Our neighbors lived some eight houses north of us. On the same side of the street, even. We had never seen them before; nor did we ever see them again, for they moved out of their house -- a rental unit -- before we could bump into them a second time."

Dave says that everyone was shocked by this encounter. Everyone but the landlord: "Britons tend to think that if you live in, say, Charlottesville, you must know their cousins in St. Louis. For our Edinburgh B&B proprietor, it seemed, this encounter between Dairy Road residents was par for the course."

From Edinburgh, Scotland, to Zagreb, Croatia, where Anita Guberovic grew up: A boy named Mario lived in the block of buildings opposite her. The two went to elementary school together but after that were dispatched to different high schools. She often wondered what had become of him.

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