Wednesday, January 29, 2014


This has been a day of such goodness, and such sadness. This evening let me tell you about the goodness:

Last October when we were in Dublin, Ireland we happened to meet a lovely man named Leo East. We were looking at our tourist map, trying to figure out where we were and where to go next when Mr. East approached us and offered assistance. We had a lively conversation; he told us about many sites of interest within walking distance of where we stood, and a little about his life and family. We told him about our trip and our sons, and when we said we had a son in Florida, he said his sister lived there and was the owner of a motel in that city. Larry took a photo of Mr. East and me, and we said our goodbyes.

I have thought about Mr. East many times since then, recalling his warmth and welcome to two strangers. I wished I had gotten his contact information so that if chance took me back to Ireland I might have the opportunity to see him again. Sometimes we just connect with people, you know?

Earlier this week I received an email from a man in the Netherlands. He was searching for a school friend from years ago named Leo East, and happened upon my blog post about him. Did I know how to get in touch with Leo? He knew, of course, that the chances were slim that it was the same man as his friend, but thought it worth a try.

I wrote back that I did not have Mr. East's contact information, but I did remember the name of his sister's motel because we had considered staying there during our trip to Florida. I offered to look it up, and then after some thought, offered to call myself and see if I could get any information about Leo.

As luck would have it, Mr. East's sister herself answered the phone when I called. It took a bit for me to explain why I was calling to someone who wasn't too familiar with the internet, but after we talked for a while she offered to get in touch with her brother or his children and pass on my phone number and email.

This morning my phone rang; it was Leo East. Yes, he remembered me, and yes, he was the Leo East who was the school friend of the man in the Netherlands. He was astounded that I had found him, that his friend had somehow found me, and that he might once again speak with his friend. We chatted a good while and  I passed on the phone number and address of the man in the Netherlands.

In this wide world, we are really not far separated from any other person, are we? I am so happy to have been part of this surprising re-connection of old friends. I am planning to return to Ireland this summer with friends, and I hope that somehow on our trip I might get a chance to once again have a chat with Mr. Leo East.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Celia said...

What a great story with an amazing chain of events.

annie said...

small world, isn't it? good for you, bravo!

Nance said...

I read a little book recently about Coincidences. There really aren't coincidences, are there. It was all meant to be.

Michelle said...

Wonderful! What a great story about our small world connections.


Nice to be the conduit for these two gentlemen.
How fun! I found several of Ray's old Navy buddies from late fifties a few years back and he loved being able to talk to them.
Glad I could do that for him. Some of his best memories were during those years.
Blessings to you and yours. Barb

Mac n' Janet said...

That's fantastic! I do believe the internet has brought people closer together. I met Rowan through blogging and then got to meet her in person when she and her daughter came to Savannah.
As to my favorite books, that's so hard, I have favorites in each genre I read, I have to really think about it.
I can tell you the last book to make me cry, The Time Traveler's Wife

Rowan said...

What a lovely story. It's amazing how things connect up sometimes isn't it? And another trip to Ireland! It's an addictive sort of place - my NH friend and her husband went every year until her he died.


Your story further advances my belief that there are mighty good people in this world. Mass media seems to want me to think that most folks do not have good intentions. thanks -- barbara

Quinn said...


Sue said...

I truly believe that every good thing we do comes back to us, one way or another, and that is certainly true for Leo East. What a great story!


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