Sunday, October 22, 2006

Strange but True

Years ago, when I was married to my first husband, my in-laws were trying to rent out their house in Florida. They were living down there for a couple of years, but decided to come back to New York when they discovered that they missed their children and grandchildren too much. The process of trying to rent out the house became cumbersome; they had to keep flying back and forth between the states to interview prospective renters, and they weren’t happy with anyone that they met. Finally, they found a young couple with a small child who were moving down to Florida from NY. They presented themselves to be responsible, and seemed to have the financial clout to faithfully make their rental payments every month.

One day my mother-in-law decided to share with me the specifics of the couple who had now been renting the house for a few months. She spoke of the wife, and what a good mother she seemed to be to her little son. She told me that she was pregnant with her second child, and that she seemed like a lovely person. The only thing that bothered her was that this girl’s husband seemed too young to be making the salary that he did. She said that she didn’t trust him, but what could she do? They were making the payments and keeping the house up. I assured her that everything was probably fine, and chalked her mistrust up to her feeling out of control all the way up in NY, and her tendency to judge everyone and everything that she couldn't understand.

I had nice memories of the Florida house. It had a huge, unfurnished living room, a Florida-white kitchen, a cozy den with a small couch off of the kitchen and a screened-in pool to match the dozens of other screened-in pools that surrounded the man-made lake in back of their home. My kids spent many hours in that pool when they were little, and would spend way too much time chasing the lizards that would speedily crawl across the patio during the day.

A couple of years later, the couple decided to move, and my in-laws knew it was time to sell the house, as they were getting too old to continue the draining process of trying to rent it out. Right about this time, their son and I began to go through our divorce. I began to slip away from his family as well, and pretty soon I was on my own raising my two children. I only had contact with my ex-husband for child support purposes.

Eventually, I started dating a man who would later turn out to be my next husband. During the first month that we were dating, he showed me various pictures of himself and his family. One picture in particular caught my eye; he was in a pool, and it looked somewhat tropical and familiar.

“Oh, that was my sister’s house in Florida,” he said when I asked him where he was.

“Did she live in Boca Raton?” I queried, “Because that looks like the same neighborhood that my ex-in-laws lived in.”

He said that he thought so, and we decided that it would be quite funny indeed if it was the same neighborhood, and they in fact knew each other. He went on to show me some more pictures, and I forgot about it.

Several months later we were at his parent’s house to celebrate his dad’s holiday of Passover. His sister was there, and we started to chat about nothing in particular . She asked me where my kids were. Coincidentally, I told her, they were also celebrating Passover with their dad at their grandparents' house, right around the corner at the local senior citizen complex. She asked if I was talking about the senior complex that was a stone’s throw away—I answered “Yes…we can literally walk there!” She then asked me what my kids’ grandparents’ last name was. When I told her, her face dropped.

“Anita and Jack????” she answered in amazement.

“Yes, that’s them! Why?”

She answered, “...Because I rented their house in Florida!!”

There was a moment of silence in our state of sheer disbelief. Imagine that! When I looked at the pictures of my boyfriend at his “sister’s house in Florida”, and said that it resembled my ex-mother-in-law’s house, it actually WAS my ex-mother-in-law’s house! He and I got a kick out of the fact that we swam in the same pool with our kids, albeit at different points in time. We laughed at how there seemed to be an over-abundance of lizards at that house, and how all of the kids spent lots of time unsuccessfully trying to catch one. We all wondered what the chances were that the world could be so very small.

I eventually got married again, and my husband’s sister and I remained close. One unfortunate footnote: My ex-mother-in-law was right. The husband did make his money too fast, and didn’t do it in the right way. Now he's "away", and she and her kids are the ones paying the price.

...I guess sometimes mother-in-laws are smarter than we think, as much as we hate to admit it.

(this wasn't the only coincidence that my sister-in-law and I shared. Next time I'll tell our other small "world" story!)


Carine said...

we've had some weird ones too! my husband's aunt met and married a man who 30 years before, worked for my dad!

Kacey said...

The world is a very small place---that's why you have to keep your nose clean. The older you get the more coincidences you come across. I love this post and am waiting to see what this dude did for his money --- great mystery, Lisa!

Summer said...

Lisa, Sorry to be late in commenting..but i am away on holiday in Cairo and i am having a great time..your post is too funny for words and really weird things happen to us that make us-at least make me-think that there must be a reason for everything!!! people you meet, places you have been to or anything that happens...destiny!! great post again and i will be posting more pictures from Cairo as soon as i go back home in few days! have a great day!

Lisa said...


Yes, sometimes the strangest things happen. I had another weird coincidence with this same sister-in-law, but it involved a soap opera and I didn't want to post that this week while Teri was running hers (she actually reminded me of it by writing her post about her friend and "AMC")! I'll post that one next weekend!

Take good care,

Lisa said...


Unfortunately, I won't be writing about my brother-in-law anytime soon out of respect for his wife and kids! It was pretty infamous around these parts and would probably make a great read, but I definitely won't be the one to write about it. You never know who might read it.. ;)

Good to hear from you, hope all is well!!

Take good care,

Lisa said...


I'm so glad that you're having a great time! It was great to hear from you! As I told Carine, I have another "coincidence" post with this same sister-in-law that I'll put up next week, so be sure to stop by when you have a chance!

Take good care,

Teri said...

Dear Lisa...wonderful post. I always say it's a small world, and I always check the bathroom stalls before I say anything to anyone. History (or herstory) is a great lesson. 6 degrees chica...or in your case 3 degrees? Oh well, math never was my best subject. ;)

Lisa said...


Yes, over here we have to check stalls, supermarket aisles, waxing name it! This town is way too small! I will admit, all of my friends and I have gotten much better about what we discuss when we run into each other at King Kullen. We save the "gossipy" stuff for ladies night out!

Take good care,

Big Dave T said...

Wow, I don't think I've experienced anything nearly as close in the way of coincidences.

One irony. Although I have a rather unusual last name, and those of us who have it are related though possibly distantly, I've run into more than one guy with my exact first and last name. In fact, one of them works at the same place I do.

Lisa said...


I don't know your last name, but have you and the gentleman at work tried to figure out if you're related in any way? That's so strange!

My maiden name is like that as well. It's so rare in this country that anyone who has it is related to us in some way. However, we've heard that in Italy, that name is associated with royalty and I would be an actual "dona" over there! I think it's time to move.

Take good care,