Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Knew Her Sister!

Okay, I've been hearing a lot recently about a book called The Romeo and Juliet Code. Lots of people have been hearing about it, right? But I've just been skimming things, liked the idea of the book being about a girl relocated to the U.S. during World War II, thought I'd read it if I got the chance.

Well, just now on Facebook I saw a message on my wall from the New England Independent Booksellers Association in which it was promoting the book saying it was "by Phoebe Stone (Middlebury, VT)"


I grew up about 30 minutes from Middlebury. It was the cool place for us to go in high school. It was also the town I had in mind when creating East Branbury, Vermont for Saving the Planet & Stuff.

But, more importantly, I know the Stone name because Phoebe's sister, Abigail, was in my eighth grade math class! With Mrs. Welton!

Now, I would have forgotten all this because we weren't close, and I don't recall Abigail other than that math class. But years later, I learned that her mother, Ruth, is a well-known poet and that others in the family were also writers. In fact, I believe Abigail has published some books, too.

My limited connection with the family came about when they lived in Goshen, Vermont. We went to a union high school that included seven towns. Goshen and Sudbury were two of the tiniest and not near one another. The Gauthiers were a Franco-American farm family (farm is a little too grand a word--subsistence farm would be more accurate), and I knew nothing about the literary Stones, didn't know they were literary, would probably not have known what that meant then if I had. I had no idea what the family had been through with the loss of their father (which would happen in my family when I was a senior in high school). Abigail liked to wear hats, if I recall. That's it.

But I'm just so blown away that two such dramatically different people from nearby locations are so many years later working in the same field. Totally independent of one another. Totally unaware of one another.

Okay, in my carbon-based world, if I told this story to the people I know someone would be sure to say, "Get over it, Gail. It happens all the time." Which is why I am telling this story here.

Oh, and I wrote to my friend Pam about this.

UPDATE: Pam says it was ninth grade math, not eighth grade, and that seems correct.

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