You have probably heard about the theory that – if we try hard enough – we find ourselves related to strangers by no more than six degrees of separation. Meaning that you probably know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone etc and that person knows this stranger you’re meeting. It’s this chain of “friend of a friend of a friend” that we are all familiar with.
It makes the world more personal and the connections more meaningful.
What’s curious about our job serving seniors in this little part of the planet called Eastern PA is that these “a-ha-moments” of connectedness happen to us all the time: Lauren was packing a client’s framed pictures and recognizes her late grandparents in the same photograph with the client. Turns out that they were all part of a senior stand-up comedy group in Allentown, PA. Christine packs a tourist guide for Heidelberg, Germany, at a recent move and the client’s children tell her that they went to study abroad (at Christine’s alma mater) for a year and eagerly share details about the great time they had.
And then there is the Magyarlak-connection. Literally only two to three degrees of separation between our Senior Move Manager Sharon and this lovely Hungarian-American couple Frank and Magda that she managed a move for. Knowing their Hungarian roots, Sharon brings Kiffles as their Move Day treat and Magda is very excited (and teaches her the correct pronunciation!).
After they have settled into their new home, they invite Sharon’s parents for a visit, initially because they had offered to help with translating a document Sharon’s Dad was trying to decipher for his genealogical research. At that point it’s just the language connection that makes this a happy meeting.
But soon they discover that Frank’s home village is literally 4 miles from Sharon’s grandfather’s village Magyarlak near the Austrian border. According to Wikipedia, that village’s population count is around 748 souls today. And it’s 4,328 miles away. But through time and geographical distance Frank can fill in an important missing detail about the grandfather’s profession as a metal worker. Not to mention that they all have a great time in sharing their immigrant (life) story with each other – like the global neighbors they are.
“It’s just amazing that these clients had such a close connection to my family’s origin”, says Sharon. “They’ve come through some hardships and are not in the best of health, but meeting with fellow Hungarian-Americans from their old neighborhood made everyone happy.”