Write Again…It really is a small world

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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Interesting are those things – coincidences, maybe? – which reminds us it really is a small world. Eine kleine welt.

Please let me, then, share one of these small world experiences with you, friends.

First, just a bit of background. I have mentioned before that I had a first life as a newspaper columnist, begun in 1970, writing weekly for almost twenty years. Then I went on a “sabbatical” for a long while.  

The column was titled “New View,” and in 1985 I published a little book of some of those many columns.

So now, I’m getting to the small world part.

Recently Tom Edwards put up something on Facebook about “New View,” and about the book. He included a photo of the front of the book, I think. We’re not Facebook devotees, so we don’t see much from that world unless someone tells us. He referenced a particular column.

So. I received several phone calls inquiring about purchasing the book. Unfortunately we have only four copies left. They came back to us because family members had passed away, or those who knew we might like to keep a few copies for the grandchildren, should they like to have one someday. Two of them are in college, and one is a junior in high school.

One of the phone calls I received regarding obtaining a copy of the book was from Charles Langley, who now lives in Ocala, Florida. I had met him when he moved to Manteo, and taught 9 grade English to one of his sons. As best I can remember, Charles lived on the Outer Banks only a short while. His father, Russell, I knew well. He was a county commissioner at one time. That, however, is really all I knew about the family.  

When Charles called I explained that I couldn’t give him a book to keep, but would mail him a copy, asking that he pass it on to someone here who also expressed an interest in getting a copy, and that it be returned to me eventually. Both agreed to that.

After reading it, Charles wrote me a beautiful thank you letter, one most favorable to my writing, and then added information I did not know. In it was the “small world” part.

You see, unbeknownst to me, Charles lived part of his growing up years, (yes, you might have guessed) right here in our Little Washington. 

Let me share just a bit of that which he wrote:

“Brought back memories of my life in Little Washington, when I lived down the street from Dumay Gorham and Bennie Waters. I used to idolize John Gray Blount, when he played football for the Pam Pack. One of my teachers was Mr. Sweel, who was also a coach . . .”

Tom Edwards, who was a truly outstanding teacher at Manteo High in the vocational field – his carpentry students won honors and accolades in carpentry at the state level regularly – is originally from (want to guess?) our shared hometown. That’s right, Tom grew up here, and went through each grade in our school system. His was the WHS Class of ’60, I believe.

And so, a newspaper column written in 1981 is still sending out ripples here in 2021.

If this isn’t a “small world” story, I’m not sure what is.

It’s a good one, too.

If you’ll keep on reading, friends, I’ll try to keep on writing.

A deal?