When I was eight or nine years old, one of my teachers told our class a story that has stayed with me all these decades since. Here is what my mind remembers.
There were two sisters–identical twins–who’d been put up for adoption as infants. They were adopted out individually and neither knew of each other’s existence. They’d lived their lives, moved to a city beyond where they’d spend their childhoods, and were “just like any other person” when one day someone said to one of the sisters, “Do you have a sister? A twin? I know someone who looks just like you.”
“No,” of course, was how the sister-who-didn’t-yet-know-she-was-(or had)-a-sister answered.
But the friend was convincing enough to encourage her to meet this other young lady who looked so much like her, and so off she went. The sister was quite the seamstress and made most of her clothes. On that particular day, she was wearing a particular dress she’d made of a particular yellow fabric she favored: theoretically, a one-of-a-kind piece. She did her hair up the way she liked to do it, and put on her favorite pair of shoes to go with the dress.
When she met up with the woman who supposedly looked like her, know what she saw? A young woman with her hair done up like hers was, wearing the same exact hand-made dress made of the same exact yellow fabric, and wearing the same style shoes!
My eight- (or maybe it was nine-) year-old self’s mind was blown! How could such things happen? What mysteries of life existed that such coincidences could occur? The chances? The millions, billions, gajillions of small factors that would have to pass such a moment occur: for them both to have a shared acquaintance, both be seamstresses, both make the same dress using the same exact fabric, both wear their hair as such that day, and both have–and don–the same shoes!
It was, for me, a moment when my Small Child’s mind got bigger. Much bigger.
My teacher wasn’t lying. (How could she? Why would she?) I was covered in goosebumps upon hearing the story; and it struck me so deep of a fate, a destiny, something greater than anything I’d encountered existed. (Yep, my family was not religious in the slightest, and, for which, I’m grateful.)
That story was a watershed moment for me. An opening. A chink in the armor of just-science and just-facts world my parents presented, and I believed.
I don’t think often of that story now, though when I saw this Ripley’s Believe or Not article, I was reminded of the two reunited identical twins in the yellow dresses. Check this out:
These two brothers, also identical, were separated at birth and adopted. The parents knew there was a twin, but no one said anything to them until later in life when one of them decided to see if he could find his twin brother.
Both were named Jim.
Both had a beloved childhood dog named Toy.
Both had a proclivity for math and woodworking.
Both married twice.
Both married Lindas the first time and Bettys the second.
Both had a son. One named his James Alan, and the other named his James Allan.
Both were heavy smokers.
Both drove the same car.
Both worked in security.
Both took vacations at the same beach in Florida.
Like, for real?!
What quirky, wild, how-could-that-be stories have you heard in your life?