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It's a Small World

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It's a Small World

Bob Witte meets an old... neighbor

One day back in 1991 I was outside in the yard at Alpine Lumber on Baldy and Division in Sandpoint chatting with a local building contractor who was waiting to get his truck loaded with lumber. I thought I was talking to a total stranger but moments later I found out that we were closer than we ever realized. The man I was talking with was Tom Sykes, a local building contractor who was converting the old railroad station out along the river near Laclede into his home.

As the small talk conversation went along, “nice weather,” “boy was that a long winter,” and so on I finally asked the question that so frequently comes up in conversations between strangers in North Idaho: “So”, I asked, “where did you come from?”

And the answer was just exactly like the one that also gets repeated so frequently in conversations between strangers in North Idaho: “California.”

Tom went on to explain that he was from the Central Coast of California, which is something all of us from the Central Coast are very quick to point out to people because we hate giving the impression that we are from the sprawl of Los Angeles or the Bay area. It’s much cooler being from the land of clean skies, clean ocean and wide open spaces - the less populated Central Coast. Anyway, I let him know immediately that I, too, was from the Central Coast.

Tom went on to explain that he was from San Luis Obispo. To which I let him know that I, too, was from San Luis Obispo. I let him know that back in the late 70s, before I moved up north to Morro Bay, I had rented a little house in downtown San Luis. Tom admitted that right around that time he and his wife, Doty, also rented a small house in downtown San Luis. I told him what neighborhood my house was in, and sure enough, it was the same neighborhood as his. I asked him what street he lived on and the answer was Dana Street.

Dana Street was a little street just few blocks long that ran along the creek that cut through the center of town. I knew it well because it was the same street I had lived on. This was just an incredible coincidence, meeting a guy in far away Sandpoint, Idaho, who had actually lived the small town of San Luis Obispo, Calif. at the same time I had, and had lived on the same street! So I had to ask what his address was. The answer: 585 Dana Street. You guessed it—I, too, had lived at 585 Dana Street. After comparing notes we figured out that Tom and Doty Sykes had moved out of this little rental house the day before I had moved in back in 1978! As it turns out Tom and I have tons of mutual friends, but we had never met until that day in 1991 at Alpine Lumber. Talk about a small world.

Bob Witte works for Pure Health Solutions, Inc. and serves on the board of the Festival at Sandpoint. Got your own “small world” story to tell? We’d love to hear it! Send it to us at trish(at)riverjournal.com.

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