Dear Bendigo: When worlds collide

Have you ever been browsing in an op shop only to find something you donated months earlier? I love it when that happens. 

The odds are probably pretty high when you donate to the same place where you shop, but how about this for coincidence…

American novelist Anne Parrish was out and about with her husband, browsing bookstores in Paris in the 1920s, lucky bugger.

Story goes she found an old copy of Jack Frost on the shelves. 

It had been her favourite story as a child and as she was telling hubby this, he opened the book to find the inscription Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber Street, Colorado Springs.

I found this snippet, and lots, lots more, while Googling coincidences. Because it’s been a week of them.

Here’s another ripper…

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! retold the tale of the ill-fated Henry Ziegland.

In 1883, Henry broke off a relationship with his girlfriend. She was so heartbroken, she took her own life. 

Looking for revenge, the girl’s brother hunted Henry down, shot him, then turned his gun on himself and took his own life. 

But Henry had survived the shot with just a grazed face. The bullet was lodged in a nearby tree. 

Fast forward a few years and Henry decides to cut down the tree. 

But it was so big by then he ditched the axe in favour of a couple of sticks of dynamite. 

On the explosion, the bullet was propelled into Henry’s head and he was a goner.

Then, I found a news report of an incident in 2002 where twin brothers in Finland were killed in identical bicycle accidents along the same road two hours apart. 

“This is simply a historic coincidence. Although the road is a busy one, accidents don’t occur every day,” police officer Marja-Leena Huhtala told Reuters. 

“It made my hair stand on end when I heard the two were brothers, and identical twins at that. 

“It came to mind that perhaps someone from upstairs had a say in this.”

And I love this one, as documented on a site called 15 Strangest Coincidences…

After British actor Anthony Hopkins landed a leading role in a film based on the book The Girl From Petrovka by George Feifer, he went looking for a copy of the book, but couldn’t find one. 

After scouring London bookstores he was waiting for a train home and noticed a book left on a bench. Yep, it was the very one. 

Then, while filming the movie, Hopkins was visited by the author, who mentioned he did not have a copy of his own book. 

He had lent the last one, containing his own handwritten notes, to a friend who had lost it somewhere in London. 

Hopkins handed Feifer the book he had found… with the author’s notes scribbled in the margins.

My own coincidence won’t make it onto one of these sites, but it was remarkable to me. 

There I was, walking down View Street on my way to work – on a day I’m usually at home. 

A lady was walking towards me. The sun was in my eyes, but I thought I recognised her as a mum from my son’s school, so as she came to pass I smiled and said hello.

You know that moment when you realise that’s not the person you thought it was and you feel like a bit of a dill? That happened, and I kept walking, embarrassed.

Then, the lady called my name. I turned and she rushed back to me, saying, “you’re Lauren Mitchell! I’ve got a letter for you”. 

And she handed me the envelope in her hand, addressed and stamped, with my name on it. I kid you not. 

And they were words of kindness delivered just when they were needed most.

Picture: John Veeken

Picture: John Veeken


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