aunty betty

Sometimes the world seems a whole lot smaller than we think.

This spring, I spent my Monday nights rehearsing with the band mentioned in the title (its too long to type often). I play trumpet for the group, led by Steve Anderson, who has done the job for 26 years now, retiring at the end of this school year. I have played in the band over the years, having played trumpet, baritone, percussion, and clarinet.

A good twenty ago, a guy named Don Forte played trombone in the band. As he and I talked back then, we realized we were from the same area – he was from Eveleth, I was from Mt. Iron …the difference is he is 30 years older than me. There were several conversations that year, little of which I recall right now. This year, after having taken care of his wife for many years, Don was able to rejoin the band, so we continued our conversations. He is now 95 years old.

The night of the concert last week, he and I got to talking again … and he, after all those years, remembered that my dad was a railroad worker for DM&IR, as well as a few other things we had talked about back in those original years. His memory was flawless – he brought up many of the details of those conversations two decades ago.

Then we talked about him and what he had done. He had served in the navy during WWII, having graduated from Eveleth in 1941 – well, knowing my family history, I just had to ask … “Did you know any of the Strand kids?”

“Oh yeah – there was a Betty Strand in my class.”

I told him that Betty was by Great Aunt – and how neat it was to have a common connection. Oh how I had taken a picture with him to post here.

If you ever think the world can’t get any smaller …