“I met you at your museum,” she said, but I didn’t remember her.

“Hello,” she said smiling at me, “I met you at your museum.”

I must say I was flattered that this friendly woman recognized me, but unfortunately I had no idea which one she was among the hundreds of people who come to my cash register every day.  I stared at her hoping to jog my memory, but I drew a blank. “Sorry…?”

“The museum where you work, in California.” she said.

I pride myself on remembering the people I meet, but perhaps I could be forgiven this time, because after all our meeting was taking place at my nephew’s house after my mother’s funeral.

“I’m Debbie S– your mother’s friend.” Once she told me her name, I remembered who she was.

I wrote about our chance meeting last year in the post called The French couple and sister M… and I’m going to repost it, because it’s one of my favorite meetings at my register:


The middle-aged French couple stood in front of my cash register for some time while they deliberated whether to purchase the half a dozen art books in their shopping basket, he wanted to buy them all, you could see he loved art by how carefully he turned the pages, but she explained that firstly, they already had too many art books at home, and secondly these were too large, and too heavy to go in their suitcases, and reminded him, very sweetly too, how expensive postage on art books could be, so he gave them all back to me, and bought the Museum Handbook, a relatively small book, instead.

He paid with a Visa card.

When someone pays with a credit card I check the name. If my customer’s a woman, and the name on her card is “Mark”, I  ask, “Where’s Mark?”  He’s often standing next to her,  sometimes waiting on the bench outside the store, but very often he’s ”at home”.  You’d be amazed how angry some women get when I don’t allow them to use Mark’s card, if Mark isn’t there.

Of course, this being Hollywood, I also look at the name, because you never know who may be standing in front of me.  A few years ago I thought the woman at my register looked like Joan Rivers  – I recognized her distinctive little nose and way of speaking – but I wasn’t sure, she looked too “young”, there were no wrinkles on her perfect face, and as we aren’t supposed to say “What an honor to serve you” to the rich and famous, I couldn’t ask her.  Thankfully she didn’t leave me guessing, as she thoughtfully paid with a credit card, and there was her name: Joan Rivers. (Now I know what cosmetic surgery looks like up close.)

I also enjoy the challenge of identifying the credit card’s country from the few clues, like Air France or Lufthanza Air Miles, or the name of the bank, “Banco Roma” is easy, but “Standard Bank” doesn’t tell you anything, and ”Royal Bank”, isn’t British, it’s Canadian.

So when the French tourist (who didn’t buy the art books) gave me his credit card, his name didn’t ring a bell for me, but I knew their bank was Canadian, and in a friendly gesture to a couple of art lovers, I asked where they lived in Canada.

Monsieur said, “We live in France and Canada.

I guessed Quebec, but I was wrong, they were from Ontario.

“Do you know Ontario?” he said.

“Yes, I have relatives who live there,” I said

They lived near Bayview Village. “I know the area.” I said,  ”Do you recall that very heavy downpour a few years ago when the storm drains backed up, leaving several miles of the city knee deep in water? ”

“Yes, many houses flooded in that storm,”  said Madame.

“My friend Lynn and I were stranded in the mall that afternoon. It was horrible.” I said.

“Our neighbors were also stranded there that afternoon,” said Monsieur, then turning to his wife he said, “She looks like M—, don’t you think?”

“M—?” I asked, and when I saw her nodding in agreement, I said, “My sister’s name is M—.”

“I’m talking about M– -W–,” he said picking up his book, and turning to leave.

“Oh my god,” I shouted, and saw my spit land on his cheek, “M– -W–’s my sister!”

“What a coincidence,” he smiled warmly, “We were at their place not so long ago. Had a lovely evening.”

“Who are you? Who’m I talking to?” I hadn’t recognized the name on his credit card, but I don’t know all my sister’s friends.

“We’re actually friends of your mother’s,” he said. “Our name is S–”

I took this photo of my Mom with Claude and Debbie at a restaurant last year

“You’re the S–s?  My mother’s told me so much about you, it’s wonderful to finally meet you,”   I said, and hugged these strangers, who now were my good friends.

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
This entry was posted in Families don't you love them, Museum Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to “I met you at your museum,” she said, but I didn’t remember her.

  1. Lynn says:

    Dear Rosie!
    I wonder why I love this post so much????? Great memories.
    And yes, that wonderful photo of Gladys and me in front of the horse painting was taken that day six years ago when we met on my trip to the family wedding…..before the storm! Later I drank my first Starbuck’s coffee!

    • dearrosie says:

      Dear Lynn,
      It was an amazing afternoon neither of us will ever forget, because we hadn’t seen each other for 25 years, you had your first Starbucks coffee, and the big storm. When you tell someone you missed your family’s pre-wedding service because there was an incredible storm which flooded the roads and left you stranded in a mall, it sounds as though you were in a tropical country! I’ll never forget seeing the water shooting up all over the mall, and our realization that something was wrong, that there shouldn’t be fountains coming up through the floor. 🙂

      My mother’s horse painting was her favorite possession. When we moved her to the the little room in the nursing home two weeks before she passed away, the horse painting went with her.

      Thanks for writing.

  2. magsx2 says:

    A wonderful story. It certainly is amazing sometimes the people that we can run into out of the blue, and always good to have new friends.

    • dearrosie says:

      Life is just a series of co-incidences. I wasn’t supposed to be working in the main store that day but someone was sick, and I could very easily have just said “bonjour” and left it at that, because they weren’t very talkative, but I kept on chatting to them

  3. Sybil says:

    What a lovely story ! And beautifully told.

  4. souldipper says:

    Great story, Rosie. It really is special when we meet someone connected to our family. It’s like they are instantly part of the family.

    I posted a blog story about meeting a woman who taught with my mother about 40 years before. My mother “stood up and roared” and saved her from the wrath of a small (uninformed) community.

    • souldipper says:

      Oops – I didn’t mention that the two of us (Canadians) met in the kitchen of a small “private” hotel in the middle of Auckland, NZ.

    • dearrosie says:

      Amy I was leaving a message for you on your blog about synchronicity, and then discovered you were here leaving one on mine at exactly the same time. We’re definitely on the same path…

      Oh my word that must’ve been an amazing experience for your Mom to discover an old teaching acquaintance from Canada in a hotel in New Zealand!

  5. Reggie says:

    What a WONDERFUL story, Rosie! Thank you for sharing it again! Such an uplifting coincidence, isn’t it? Love it. 🙂

  6. I just love coincidences … or lucky serendipity, as I like to think of it!

    brilliant!! and your mom is such a peach — what a happy, beautiful face!

    xoxoxo b

    • dearrosie says:

      It was lucky serendipity because (a) I wasn’t meant to be working in the main store that day and (b) he wasn’t really talkative. I somehow knew I had to drag a conversation out of him.

      I’m thankful I thought to take the photo of the three of them at lunch last year.

  7. Val says:

    Lovely post, Rosie. These so-called coincidences probably happen more often than we realise. I have a bit of a belief in fate and think that things do tend to happen for a reason.

    • dearrosie says:

      I really was meant to meet them. Why did they come to my register – when there are 4 in the main store – and why did I decide to keep talking to him? So many times when a tourist isn’t talkative, I just don’t bother.

  8. bronxboy55 says:

    You write a lot of perfect sentences, Rosie. Here’s one now:

    “Oh my god,” I shouted, and saw my spit land on his cheek, “M– -W–’s my sister!”

  9. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Oh Rosie, such a wonderful story! I love the way you write! This wonderful universe is so full of synchronicity, magical moments to keep in our hearts forever!

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