Museum Musings: the Ozzie checked her change…

On a busy summer Sunday I served a middle-aged woman who bought a book about the Museum and a refrigerator magnet which, with the tax, came to a grand total of $16.18. 

She paid with a twenty. After I counted back her change of $3.82, she stood staring at the money in her hand.

Oh god, was this going to be “one of those days…” I thought, with a smile plastered on my face.

She saw me staring. “Oh, no worries,” she said, “I was just looking at your money. I’ve never seen American money before.”

“Where are you from?” I asked her.


Lots of Ozzies come to the museum, because L.A.’s the main hub between Australia/New Zealand and North America.”  “Welcome to the United States,” I said.

“Where are you from?” she asked me.

People hear my accent and always want to know where I come from. I sometimes say country number two – where we lived for over twenty years and where our children were born – because I know from experience that it won’t be a long story. If I give the name of my birth country I have to be able to answer the many questions that I know will follow.  I was feeling chatty that day, so I told this woman the truth.

“What a coincidence,” she said, “I’m also from there!”   I don’t know why meeting a countryman makes me so happy, but it does, perhaps it helps me feel less lonely in this huge country. I was doubly delighted to discover we came from the same city.

“What’s your name?” she asked me.

“Rosanne Freed,” I said, “What’s yours?”

“Carmella – – -” she said. I didn’t hear her surname, it started with a Z–.

Carmella isn’t a very popular name, I’ve only known one person called Carmella, and she was my sister’s best friend from elementary school, so I asked her, “Do you by any chance know my sister M.J?” – which is almost like asking a New Yorker whether they know Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and City – but hey, you never know.

“Yes, I do,” she said, “M.J. was my very best school chum. What did you say your name was…?”

The woman standing in front of me looking at the American money in her hand was my sister’s long-lost school friend, Carmella S.  The last time we saw each other was in 1968, when we were both on holiday in Tel Aviv.  I remembered her as a short-sighted overweight girl who peered at you through the thick lenses of her spectacles.

“I didn’t recognize you, because you aren’t wearing glasses,” I told her…


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.
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33 Responses to Museum Musings: the Ozzie checked her change…

  1. Lynn says:

    How amazing is that???!!!!!
    (By the way I work with a Biology teacher of that name….uncommon in our birth-country but common in my home country for the last 35 years!!!!)
    Love stories like this – and LOVED the fashion post, as usual! Keep writing, Rosie. Hugs.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Lynn,
      Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to leave a comment. I’m glad to hear you liked both this and the fashion post.

      I’m interested to hear that Carmella’s a common name in your #2 country.
      btw do you know anyone called Dwight?
      Charles, one of my blogging buddies, wrote in a post that he’d never met anyone with that name. When I left him a comment that I also haven’t he replied:

      “But I have a feeling a man named Dwight will visit you at the Museum one of these days. Remember where you heard that.”

      Stay tuned!

      (((hugs))) back at you.

  2. magsx2 says:

    It really is a small world. 🙂
    How wonderful to run into an old friend of your sisters, and to think you nearly missed out knowing who she was, it was all meant to be. 😀

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mags,
      It is a small world.
      I hadn’t thought of her – or any of the many school friends we’d had in many years – and this woman standing in front of my cash register didn’t even vaguely remind me of my sister’s Carmella because I remember her as that teenager I saw in Tel Aviv.

  3. Reggie says:

    What a marvellous, intriguing coincidence, Rosie! Love it!

  4. souldipper says:

    Oh the delight of these incredible discoveries.
    Had she also turned into a svelte woman with great athletic abilities? 😀
    What would I do without your adventures, Rosie? I really do adore your days. (I know…I don’t have to go through that commute!)

    • Cindy says:

      My sentiments echo Amy’s 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Amy,
      I remembered her as a short overweight teenager with very thick glasses and acne. Not a middle aged woman. I’m not middle aged am I?

      Nice to know you sympathize with my commute. I wrote about “Carmageddon” in July when they closed the 405 freeway for a weekend. The road construction is still about two years from completion. Each week we face new road closures, and busy roads cut down to only one lane… The commute was horrendous this week.

  5. What a delightful encounter and thank you for sharing. I was born in a different country and our story is interesting…I say our because my family always shares stories of our encounters when we are together. Our family has lived in so many places, it has been interesting the people we have met who know or knew my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or siblings. Love this. What an interesting life and job you have.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Georgette,
      Thank you for writing. How many countries have you lived in?
      It’s always amazing to bump into someone from your past when you’re all still living in the same city, but when you’re far from home it’s an exciting encounter that’s hard to describe.

  6. Mahalia says:

    Lovely the way paths cross and recross across continents!!

  7. Sybil says:

    Rosie, you make so much of the parade that comes through your door at the museum. You notice things. You really enjoy people. Your blog fairly “glows” some days with a sense of wonder.

  8. E fullstop says:

    How fantastic! We’d be tempted to attribute this to “serendipity” or “coincidence” — but it’s more than that. You should be proud to attribute this kind of encounter to your genuine and curious personality, which makes people comfortable with you right away. If it weren’t for that, you would have served just “another” Ozzie and squandered the chance to really open up that coincidence and find the pearl in the oyster!

    • dearrosie says:

      Muchas gracias for leaving me such a nice comment E fullstop…I never thought of being proud, it’s just who I am, but you’re right, if I wasn’t curious me, my sister’s friend Carmella would’ve just been “another” Ozzie.

  9. Priya says:

    There has to be something about you, the air these days, or the impish forces that work invisibly. Or all.
    So many coincidences, in such a short time, Rosie. How splendid!

  10. What are the chances? I always wonder what it is supposed to mean when those connections happen. It can’t happen for no reason. It just can’t.

    And all along, as I was reading, I figured the story was going to be about the change you gave her. Pays to read the whole post!

    • dearrosie says:

      Your last sentence was interesting EOS. I wonder how many people come by our blogs and don’t bother to read beyond the first few lines?

      I also wonder why Carmella and I met again, after all, she was my sister’s friend, not mine, and it was only because of her unusual name that I spoke up…

  11. What a small world it is! Has your sister kept in touch with Carmella over the years? Wondering if they will get in touch with each other now. You never know what each day will bring there at the museum – it seems to be a never ending adventure!

    • Er – that should be “it,” not “it’s.”

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Barbara,
      The world is smaller than any of us realize – just six degrees of separation…
      I’ll check with my sister whether it’s helped them renew their friendship.

      Standing at my cash register may sound very boring to some people, but to me it’s a never ending adventure of “who’m I going to meet today?”

      I look forward to seeing you Barbara, but I have no idea what you look like -after all I’ve been talking to a blue dragonfly all these months 😀

      • There is a rare picture of me on my “About” page, Rosie – cameras are usually very unkind to me, which has made me extremely camera shy. Tim says he’ll try and get an acceptable shot of me this week… 🙂

      • dearrosie says:

        Oh Barbara that’s a great photo of you. I’m delighted to finally meet you so now I can talk to that woman in the baseball cap sitting on the wall and not a dragonfly.

  12. Kathy says:

    That is SUCH a cool story!!! I love it when synchronistic things happen. You do attract interesting stories to yourself. Perhaps, working in a museum, you’ve become a collector/magnet of story energy. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Kathy,
      I love the idea that I’m the magnet and collector of story energy! Love it 😀

      When I served Carmella she chose to wait in the line for my cash register, even though there were four other registers, and mine wasn’t THE busy one. I haven’t mentioned how people are like sheep and all gather at the one register – Register 4 – in the main store. You know when you’re scheduled to work Register 4 on a busy weekend that you’re going to be *busy* and go home *exhausted*.

      I think I’d recognize you at my cash register as long as you don’t change your hair color, hair style or glasses from your gravatar picture. How long ago was it taken?

      • Kathy says:

        Good question, Rosie. I think it was taken maybe 4-5 years ago? It was taken on a trip to Georgia and my expression seemed to look dreamier and happier than in many photographs. I am glad you would recognize me. Because you never know…our son is out in San Diego, you know. **smile**

      • dearrosie says:

        Kathy I’m thrilled to know your son’s in San Diego because that means I really will see you. **smile**

  13. bronxboy55 says:

    Given the number of people you meet at work, I don’t think it’s that surprising that you’d sometimes encounter someone with whom you have a connection. What’s truly stunning about it is how you find ways to show interest in so many different strangers, and how you so quickly turn them into acquaintances, and even friends. That’s a special gift you have, Rosie, and for me, much more interesting than the occasional coincidence.

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