There are those coincidences in everyone’s life that really leave you stunned. My mother once ran into a Trenton, N.J. neighbor once – on line to visit the top of the Eiffel Tower. We all have our stranger-than-truth stories. Here’s one of mine:
While growing up in Lakewood, New Jersey, I had a friend named Harry Maurer. Harry (known as Ricky back then) discovered his niche while very young – Harry wanted to be a magician. While barely a teenager, he dazzled his friends & classmates. He worked local parties and events. Any money he earned doing his magic act was returned to his craft to upgrade & move into more sophisticated and impressive illusions. Our High School marching band featured Harry’s magic out on the field. His renown was impressive for a teenage performer.
I am a few years older than Harry, so I went off to college while he remained in high school. In college, there was a flautist named Jill – Jill Maurer. Jill is an older sister of Harry’s that I had never met. Strange coincidence, huh?
After I graduated from college, I moved to Washington, D.C. to be a member of the United States Navy Band. Every now and again, the different premier bands of the various branches of service got the chance to play together. For Bill Clinton’s Inauguration, I performed with members of the U.S. Coast Guard Band who travelled from Connecticut to play the event. In that group sat Jill Maurer – sister of Harry Maurer. Strange coincidence, huh?
Years later, my mother’s health had deteriorated and she needed to live in a convalescent center. I travelled to N.J. as often as possible to spend time with her. On one visit, while pushing my mother through the hall in her wheelchair, I passed some familiar faces – they were members of the Maurer family. Harry’s father was ill, and was living in the same nursing home.
Inspired by all the chance meetings of Jill and other Maurer family members, I searched out Harry on the internet. We corresponded a few times via email, and had hoped to get see each other at an upcoming Atlantic City performance of his, but it never happened.
In 2003, I took my family on a rare vacation – we took a cruise on the Norwegian Dawn, from New York to Florida, the Bahamas and back to New York. When returning to our cabin after a visit to the on-board gym, Kathy met me at the elevator. Excitedly, she said “I have a big surprise for you… LOOK!” She handed me the ship’s daily calendar, and there, listed as the evening’s headline performer – HARRY MAURER. After 23 years, we actually met – in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Strange coincidence, huh?
We had a great reunion, getting caught up on each other’s lives, and meeting each other’s spouses and (my) kids. I even got to be an audience selectee to come up on stage during a performance to witness an illusion up close – just as I had when we were kids in his house.
Harry has “made it” , just as we all knew he would. He displayed the talent, drive & charisma at an early age. He performs around the world to critical acclaim.
Our accidental reunion was 3 years ago – Harry has his life and busy schedule, and I have mine. Last night, my computer announced the arrival of an email. It’s from Harry. He had received an email from a service he once subscribed to, describing imaginative and unique business ideas. That service was provided, unknown to Harry, by my sister-in-law, Mary Gillen of Learn One Thing. I just happened to have authored an article for her newsletter this week and Harry stumbled on it. Strange coincidence, huh?
Our next meeting may not, however, be quite so accidental. I may try to book a family vacation with the intention of seeing Harry (by design) this next time, instead of allowing chance to rule. It just couldn’t happen again… could it?
Harry Maurer, Emma and Dave
Norwegian Dawn – 2003