As I am searching daily through the vast collection of fascinating nooks and crannies of recorded history waiting to be explored (and leaving a well-marked digital trail to the discoveries found there), I often pause to reflect on this thought-proving truth.
What if this or that seemingly insignificant deed, action, accident, mistake, introduction, meeting, serendipitous discovery or observation, suggestion, encouragement, timely smile, act of kindness, etc. had never happened? What if ……?
Recently I was reminded of this truth in my own life, when this photograph arrived in my email.
There is famous Hollywood actor John Travolta. How many hours over the years have we enjoyed watching and re-watching his movies? How many people around the globe instantly recognize him?
Then there is famous NASA space pioneer and American hero Buzz Aldrin, an inspiration to so many people over the decades, and now an active advocate for America’s future greatness.
Then there is my dear old friend Tom Nocera, the youngest member of the launch crew for Apollo 11, celebrating the 46th anniversary of the historic event with our cousin Buzz and John Travolta.
While he was there, he informed Buzz Aldrin that Buzz is a single-digit cousin of the first American woman in space, Sally Ride. Tom presented him with a Family Forest® relationship chart laying out the exact connection.
Just a couple of weeks earlier Tom gave Mrs. David Crosby a Family Forest® relationship chart. It showed David’s generation-by-generation family ties to one of David’s favorite authors, Mark Twain.
Even though it was a very small event over four decades ago, it’s still a vivid memory. My fiancee and I were on a pier on Clearwater Beach on a picture postcard perfect Florida evening, taking pictures with her Dad’s camera.
I accidently dropped the lens cap, and watched helplessly as it rolled seemingly in slow motion to the edge of the pier, then fell silently for about six feet before it went kerplunk! (lens caps were metal in those days) into Clearwater Bay.
Tom Nocera, the owner of the camera store where we bought a replacement lens cap the next day, became a great and lifelong friend.
If that one tiny event had not happened, if I had not accidentally dropped that lens cap 44 years ago, this photograph would not have arrived in my email box. But impossible to imagine, the whole timeline in between would have been altered in incalculable ways, including probably, me meeting Kristine.
Almost equally as important to Kristine and me today, Tom would not have become the leading champion of our Family Forest® Project, and one of its most enthusiastic supporters.
Thank you Tom for being there in Clearwater that day, for your encouragement and assistance to keep us Networking Family History with Hollywood™, and for introducing the Family Forest® to so many of the millions of people who are destined to be delighted and enriched by it!