Vive La Difference!
Several times in my lifetime I have seen or experienced something that struck me as being so significant or so special or so unusual that I thought at the time, “I’ve got to remember this moment.”
Walking out into the middle of Red Square in Moscow was one of those moments. Standing on a cliff looking down on the landing beaches in Normandy was another. And seeing the famous Lipizzaner stallions perform in Vienna was another. It was my love of travel that made those moments possible.
Years ago—I think it was probably 1961—I was working in Windsor, Connecticut, for a private secondary school and one of the other staff members was a woman named Alice who was in the same office. I remember her as being quite personable and having a real sense of humor.
We were chatting over our brown bag lunches one day and I mentioned something about the summer after my high school graduation when I was an exchange student living with a German family in the town of Schweinfurt. That was when Alice told me quite matter-of-factly that she didn’t travel. “Never had any desire to,” she said.
I was frankly astonished to discover that this attractive, somewhat-past-middle-age lady had never been as far south as New York City or as far north as Boston … both about 100 miles from where we were sitting. She was very matter-of-fact about it, saying everything she needed was right there in Windsor.
I’ve thought about Alice quite a few times over the years. Usually it’s shortly after I have experienced on of those “got to remember” moments. That’s when I think of Alice and wonder how it’s possible for people to be so different.