"small world" stories...
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Posted by Shu (+1794) 6 years ago
Maybe this has been done on here before...but wondering if anyone has a "small world" story they'd like to share about running into other people from Miles City in seemingly far away places?

I'll start it off: just yesterday I was at work in Eagan, Minnesota (a St. Paul suburb) and waited on a customer. I asked his name to get his order started and he said his last name is "Boutelle", which rung a bell. I asked him if he had any relatives in Montana. He said yes. I told him I knew of a businessman named Prescott Boutelle in Miles City where I grew up. His face lit up in amazement and he replied: "That's my dad!"

I know instances like that happen all the time, I just think it's cool when they do. Anyone else???
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 6 years ago
That is cool. I was at Disneyland in June of 1980 and I heard someone yell, "Dave! Hey, Dave!" There's a lot of Daves in the world so I didn't think much of it but when I looked around there was David Toews from Miles City. We said our "Hellos" and "Wow, crazy bumping into you here." then parted ways and our paths never crossed again on that visit to Disneyland. That was my first trip to L.A. and Disneyland and I was pretty awestruck by the big city so it was really weird to bump into a schoolmate like that.

Another time back in the 1990's I was in downtown Seattle sitting outside a Seattle's Best Coffee (now a Starbucks) that's located by Westlake Mall/Westlake Park at 4th and Pine. I was wearing a Montana State University sweatshirt and some guy came up and asked me if I was from Montana. I said I was from Miles City and it turned out he had just moved to the Seattle area from Miles City. I think his last name was Hansen (Jack?) and he used to work at MCC but moved to Seattle to take a job at Shoreline Community College.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 6 years ago
So my dad was in town (boise) last november, and he wanted to watch the Montana-Eastern Washington game. I called around to see if any of the bars were showing it, and found one. About halfway through the first quarter, a bunch of people sat down at the table next to us, and we got to talking during one of the breaks - turns out it was Dan Connors, his wife Kerri, and Scott Hathaway.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 6 years ago
Steve Hathaway, perhaps?
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Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 6 years ago
Is it steve? Graduated from SHHS in around 83? Rick & Mike's brother?
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 6 years ago
That sounds about right. Scott graduated in 1986, I think, and is no longer with us.
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Posted by MRH (+1489) 6 years ago
Not sure this counts, but I've met several folks from Miles City and Jordan when flying in and out of the Denver airport, some on the plane and some in the terminal.
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Posted by Oddjob (+194) 6 years ago
This is kind of an "only in Nevada" story.

Many years ago, I was working out of Winnemucca, NV and I was sharing a company house with another employee. This friend of his shows up from Wisconsin one day, and he's ready to party. After a number of beers and hours of BS, the traveler wanted to go down to the "line", since he had never been to Nevada before. In those days there were about 5 or 6 different establishments up and running and we had heard that "Penny's" was the best one going, so we went there. The guy from Wisconsin took off with one of the girls, so me and the other dude grabbed some stools at the bar and had a couple of $5 beers. ($5 dollar beers, 30 years ago)

The "Madam" came in, and hating to see potential customers wasting time at the bar, she came over to deliver the pitch. She introduced herself as "Penny" and asked us where we were from. I told her Miles City, Montana and she say's "No S**t?" "I used to run the Tongue River Clinic!" I told her "Well hell, pull up a stool and have a bottle of that $10 "champagne"! We have a lot to talk about......."

You just never know.......

[Edited by Oddjob (2/20/2015 5:10:59 PM)]
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 6 years ago
About 15 years ago two new clients walked into the office. They had just moved from Vermont to Utah and needed their tax returns done. As we chatted I found out that they were from the same area of Vermont where I had some relatives. I mentioned my cousin's name and they said, "Oh my god, we hang out with him all the time!"

Just recently we were flying home from Denver and bumped into my husband's best man from our wedding.
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Posted by A Jacobsen (+15) 6 years ago
I was living in M.C. in 2011 and traveled to North Carolina for my 50th high school reunion. While there I met a schoolmate from Portland. He inquired where in Montana I was from. Thinking no one would know of MC I replied Eastern Montana. He pressed for the town and I said Miles City. Interesting he replied...my son lives there! Turns out his son lived across the street from me. Small world indeed.

Art
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17331) 6 years ago
As many here know, I have been a homebrewer for a long time (see my picture). I started in 1990. When the internet came around, I started participating in homebrewing discussion boards and forums.

In 2005 or so, I got involved with a homebrewer's chat site. There are maybe 20 regulars, perhaps another hundred who pop in occasionally. Mostly Americans, but a few Europeans and several Australians. So there isn't a lot of us. As for Montanans, there are two of us, a guy from Great Falls and myself. Another guy from the Swan Lake area pops in every couple of years or so.

Being the internet, most everyone chats in anonymity under various handles, but after a while we figure each other's names out, mostly in offline email. One day, a long timer who lives in California at this chat found out I was from Montana, and told me he used to live in Miles City. I told him I was from Miles City, so he asked my name. When he found out, he said, "You're kidding." He thought I was my late father. Turned out he used to work as a contractor for my dad at the VA. Guy's name is Ben Orr. While I never knew him when I lived in Miles City, we have got together at a couple of homebrewer events since then. Great guy.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 6 years ago
Gunnar, reading your story made me think of Bert Elwood. I've probably told this story on these forums before... in the mid-1980's Bert saw a late night TV ad for (I thought it was the "Fish Popper" but Bert claims it was...) the "Speed Ball Screwdriver".

Bert called the 800 number to order one and when the operator took his name the operator responded with something like, "No poop?!" Turned out the operator was Chris Peterson from Miles City who happened to be working for (I believe it was) National Data in Atlanta.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 6 years ago
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 6 years ago
It's ironic that in a "small world" thread that phone number at the end of the fish-popper ad has a 232 prefix.

===

About a month ago one of my co-workers came into my office and said there was a meeting going on downstairs concerning fertilizer products and asked me to attend as I am good at spotting snakeoil salesmen. So I went to the meeting. 

I am sitting there listening to the presentation, thinking to myself "I have heard this woman's voice before on the telephone. I know that someplace I have talked to her before". And then it dawned on me where this had occured. So she paused in her presentation and asked if there were any questions. I raised my hand and asked "Aren't you working with Alan out on the Diamond Cross ranch and you made a recommendation that he switch from using potash to potassium sulfate, which by the way was a solid recommendation"? Her jaw bounced on the floor a couple of times and she said "wow, yes, I am". My co-workers all sat there amazed that I knew all of this.

After her presentation, I talked with her for about 45 minutes and learned that she lives in Billings, but is originally from Custer. She was the Custer chapter FFA sweetheart when I was a senior in high school. I mentioned that I had moved down here from Hardin and she asked if I knew a guy named Wayne who lives there. I'm like "yup, I had a beer or two after work with him nearly every day I lived there". Turns out Wayne is her first cousin.

It was a fun situation that you wouldn't expect in the middle of the rez. She reminded me that there is something different about people from Montana. The whole dang state is like one big neighborhood.

[Edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (2/21/2015 2:15:27 PM)]
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Posted by Hanson (+2164) 6 years ago
In the early fall of 1964, at about 4:00 O’clock in the morning, in the North Atlantic, I was asleep in my bunk on my fleet oil tanker, the USS Maris. AO 57. We were about 2 days after chopping the rock, leaving the Mediterranean Sea, in route to Norfolk.

I awoke to a very loud bang. I realized it was just a rubber nosed torpedo by one of our submarines messing with us. I went back to sleep. A little while later someone came down to my bunk and told me to come to the bridge. When I got to the bridge there was a submarine surfaced and steaming next to us. A signalman, under water demolition team sailor and later a seal, John ‘Skip’ Kennedy, from Miles City, was wanting to know if there was anyone from Montana on board.

We were surprised to learn that two Custer County High School drinking buddies were meeting in the dark of night in the middle of the North Atlantic. Through our signalman we communicated and arranged to get together the following week in Norfolk. Which we did. Two ships passing in the middle of the night in the North Atlantic, if you will.
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Posted by Shu (+1794) 6 years ago
I have another one. This was about 5 or 6 years ago: I was working in Edina at the time (just south of Minneapolis) and we had a fellow transfer to my store named Dick Hagen. After we'd been working together a couple weeks I was helping a customer ship a package to Billings and I mentioned that I was originally from Miles City.
When I finished with the customer, Dick approached me and said "I couldn't help but overhear. Did you say you're from Miles City?" I replied "yep, born and raised". Dick replied "so am I. I was born in that hospital they tore down not long ago. I wonder if you know my sister who still lives there - Diane Hathaway?"
My jaw fell open with shock! After I came-to, I told him that, yeah, I've known Diane pretty-much all my life and I graduated high school with her son, Scott - Dick's nephew, of course, and the brother of Steve, whom Bridgier bumped into in Boise.
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Posted by Shu (+1794) 6 years ago
Oh, and Richard Bonine Jr., about 12-or-so years ago when I was working in Eagan (where I am now, for the 2nd time) your sister, Mary, walked into the store to buy some paper. I don't think I'd seen her in over a decade before that and I haven't seen her since.
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Posted by Shu (+1794) 6 years ago
Oh, and Gunnar, I have also met Ben Orr. Yes, a good man. He played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes at my brother Ben's funeral...this would have been about 17 years ago.
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Posted by MEBO9 (+44) 6 years ago
Yes Shu, that was my small world story. I went in to my neighborhood Kinkos to get some paper and ran into Shu Pius from Miles City.
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Posted by Barb Holcomb (+406) 6 years ago
I had a new staff member come to work at Ft Bragg last year. We had a Hail and Farewell (welcome new people and say good-bye to those leaving). The new lieutenant colonel's family came with him. I overheard his wife, who looked sort of familiar, talking about her dad in MT. I asked her where she grew up. She said Miles City - after a few more questions, turns out it was Twila Thomas, who was two grades behind me at SHHS.

15 years or so ago my step-daughter married a guy who was originally from Seattle. At the wedding I discovered that his step-dad and I had been deployed together in the same unit during Desert Shield/Desert Storm and his mom's brother was CW Wilcox, who used to be a radio personality in MC.

I've been in the military long enough and travel enough that it's rare to go through any airport and not see someone that I know.

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Posted by M T Zook (+515) 6 years ago
Two stories, both Houston centered, where I live now.

The first, when my wife and I moved here in 2001, we rented an apartment in a massive complex. We had a dog, and our neighbors did too, and we bumped into them occasionally and finally struck up a conversation. The lady was an out-of-work electrical engineer. I mentioned she should look for a job with GE, as they hire a bunch. She said her fiancé worked for them and she had in the past. I said my brother works for them and she asked me who he was. I said, no way in heck would you know him, he is in Nebraska, but she pursued me for his name. When I told her, she asked me how his wife and kids were, using their first names! Her and her fiancé had been newhires with my brother and he had even stayed with the guy for a few days when he had to come to Houston for more training.

My brother always encouraged me to look them up, but I didn't want to because they were his friends not mine, but in the end, we were literally two doors apart. We are still friends today.

The second story is when we moved into our new home in suburbia Houston, I met the resident old guy on the street. He is a retired engineer, 80 years old. I asked him where he was from (there are virtually no natives around here). He said, "well, I was born in Miles City, MT." I really thought he was pulling my leg and had somehow found out where I was from. He explained his parents were driving across MT when he made an unexpected appearance. He was raised in Kalispell, served in the Air Force and finished his career in Houston. We are the only two guys on the whole street that mow our own lawn.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 6 years ago
Expanding this slightly outwards, I've got two other 'small world at work' stories - the mother of one of my co-workers here in Boise was my babysitter in Chester, and the elementary school PE teacher of another was my aunt, Sandra.
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Posted by MEBO9 (+44) 6 years ago
I was in Las Vegas for a work conference in 2005(?). After the session was over for the day, I took a tour of M&M world. While winding through the line, I saw a guy in a cowboy hat and thought "that looks like my brother". But I couldn't get a good look and didn't expect to see anyone I knew. I finally looked at the person next to him and realized it was definitely my sister-in-law. We met up for dinner that evening. Turns out neither of us new the other was going to be in Vegas.
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Posted by ike eichler (+1226) 6 years ago
If not familiar with the "6 degrees of separation" Look it up.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17331) 6 years ago
Here's another small world story, that I thought of when I saw that GVC/Wendy's 25th anniversary is coming up in another thread. My 25th wedding anniversary is also this year (25 years of bliss).

A couple of friends of ours ran into another couple of friends of ours at the Murray Hotel in Livingston several years ago. Their connection is through my wife Karen and I, they both had attended a couple of our parties.

So there they were, two couples, both checking into the Murray Hotel.

What brings you to hear?

It's our wedding anniversary?

Really? It's ours, too. What date?

April some date.

No way! What year?

Some year.

Yep. They both got married on the same day, the same year. And they decided to go to the same place for an out of town weekend getaway on their wedding anniversary....on the same day.

Now that is really weird. Karen and I share the same wedding day as a woman who works in our office, but we never had that happen.
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Posted by heimer (+96) 6 years ago
Under the rubric Small World Mystery: In the Summer of 1969 I had the opportunity to travel with a bunch of other teenagers on a Mediterranean trip.
A very cool aspect of this tour was that we were allowed plenty of free time to explore on our own.
We were in Rome for a couple of weeks. I was wandering around in one of those old urban neighborhoods of narrow cobblestone streets with crowded ocre-yellow buildings built right up to the sidewalks. I rounded a corner and right in front of me taking up a lot of room on the street, was a brand new 1969 deep green, Fast Back Mustang--
With a County 14 Montana License plate! Stumbling onto an American car was odd, but with a Custer Co. Plate was Twilight Zone odd.

I continued my wandering, but didn't stray far from that car, circling back to it for a couple of hours, hoping that the owner would show. It didn't happen and I still have no idea who was driving a Mustang from Custer County, Montana around Rome, Italy in the Summer of 1969.
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Posted by Dr Mac (+77) 6 years ago
Living near Houston, often run into either Miles Citians, or folks who also went to MSU. But the following was really surprising:
Mr. Albrecht, then principal at CCHS, chose me as one of two Montana HS seniors to attend a Kellogg Foundation conference in Washington DC. He was an officer in the National Assoc. of HS principals at the time -- probably in 1965 or 1966. On the last day of the conference during a panel discussion I sat next to a guy who looked so, so familiar to me. Turning to him I introduced myself and his jaw dropped. He and I were best friends in 3rd grade at St. Paul's School in Richmond, VA, many years before. In fact, we considered ourselves sort of boyfriend/girlfriend at the time.
Another story: My Dad worked for the VA Hospital in Miles City and after transferring several different places was attending a conference in Minneapolis. I recall he lived in Indiana at that time. In the bar of the hotel was a band with a former close friend of mine from CCHS. They had a long visit during one of the band's breaks.

Small world and truth is often stranger than fiction.
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Posted by Gwen Gunther (+101) 6 years ago
A couple years ago my mother-in-law & I crossed one off of our husbands' bucket lists and surprised them with a trip to watch their beloved Green Packers at Lambeau Field. The day before the game we were at the stadium & signed up for the stadium tour. You can imagine the crowd there the day before a game, it was craziness! As our group congregated for our tour the guide took a poll as to where everyone was from. When we hollered out "Montana" the gentleman in front of us turned around and asked us where in Montana. When we replied Broadus & Miles City he said, "Oh, do you know the Strohmayers? They are my cousins!" Eleven hundred miles from home, surrounded by tens of thousands of people.... yep, we know your cousins.
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Posted by Jody Collis (+216) 6 years ago
I don't recall running into any MC folks (with the exception of running into two class of 85 classmates at the Denver airport around 1991), but a truck with Miles City plates did park next to me at the 2013 Cat Griz game in the Twin Cities. I left a note to say hello and turns out it was a student who'd been in town for a short while and was wrapping up his studies and was returning to Miles City.

I lived in Wyoming for 5 years before moving to Minnesota and seem to run into Wyo folks a lot. About 3 years after I had moved here, I ran into a former Cheyenne coworker at the grocery store in Eden Prairie. Turns out she has just moved into a condo across the street from my apt building. It definitely is a small world.
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Posted by Jody Collis (+216) 6 years ago
When I was with my young daughter at DisneyWorld a few years ago for a day, I wished I could run into just one person I knew, so that I could go on a ride or two that she wasn't interested in. 15 minutes later, a mom and son who lived 4 blocks from us walked by. We had no no idea each other would be there.

Another time my spouse and I were on a cruise in the Caribbean and took a small ferry from St Thomas to St John. When we were disembarking, someone kept calling my name and eventually I saw friends from our volleyball team. They had gone on a different cruise at the same time but we all ended up on the same ferry at the exact same time.
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Posted by Barb Holcomb (+406) 6 years ago
This past Friday night I was at a reception in San Juan, Puerto Rico with about 100 other people. My feet hurt, so I sat down at the nearest table and started talking with the couple sitting there. They asked where I was from and I said I was originally from Montana. He asked what part and I said Miles City. He said - oh, that's Custer County. I said yes, how do you know? He said his ex-wife grew up in Miles City. He told me her name and while I didn't know her personally, I knew of her since we were the same age, but she went to Custer and I went to SHHS.

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Posted by Jade S (+153) 6 years ago
Last week I went to visit a lifelong friend in Sweet Home, Oregon. While there I decided to attend church, the nearest was just shy of twenty miles away in Brownsville. Upon inquiring about visitors I piped up and said, "I am a California transplant in Miles City, Montana. I live where the air hurts my face." Right away an old gal chimes in with, "I'm from Colstrip."

We went to Salem the next day and the shop owner was from Laurel.

It's a small world, after all.
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Posted by Forsyth Mike (+475) 6 years ago
My best 'small world' story.....

In 1982 a couple of friends and I took a vacation to Florida. One night we were in some random club in Orlando with some other people we knew. At one point I went up to the bar to get a round of drinks. The bartender asked for my ID. When I laid my Montana driver license on the bar, the stranger at the next bar-stool spotted it and said "Montana, huh? I have a sister from Montana." I said, "Really? What town?" He said "Helena." As it happened, I had an upstairs room-mate, a school teacher named Kate who had moved to Forsyth from Helena, so I said, "Is she a school teacher named Kate by any chance?" He said YES that was her! So I brought him over to our table, and we got hold of a phone and called up Kate (who was asleep, it turned out) and told her we'd run into her brother in a bar in Orlando.
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Posted by Oddjob (+194) 6 years ago
When I was in the Army, at one point, I was assigned to a Tech School in New Jersey. While we were going to school we lived in the standard Army 2- story platoon barracks that held about 50 or so bunks. The various schools ranged in length, so there was always a number of people rotating in and out of quarters.

I got back to my 2nd floor bunk one night and some guys I knew from the ground floor came running up and asked me, "Hey, you're from Montana, aren't you?" I told them yes and they went on to tell me there was a new guy from Montana who just moved in, and I really needed to go see what he was doing.

They said "This guy is shot-gunning 16oz Budweiser's in 2 seconds!!" I thought for a second, and said "Oh, he must be from Butte." They both stood there for a minute, looking at me and finally, one of them said, "How in the hell did you know that...??"

"Oh, just a lucky guess...."

Underground miners are a special breed...

[Edited by Oddjob (3/17/2015 9:20:57 AM)]
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Posted by Left_in_1954 (+11) 6 years ago
In 1995, my wife and I were visiting the construction site of a house we were building in the Scottish Highlands, near Dornie. We stayed at the local hotel across the loch from the construction, which was on the ancestral croft of my wife's family. In evening we went down to the bar where we soon got into discussions with the locals, who wanted to know everything about us. They Already knew that we were building the new house. In a small community, nothing is ever really secret. They were intrigued to discover we were not completely foreign to the area. My wife had spent her childhood summers in the area, staying on the family croft. She and others in the bar of the older persuasion had many common acquaintances from the 50s and 60s. Eventually the crowd turned to me and wanted my story. They had recognized my American accent but knew nothing else about me. One old-timer happily announced that he had been to America and spent several years there in the 1930s. I asked him where and he said Montana. I asked him where in Montana and he said Miles City. He knew the family name of both my mother and father, although he did not recall if he actually knew anyone in either family. He was long gone from Miles City by the time I was born.
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Posted by Barb Holcomb (+406) 6 years ago
Yesterday I was a guest speaker at a lunch event in Houston, TX. An older gentleman was talking with me before the event started and learned that I grew up in MT. He said he recently bought his car in Miles City, MT. He said the Ford dealer owner was a friend of a friend and they used to go to Indy every year for the race. I asked him if he was talking about Al Makelky. He said he thought that was the name. After lunch he came back up and confirmed that, yes - it was "Mac" Makelky. I told him I'm still friends with Mac's youngest daughter. He bought the car because there is no sales tax in MT.

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Posted by rhshilling (+89) 6 years ago
I love reading these small world stories. Even thoug I am not from Miles City (we are moving there at the aend of this month), I will chime in with my background and a few of my stories.

I was born and raised in Brookville, Pennsylvania. I attended Clarion University, which is a small state university in western PA. I have hunted and fished all over the central part of Pennsylvania until I left the state.

In 2011 my fiancee (now wife) and I were living in Knoxville, TN while she attended graduate school. Academy Sports + Outdoors was opening a new store in Knoxville and I got hired on to help merchandise and open the store. So the first paid day of work was for an orientation seminar. The speaker gets up and does his schpiel and I listen to him talking and notice that for someone from Dallas, TX; he has no accent. So when he is done with his presentation and shutting down his laptop, I notice he has the Steelers emblem as his screen saver. So I confront him about it. He said he was from a small town in western Pennsylvania originally. I asked where? He said, "a small town west of State College. You've probably never heard of it." I said, "Try me!" Clarion was his reply. I told him I went to Clarion University. During the presentation he had mentioned he was a welder before he moved into his current work. I knew there were no welding shops in Clarion, so I asked where he had worked. "Brookville Tanks" was his reply. I told him I was from Brookville and my brother Bill had worked at Brookville Tanks right after high school in 1993. He not only remembered the name, my brother was the last trainee that he had trained before moving to Texas!
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Posted by rhshilling (+89) 6 years ago
In 2013, my fiancee was wroking in Canon City, CO. I went out to visit her for a week. We were out looking through the shops one day and one of the female employees asked if we were new to the area. I said that the fiancee had been there for a few months, but I was just visiting from Pennsylvania. She asked the town and I told her. She said, "I have cousins in Brookville." She asked my name and I told her. She asked if i was related to Betty Shilling. Yup! She was my Grandma. Turns out that this woman (Christine) and my dad are second cousins.

In 2014 we moved to Caliente, NV. I got hired as a driver for the local Meals on Wheels program. When I started delivering meals, there was this guy on my route that I kept looking at and thinking that I had seen somewhere before. So one day I start chatting with him. Turns out he was originally from a town about an hour north of Brookville, PA. He had moved out here to Nevada and worked and retired from the Alamo Test Site. We started talking about things back in PA and hunting and fishing. It then struck me where I knew him from. When I was a child my father and I used fish the exact same place he did on the first day of Trout Season. I took an old picture of my Dad and I with me one day and he said "Sonofabitch! I know these people. They used to fish where I did." I told him that those people were me and my Dad.

Part of my job is stopping at the local pharmacy and picking up peoples meds and delivering to them. One of the guys that works there asked where I was from. I told him PA. He was from Ohio, but his mother-in-law works at a small college in PA. I asked where. Clarion was the reply, then he told me she teaches folklore classes. I said "Is your MIL Elizabeth McDaniel?" He said "You know her?" Yup, I know her. I took two of her classes! He mentioned this to her at Christmas time when he was back home. She remembers me even after 18 years.

Now I can not wait to get to Miles City and "find" the people who are from my little area of Pennsylvania.
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Posted by CHRISAPETERSON (+6) 6 years ago
quote from david schott

"Gunnar, reading your story made me think of Bert Elwood. I've probably told this story on these forums before... in the mid-1980's Bert saw a late night TV ad for (I thought it was the "Fish Popper" but Bert claims it was...) the "Speed Ball Screwdriver".

Bert called the 800 number to order one and when the operator took his name the operator responded with something like, "No poop?!" Turned out the operator was Chris Peterson from Miles City who happened to be working for (I believe it was) National Data in Atlanta."


david, you hit that one right on the money!! there were probably 3-4 hundred of us taking orders on an 800 line. berts voice is very unique. one of a kind....kind of like that call...ordering the power driver for his dad for christmas ....lololol ...awsome!! seems to me he did ask about the popper but did order the power driver aka speed ball
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