bit of home

February 7, 2008

I agreed to rent the apartment where I’m living pretty much sight unseen. There were a couple of things that I felt strongly about – furnished, washer/dryer, off-street parking, within the city of Portland, and ideally within walking distance of where I’m studying every day.

This apartment was advertised on Craig’s List and it fit all of my criteria. The current tenant was sub-leasing because she wanted to go the West Coast for several months. We corresponded, she mailed me a few pictures, I sent cheery emails assuring her that I was a very responsible person who wouldn’t burn down her home or kill her houseplants, and she agreed to rent to me. A few friends said, are you nervous? you’ve never seen this place. But I said, I’m sure it’s fine. I have good feelings about this.

When I finally arrived in Portland I came to see the apartment and immediately I knew it would be fine. Then I got in the door and was given a tour, and there was one remarkable moment when I knew it would be really fine. Look at this picture. This is a picture of my kitchen in Chicago:


Do you see the refrigerator, in the upper right hand corner, there are two black dots? Those are little black cat magnets. (Look closer, they are hard to see, but after combing through my digital photos this is as good a picture of them as we’re gonna get considering they are currently 1200 miles away.) When my grandmother in England passed away there were just a few of her things that I brought back to America with me – and two of them were those little black cat magnets.

Well, guess what? This apartment here has the exact same magnets. Here, I took their picture – time for a close-up.


It may not be a really huge cosmic coincidence – it may be that my grandmother came to visit us in America and bought her cat magnets at Hallmark and took them home with her. It may be that people all over America have these magnets. The big thing may be that they ever wound up stuck on my grandmother’s fridge in Herefordshire, England. It’s just that I’ve never seen them anywhere else before… and yet here they are.

I should also mention that the alarm clock here is the exact same alarm clock that I used to have in Chicago until the day the laser on the CD player part bit the dust and I gave it to the Howard Brown charity shop. But that story isn’t nearly so heart-warming, and I’m pretty sure that people all over America really do have that alarm clock.



  1. That’s a lovely story. I’m so glad you feel at home there.

  2. that’s so sweet!

  3. Unbelievable coincidence. Whole project sounds right up your alley. God bless.

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