Serendipity: Finding your spouse in the strangers in family album


Serendipity, they’re calling it. The rather extraordinary account of how your spouse might have been one of the strangers who was accidentally captured in a family holiday photo. The Huffington Post story describes how young  Alex and Donna visited Disney World with their families, decades before they met and married. When Donna’s family posed for a photograph, a man with a tuft of white hair accidentally pushed a stroller into the shot. The little boy was Alex.

It’s a strange and wonderful illustration of the intersections in our lives.  Especially, because Donna and Alex ended up together despite living in different countries when the photo was taken in 1980.

Sri Lanka, Ceylon, Serendip

Ptolemy’s map of Ceylon, 1st century AD

Serendipity, indeed. A happy accident;  the delighted discovery of the unexpected. Serendipity has to be one of the most wonderful words in the English language and it’s coinage is serendipitous itself. It was coined by Horace Walpole from a Persian fairy tale, ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’. The fairy tale itself drew on ancient references to Ceylon (the island of Serendip), which itself comes from the Sanskrit word for golden island.

I suppose finding your partner unexpectedly in a long-ago family photo counts as just as magical as finding a golden island.