“That’s Richmond For Ya”

First of all. This is Clara’s favorite video of the week (we find a dance song like Carmen Sandiego or this hand dance and boogie down). And yes, it does look like Burger’s brother from another mother doing some fancy footwork. So much so that the bean points to the screen and says “Burger!” the entire time while permasmiling. Adorbs (what, a guy can’t say adorbs?).

Ok, moving on. Upon moving to Richmond 5 years ago, we quickly learned that “Oh, that’s Richmond for ya” is the appropriate reaction when one of those small world coincidences takes place. It’s meant to reference that despite being a fairly legit city, Richmond has a small town vibe where everyone seems to know everyone else through no more than a degree or two of Kevin Bacon friends and acquaintances. So when, for example, you find out that the girl at your favorite lighting outlet rents an apartment in the backyard of a house that you’ve crashed (and where your sister got married) you say “That’s Richmond for ya.” True story, by the way.

Well, we’ve got a new story that confirms that this phrase has some real truth to it. Here it goes.

Last week we got new neighbors. Like, right next door (the other side of the patio fence). Not knowing who they were, what kind of neighbor’s they’d be or what kind of house/yard they’d keep made us a bit nervous. They closed right before Memorial Day but were having some things done to the house before moving in last week, so we didn’t get to meet them right off the bat. Suspenseful.

So recently my cousin was in town and we had her over to BBQ on the patio. At some point my dad wandered off with her 5 month old son (not in a creepy way, but in a “let’s go look around” way).  Upon his return, my dad said “Oh yeah, I met your neighbors.”

Sherry: “No way, who are they? What’s their story?” (Yes, our curiosity had turned us into gossips)

My Dad:Well, they’re Brad and Angelina…” (Names have been changed to not put the new neighbors on blast – plus it’s more entertaining this way)

Me: “Wait, they sound familiar.” (Note: had their names really been Brad and Angie, I’m sure I would’ve placed them more easily)

My Dad: “…and they have a young daughter named Viv.” (cough… NotHerRealName… cough)

[LONG PAUSE, then picture light bulbs going off above both of our heads]

Me & Sherry: “No way! We know them!!!! They almost bought our house!”

Remember last year when we were selling our old house? And how we did For Sale By Owner? Well that meant we met all of the prospective buyers face-to-face and Brad and Angelina were not only the first people to tour our house but they also seemed to be the folks (out of a total of 16 showings) who appreciated the house the most (which of course made our hearts swell with pride). We could totally picture them lovingly moving into our first baby. Weird sentence,  but you know what I mean.

Obviously they didn’t buy our house (they just weren’t quite ready to pull the trigger and sell the house they had yet). But as much as the 2010 John & Sherry wanted this nice couple to buy our house, the 2011 John & Sherry are much happier to have them as next door neighbors. Especially since their daughter is only 11 months older than Clara (hello playdates) and, like Clara, already seems to have a thing for Burger. Not that we’re getting ahead of ourselves or anything, but they’re basically destined to be BFFs. (Sidenote: their daughter already has a nickname for Clara, which is “dolly” which is just about enough to make a grown man melt).

Oh, and the other night I spotted Brad wearing a Mountain Dew t-shirt. And you know how well I get along with guys in soda shirts (that’s Jeremy Bower, btw)…

When we re-met them (as neighbors, not prospective buyers) we all laughed at what a small city world it is. They added that our old house even turned up as a comp on their appraisal when they finally got around to selling their house six months later, so they were just thinking about it recently. And, to complete the hat trick of weird coincidences, we learned their movers were the same folks that moved out the previous owners of our house (they showed up and started laughing as soon as their realized they had “done” the house next door less than six months prior). I guess that’s Richmond for ya…

Okay, now your turn. What’s your best or latest small world story? Do they happen as often in your town as they do in ours? Also, does the video at the beginning of this post make you want to dance? Me too.

Psst- One of our favorite ever it’s-a-small-world stories is when the original owners of our first house contacted us. Check out that story here.


  1. says

    We live right near the Decorating Outlet. :)

    I’ve got a few… one was when I was in a public bathroom at the Versailles Palace in France and a friend of a friend from college (who lived in my dorm) was washing her hands just two sinks down. We both did a double-take and then, “Hey!” :)

    The other is after my hubby and I started dating. I went home to CT for the summer and he went to CA. He called me and said, “Guess who I just had lunch with?” His dad’s fraternity brother was marrying the mom of my best friend from 9th grade. What the heck.

    In Boston where we lived for 10 years, we met a family who said they knew people with the same last name growing up. Turns out that the same-last-name family was my husband’s uncle and aunt. The wife played at their house with their kids when she was little. Again, my husband is from CA, so it was crazy to meet someone on the other side of the country with that connection!

    There are more, but that’s just a few of them for you!

    • Ashley says

      I wish! I’ve lived in Richmond for almost a year and haven’t run into you fine, fabulous folks! haha.

      But I’m moving to Austin, TX in about 2 months, and another blogger I follow is in the process of moving to Austin (small world!). New person to stalk perhaps?…haha, jk. Maybe.

    • says

      Aw, wish it were true. Just moved out of Richmond after a few years of living there and was just telling the hubs “I can’t believe I never met John & Sherry what with our shared love of Goodwill, Home Goods, thrift stores, etc.!” Alas, maybe another time. :)

  2. Meredith says

    All. The. Time. I live in Des Moines and everybody seems to know everybody. I moved here from a small town in WI. I knew 1 person in the state who had gone to college here. Sure enough, one of my good friends here went to college with him and we met up again…things come full circle. :)

    • Kylee says

      I’m also in Des Moines, but from out of state, and I’ve ran into an old friend from elementary school and two from high school. It’s very strange running into people you know when you’re new to a city/state!

    • says

      Oooh, I’ve got a small world story that takes places in Des Moines! Sherry and I were waiting at the gate to catch a flight back home after visiting her friend there (this was like 4 years ago) and I bumped into a friend from college in the airport. We were both like “Um, what you doing in Iowa?”


  3. Tracy says

    I have a good small-world story! A couple years ago I was at a craft show and met a woman who was a hairstylist and was giving out discounts to her salon. I ended up going to the salon a couple days later. During the appointment, we talked, and she was really nice! Anyway, after the appointment she wanted to get my full name to update her contact list (she had only gotten my first name earlier). When I told her my last name, she asked if I had any family members that adopted a pug a few years earlier. That had been my mom and dad! She started crying about how much she loved the dog. I told her the pug was our best pet ever. Unfortunately the pug had passed away by that time, so the woman couldn’t meet the pug, but she was happy to know the pug had a good life with us. Small world, huh?!

  4. Lindsey d. says

    Best small world story I have going off to boarding school two hours from home in 11th grade, hanging in a new friend’s dorm room and finding a note my brother had written to a previous occupant on the back of the door. I had no idea my brother had ever been to my school, but apparently he had driven up from college two years previously to see a friend, the previous dorm occupant.

  5. marianne says

    LOVE that video. I am laughing out loud at work! Can’t wait to show hubby and the kids when I get home. Need to teach my chi to do that.

  6. Stefanie says

    In college in San Diego, studying in the huge library, I found an empty seat and sat down next to a random girl. She asked about my (HS) sweatshirt, and as it turned out, she went to the same nor cal highschool and actually recognized me from my improv team performances.

    More recently, I sat a poker table in Vegas with a guy who knew my step-dad through his work with wind-energy – he even had my step-dad’s number programmed in his phone!

  7. says

    that is REALLY cool and creepy but in a cool way. lol and yay for having neighbors with children and similar home-appreciation values. Definitely will make growing old there even nicer!!!

  8. says

    That’s so funny!

    My funny story is that my mom is from Staten Island and her best friend still lives there so we basically grew up there (although we lived in NJ). Turns out, my mom’s best friend’s son went to high school with my fiancee. My future father-in-law even drove him to a track meet once! Small world, huh?

    And another adorable video (this one is of a baby gorilla break dancing): http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/06/baby_gorilla_break_dancing.html

  9. Amy says

    My grandpa was in the Army in WWII. When he stepped off the troop ship in England, the first person he saw was an ex-boyfriend of his older sister.

    My family has a weird interconnection with a friend of my husband’s, Scot. I have a cousin, T, whose best friend is Scot’s niece. I have another cousin, R, whose best friend is Scot’s nephew. Scot’s sister (mother of the aforementioned nephew) used to be R’s babysitter and is a friend of his grandmother (my aunt). Phew. The weirdest part is I just learned this last year via Facebook (seeing who mutual friends were), but I’ve known Scot for about 14 years!

  10. Samantha says

    My small world Richmond story is that I literally see you guys EVERYWHERE. EVERY. WHERE. Okay really only Martin’s and Target and sometimes Ikea, but it’s almost to the point that it’s creepy. Like everytime I go to Target, there you are. And I just don’t say hi (I did once) because I don’t want you to think I’m stalking you. Because I’m totally not! I just live near that shopping center too and have a healthy appreciation for Target. :)

    • says

      Haha- you should totally say hi! So sorry for being everywhere. We get around, huh?! Hope I’m not picking a wedgie or my nose the next time you see us. Hah.


    • Elizabeth says

      Speaking of that, WHY must camera operators at sporting events always manage to find men picking their noses in the crowd? Ewwwwwwwww! LOL

      (They also find women with large chests, but that’s an entirely different topic! LOL)

    • Kristin H. says

      J&S, Do you guys ever feel weird about the possibility that someone will know you wherever you go?! I’d feel so freaked out and self-conscious!

    • says

      Once I got over the idea that people could see me looking totally gross (paint in my hair, no shower, sick as a dog, etc) it’s actually been really amazing to bump into people around town. It’s so nice to meet readers in the flesh and connect with them on a not-computer level. Haha.


  11. Katie says

    When I was studying abroad in Argentina, I met some old ladies from Alabama or Mississippi when I was out to lunch one day. I ended up translating for them, and when they asked how I ended up in Argentina, I explained. Turns out the husband of one of the ladies went to my teeny-tiny college in Ohio about 50 years prior!

  12. Judy says

    Here’s my small world story. I grew up in Houston and spent my junior year of college in Bolivia. Fast forward a few years, and I’m living and working in Dallas. I’m at the airport for an early morning work flight, when I see a couple of people I met in Bolivia, who are actually from Canada, and on a layover to the Carribean. It was super random.

  13. says

    Best small world story I have was when I was visiting my uncle in LA and the director of his show (8 simple rules)daughter went to sleep away camp with me the summer before, I totally knew her, she slept above me in our cabin!