Life is full of surprises... some of them not so welcome, while others are an absolute blessing.
Those who follow my work and keep in regular contact will know that I am busy compiling a memoir with recipes based on my father's life story, the circumstances under which he came to meet my mother, and how their lives played out.
The wide reach of the interweb never ceases to amaze me and, as I go through the process of researching my family history creating the memoir, I am making discoveries, and opening doors - not only for myself, but for others too.
Yesterday I Googled the name of a Magyar photographer who, in the 1950s or 60s, captured a photo of the Sátor mountains - which form the beautiful backdrop to the town that my family had lived in. My grandmother sent a heartfelt postcard featuring that image to my mother in Australia after my parents fled the country following the uprising in 1956.
I was hoping to gain permission to use the said photograph in my book. In my search I came across a photographer with the same Hungarian name. He lives in Perth, Australia, so I sent him a message asking if he was related in any way.
I learned that he is indeed the grandson of the late photographer - who was tragically killed in a plane crash over the Ukraine. Like his grandfather, both he and his father are (talented) photographers.
Not only are they happy for me to use the image from the postcard (thank you so much!), but they are now looking for all of the grandfather's work, accumulated over the decades when he was involved with a fine arts foundation publishing company known as the Képzőművészeti Alap. It was shut down when Hungary went through a series of changes after the Communist occupation.
Apparently my asking if they had any other photographs of Sátoraljaújhely 'started something' - awakening in my contact's father the desire to find out what happened to his own father's work. In one sense, a domino effect.
It might seem insignificant to others, but to say that I feel blessed to have made the acquaintance of these fellow Hungarian-Australians in this way is an understatement. It has certainly been a sweet surprise, and I sincerely hope that it leads them onto a serendipitous journey of discovery.
This all adds weight to an idea outlined in 1929 by renowned Hungarian writer, Frigyes Karinthy, who is said to be the originator of the Six Degrees of Separation notion. In an essay titled Chain Links, he suggested that "the population of the Earth is closer together now than ever before", and "using no more than five individuals, one of whom is a personal acquaintance, one could contact the selected individual using nothing except the network of personal acquaintances". He was so right.
Thanks to modern networks and social media the world is now a small (and rather wonderful) place.
Tell me, do you believe in serendipity, and the concept of six degrees of separation?
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.