The Art of Coincidence

First, I would like to compliment you on the lovely web-site in honour of Ms. Goudge, who has become a dear “companion” of mine in recent years. Thanks to the info you posted, I just purchased her “Joy Of The Snow” & am enjoying it immensely.

I would like to relate the following account of my experience with Ms. Goudge & her work.

In 1974, I was living in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, near the Mexican border. I purchased a book one day by Ms. Goudge that was in a used book store in McAllen, TX.

In the book, was a name label & a birthday card to a friend & it was signed, “Jessie.” The name label indicated that the former owner of the book & the recipient of the book was a Mrs. F. E. Rogers, Culver House, Middlewich, Eng. I have been unable to find Mrs. Rogers’ given name but I believe she died in Crewe, about 20 years ago.

I wondered, at the time of my purchase, how in the world the little book, “The Scent of Water”, had made the journey from Chestershire, UK to So Texas, but I never made an attempt to trace its journey. It is a tourist area but that is certainly a long distance to go for a holiday.

In 2000, I was researching our family genealogy & was trying to find information on my grandmother’s cousin’s husband. I had some wonderful old photos of him & wanted to share it with any descendants of his that might still be living. A gentleman from England answered my inquiry & said that he had a relative by that name, that had lived in Texas at that same time & we thought for a while that our relatives were the same person.  As it turned out, we were mistaken, but this gent’s address was just across the lane from the address in my little Goudge book, purchased 26 years earlier.

We have marvelled at this coincidence many times. Recently I happened upon your web-site & noticed that Ms. Goudge’s companion was also named Jessie.  Now I am wondering

If my little (undated) card, that had been tucked away inside my book, could possibly have been from Jessie Monroe/Munroe.

Could you please tell me if Jessie is still living? Would you happen to recognize her hand-writing or have any info that might help me to determine if our ladies are the same? This signature appears to have been spelled “Jessi” but I’m not certain of that. I can scan & send a copy of the card if it would be helpful.

Diane

Dear Diane
Thank you so much for sharing your Goudge story with me. It is just the sort of wonderful coincidence that Elizabeth loved to weave into her stories.

Elizabeth’s companion spelt her name Jessie with an “e” and as far as I know had no links with Middlewich. The only Mrs Rogers I know of in connection with Elizabeth is her char woman from Oxford who lived “just off St Aldgates with her sister and fifteen cats! ” I don’t think the dates would match up and Elizabeth was quite young when she lived with her parents in Oxford and lived there long before she knew Jessie.

Jessie came from a wealthy Scottish family and after Elizabeth died moved back to Pembrokeshire Wales where she had family. Sadly she died about 8/9 years ago in a nursing home.

However if you could send me a scan of her card, I do know someone who would know if it’s her writing or not. So maybe we could find out a little more for you about your interesting find.
Thank you for visiting the web site

Thank you for your answer to my email & I will send a scan of the little birthday card to Mrs. Rogers today. My list of “coincidences” with regard to Ms.Goudge just seems to continue to grow to the point where it’s beginning to feel more like she’s perched on my shoulder. In your web-site information, you mention a “Harwood” family & that is the name that I was researching, in Texas, when I found (or he found me) the gentleman who lives across the street from Mrs. Rogers’ former home in Middlewich.

Also, I recently decided to collect all of the Goudge books & was surprised to see that she wrote a tribute to St. Francis. I have the good saint’s image, in one form or another, all over my home & garden & couldn’t be without him. Needless to say, I have now ordered & received, “My God and My All” from Amazon. I wasn’t aware that there was a book on him by Elizabeth Goudge. When I received the book from a seller in Pennsylvania, there was a signature of the former owner on the fly page.   That lady was very well-known & years ago, she was the founder & director of a large Children’s hospital. Whether or not our Jessies are the same lady, I have consistently been amazed at the number of surprises that keep springing from this little book of mine

Dear Diane,

Here is another coincidence for you. Harwood was the name of the house where Elizabeth spent time convalescing in Hampshire after her nervous breakdown and the death of her father. It was by the sea marshes and faced out to the estuary of the River Beaulieu She re named the house Dameroshay.

Having seen the scan, it just might be Jessie; Elizabeth’s writing was loopy and extremely untidy, as you can see if you click on letters she wrote which are posted on the site.

Dear Deborah

I have had another coincidence “from Elizabeth” since we last corresponded. The book that I purchased in 1974 was from the Salvation Army in McAllen, TX. That book is the one with the name label & card from Jessi to the lady in Middlewich. Recently, I purchased on Amazon, the book “Green Dolphin Street” The previous owner of that one was a Rosemary Cutshaw from Indianapolis, Indiana. She was a member of the Salvation Army there, per info that I found on the internet. These coincidences just keep coming & I find myself looking forward to the next one which seems to happen every time I order another book!

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