Thursday, August 27, 2009

Small World

An amazing story:

While taking a leisurely walk on the beach in Martha’s Vineyard a few weeks ago, I was introduced by my son Gabe to his mother-in-law's longtime friend Pam, who in recent years has become Gabe's friend as well.

The woman seemed nice enough but, frankly, I was so focused on enjoying my walk with my son that I didn’t pay much attention to her.

On the way back to the car, Gabe happened to mention that the woman was a midwife.

“What did you say her name was again?” I asked.

“Pam Putney.”

The name sounded familiar. As I recited it to myself a couple of times, a synapse in my brain lighted up, connecting two images—-one from the beach that morning and one from thirty-three years ago when I was pregnant with Gabe.

I gave birth to Gabe at home in '76, and as I sat there in his Volvo on the Vineyard that day, I remembered that my midwife's last name was Putney. She was a remarkable person, but not long after Gabe was born, I lost contact with her.

Could this be the same woman? I wondered.

Gabe, who just a few weeks earlier had had his first baby, was as intrigued as I was by the possibility. As soon as we returned home, we told his mother-in-law the story. Her curiosity sparked, she immediately picked up the phone and called Pam.

Pam confirmed that, yes, she was in Boston at the same time I was in ’76 and, yes, she worked with my obstetrician.

This woman was my midwife!

In other words, for these past two years, unbeknown to anyone, Gabe has been walking on the beach with the same woman who delivered him.

Note: Stay tuned for the story of how Pam discovered her vocation and what she’s been doing with her life these past 33 years. BTW, the above photo was taken less than an hour after she ushered Gabe into the world. (For some reason--hormones perhaps?--my hair turned dark brown when I was pregnant.)


  1. This just gave me the ultimate goose bumps!! how awesome!!!


  2. PS: I looked at your photo with Gabe and your photo now... and wow, you have not aged a bit!!

  3. I know. Gave me goosebumps, too.

  4. What an amazing story...I am in awe of the invisible threads that connect us on this journey!!! Wow

  5. Anonymous4:07 PM

    An AMAZING story!

    And when I looked at the photo at the top, I thought perhaps it was your daughter-in-law, the new mother, and thought it was remarkable how much she looked like you! Hmmm... but I see that in fact it's the baby that looks like your son Gabe... only a little younger.

    How very cool. There's a story in this!

  6. Amazing! Shows us once again how we are so closely connected in this universe.