Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It is a small world!

Many years ago, I had a roommate when I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley. She was born in Switzerland to Chinese parents. Her father was with the UN and held a position as a professor of agriculture at the University of Liberia in Monrovia, Liberia. We lost touch with one another after I moved to Los Angeles and was a student at UCLA.

I shared a studio apartment in a cottage of two units. The cottage was one of three cottages on a narrow pathway in the middle of Fraternity Row at UCLA. My roommate was a young woman from Memphis, Tennessee. She was an only child. I was the eldest in a large family.

UCLA is situated in the middle of a very wealthy area of Los Angeles. Westwood Village had a number of exclusive shops that were frequented at that time by Hollywood celebrities. My roommate's parents provided her with an allowance that allowed her to shop in these shops. She purchased a dress with a very distinct and vibrant pattern.

One day, as I was sweeping the steps to our studio, a black man passed by on his way to the cottage that housed the men that we called the Black Power People. He had a shirt with the exact pattern in my roommate's dress. I stopped him and told him that my roommate had a dress made of the same fabric. He told me that his mother made him the shirt from fabric that she made.

When he spoke to me, I could tell that he was not a native American. His English sounded more like he had learned English in another English speaking country. He was a graduate student at UCLA who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Liberia. On a hunch, I told him that a former roommate's father was a professor of agriculture at the University of Liberia. It was much further into our conversation that it was apparent that Dr. Ma was this man's thesis adviser when he was working on his masters degree.

That was many years ago. Recently, I had an online experience that was similar. At the beginning of this year, I happened to see a death notice of a Pam O'Hare. Something about the notice caused me to look at my family tree of my relatives... distance and close.

Her husband was Dennis O'Hare who is a high school classmate. We were in high school in Orange County, California. Dennis moved to the Bay Area at sometime after he graduated from high school. Apparently, it was there that he met my 7th cousin.

Dennis' wife was Pamela Lynn Little. Pamela was the daughter of Charles Little and Julia Hurtado. It was through her mother that we are connected. Julia Hurtado was the daughter of Leon Hurtado, Jr. and the granddaughter of Leon Hurtado. Leon Hurtado was born in Poughkeepsie, New York. Leon was the son of Pedro Hurtado and Julia A. Stoutenburg.

Pedro Hurtado died in Cuba. He had moved his family to Cuba. Some ended up back in the Poughkeepsie area but Leon Hurtado settled in America Samoa for a time. He returned to the US mainland. His daughter, Julia, settled in California.

I wonder if Pamela Little realized that she was descended from William Stoutenburgh, whose home is the oldest home in Hyde Park. New York.

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