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  • Writer's pictureJudith Marks-White

Who Would Have Thought?

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

Call it divine intervention on which many of life’s pivotal moments are based. On a frigid December morning in 1978, I stopped off at Oscar’s deli in Westport, Connecticut where, in 1972, my daughter Elizabeth and I had moved from Manhattan. After several years of exploring the ‘meat market’ smorgasbord of possibilities, and given up any notion of ever meeting Mr. Right, I literally tripped over him standing in line ordering a sesame bagel with a slathering of cream cheese.

Excusing myself for being so clumsy, I serendipitously found a seat on the banquette next to him, and squeezing in, my huge down parka squished between us, I pulled out my prop: the latest novel I was reading. I began flipping pages, pretending to be engrossed, but completely aware of his presence. A few minutes later, turning to me, he uttered the words that were to ultimately be repeated for years to come when people asked how we met.

“I don’t know if it matters,” he said, “but that book you’re reading is upside down.”

I was hooked.

It was a year after that chance encounter that Mort and I were married. Elizabeth’s status as only child evolved into step-sister to Mort’s three college-age children, who welcomed this fourteen-year old into the fold with open arms, and just the right amount of sibling rivalry to keep it interesting. Liz played out her ‘new kid on the block’ role with teenage delight while they enjoyed having a new partner in crime to corrupt. And a new family was born.


Judith is an award-winning newspaper columnist and author of two Random House/Ballantine novels. Her work appears in magazines, anthologies, and newspapers throughout the country. She has been a college English/Writing professor for many years, conducts writing workshops, lectures widely, and is presently working on another book.


Judith's story brings back fond memories of dining at Oscar's, the restaurant my husband and I ate lunch at during our very first visit to Westport. I have always eagerly looked forward to Judith's lively and entertaining column on Fridays in our local paper, the Westport News.

And now I have a question for you...

Do you believe in fate?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Call it coincidence, destiny, fate, kismet--in one moment, lives can collide and change forever. A chance meeting might seem like a fluke, but scientific research backs up the notion that you can influence your own destiny. Step one: Smile.

Some of my favorite movies based on chance encounters:

  • When Harry Met Sally

  • A Star is Born

  • Notting Hill

  • It Happened One Night

What are some of your favorites?

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