Most people who talk about community building want to romanticize it, or worse, they want to make it into a series of actionable “steps” without heart. Laís de Oliveira explains the required actions in amazing detail, but she does it with a sensitivity and a wisdom that can only come from experience. Here’s a perfect example: “Let me break this down: there is no such thing as building a community. People already belong together. What a community builder does is connect them through stories, places, events, or anything else that brings people together. The secret is to bring them together recurrently.” And that is in chapter one! Every page gets better and better. If you care about people, read this book.
– Roy H. Williams
In June 2001, Laura Buxton (almost 10) released a red balloon into the air over her hometown of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England. On one side of the balloon, she had written “Please return to Laura Buxton,” and on the other side, her home address. A few weeks later, a man 140 miles away in Milton Lilbourne found the balloon stuck in the hedge that separated his farm from the next-door neighbors. He noticed Laura Buxton’s name and address and immediately took the balloon to the neighbors’ house, showing it to the 10-year-old girl who lived there…whose name was also Laura Buxton.
Laura Buxton from Milton Lilbourne wrote Laura Buxton from Stoke-on-Trent to let her know that she had found the balloon. Thinking this coincidence was simply too amazing to be true, they decided they had to meet in person. And that’s when things got really weird.
On the day of the meeting, the two girls wore the same outfit ““ a pink sweater and jeans. The girls were the same height, which was unusual because they were both tall for their age. They both had brown hair and wore it in the same style. They both had three-year old black Labrador Retrievers at home, as well as gray pet rabbits. They both brought their guinea pigs, which were the same color and even had the same orange markings on their hindquarters. It was almost as though these two Laura Buxtons were the same person.
The strange events surrounding their meeting have helped the girls form a strong bond, and they remain friends.
The above was story #5 from Cast Away: 5 Amazing Stories of Messages in Bottles, written by Rob Lammle, Oct 7, 2009