published Friday, November 11th, 2011

Leber: The No. 11: fate vs. coincidence

Laurie Dorn is hoping to get lucky today, on her birthday.

It's Nov. 11, 2011 -- 11/11/11 -- and Dorn, along with her family, is on a gambling trip to Biloxi, Miss., where her daughter, Katherine Whitfield, said she will put her money on the number 11. It's a family trip they have been planning for a long time.

Dorn was born on Nov. 11, became engaged and got married on the 11th of October and February, respectively, and saw both her children born on the 11th.

Still, she says, she's not a big believer in fate.

"I'm not a horoscope or a big fate person or anything like that," she said. "I'm not really very superstitious or anything. I just think it's a fun coincidence. It's one of those little fun things that happens in life."

I'm with Laurie. Random things happen sometimes, and you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what they mean. My grandmother and great-aunt both died on Nov. 21, five years apart. My paternal grandfather proposed on Dec. 31, 1940. My father proposed to my mother on Dec. 31, 1975 (also her 25th birthday). Dad never knew about Grandfather's proposal date until I told him, as a teenager, after reading a memory book my grandmother left me.

Of course, Mom's birthday is Dec. 31, so that just meant he didn't have to worry about picking out two presents she'd like.

But while coincidences can be tough to decipher, and it's not always best to read too much into them, it's also nice to acknowledge those funny chance moments that come up in every life. Even though I will never spend time trying to figure out the deep, spiritual meaning behind my father proposing on the same day as his father, I think it's lovely happenstance, and it makes me smile.

According to numerology, or at least a website about it, those whose birth dates give them the Master Number 11 are givers, and are "romantic in the idealistic sense of the word," according to www.cafe astrology.com.

Read into that what you will. I tend to look at numerology the same way I look at astrology -- if you want to, you can always find a way it relates to you.

But while, like Laurie, I don't tend to read too much into coincidence beyond, well, coincidence, I do appreciate the choice to acknowledge significant dates and moments, places and times.

Katherine told me that 11 is a lucky number for her whole family; the one she and her brother Andrew would always choose when picking jersey numbers for team sports.

Likewise, my editor, Mark, shared that he and his wife treat Nov. 11 as a secondary anniversary. They had their first date on Nov. 11, and he proposed on the same date a year later. Since then, he said, they have celebrated that memorable day every year.

I think it's nice, that remembrance and taking time to commemorate a special day.

And what's especially nice, I think, is the acknowledgment of an anniversary as something that comes along once a year. Anno -- Latin for year. Please don't even get me started on how much it grates on me when people refer to their "six month anniversaries."

No. Just, no.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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