Wittier Word Weavers

Writers' Club of Whittier

Accidental Email


Sherry BarberMy name is Sherry Barber. Maybe yours is, too.

I receive errant emails at least once a month, each one from a person thinking he or she has reached a different Sherry Barber, usually someone from a different state. I live in California and notify these senders to check their directories or contact lists, but the notices keep coming.

My name isn’t common or uncommon, but it has provided a peek into the lives of other Sherry Barbers.

I once got a stern reminder from an art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico that I needed to complete payment for recent purchases. I tried to explain it wasn’t me, but the gallery owner simply itemized the bill. I could almost hear her tapping a brightly polished fingernail on the invoice. Months later this same establishment contacted me to say I could “collect great art at 40% below retail cost.” Maybe I’m in their good graces again.

I have also been cordially invited to Plein Air classes on Cape Cod, landscape painting instruction in Bar Harbor, Maine and pastel painting workshops in New York and Massachusetts.

One woman wanted to get together for brunch and discuss wedding invitations. In Texas.

An art supply store in Rochester, New York notified me of a sale on wax paints and hog brushes, and reminded me with exclamation points that now was a good time to start my holiday shopping.

In a break from art world communications, a link came to me “valid for only the next 24 hours” to confirm my participation in The Zero Day Initiative. I had no idea what that was, but I hoped the other Sherry Barber hadn’t missed it. I later learned, through Wikipedia, that it had something to do with malware, viruses and worms…and selling my discoveries to the government.

Then there was someone named Debbi, who “so loved our time together last week” – in Colorado – that she wanted to make sure I signed up for her class which would instruct me on how to paint, teach, or create an exhibit. She called her workshop “the best kept secret in Texas!” Apparently the correct email address was, too.

And now there is an invitation, according to recent email, from someone on the north shore of Lake Michigan who wants me to learn about Under-Painting and Field-Size Theory. I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with the government.

I’m wondering if my daughter-in-law ever has this problem. I’m going to drop her an email.

Her name is Sherry Barber, too.


4 thoughts on “Accidental Email

  1. I’ve had this happen to me too. Recently I got a bunch of photos of some young woman’s trip to Europe. I couldn’t resist peeking. My excuse was that maybe I’d recognize someone in the pictures and realize the message really was intended for me, but they were all strangers. Another time I had a brief back-and-forth with the administrator of a private school in New Zealand who was trying to communicate with the mother of a prospective student. There’s a basis for a story in there, I think. A bored housewife gets some misdirected mail and ends up having a torrid affair in the Scottish highlands, right?

  2. I have the same problem Sherry. There are anywhere from 16 to 24 namesakes on the internet, depending which page I am looking at. Once I was accused and threatened for posing as an impostor until I proved that I had a web page by the same name. I ended up using an avatar to differentiate myself from other lovely and famous Terzians. As for my webpage of twelve years it was recently hacked and I have not been able to revive it.

  3. Loved reading it, Sherry, I had no problem with my maiden name – Danson is so rare that whenever I traveled, I looked in the phone book to see if it listed any. Usually not. Thanks so demographics, there are a few more now but not that many. I always intended to cxontact Ted Danson to see if we shared any ancestors, mainly because he a faint resemblance to my Dad, mostly shape of head and hair.

    I had a different experience with Jensen – they’re all over the map. The most interesting one is that there is a Pasadena writer named Marilyn Jensen, and I am credited with her books in at least three listings,
    including the Whittier Library. Attempts to correct it never succeeded, but hey- she’s younger than I am. Such is life.


  4. I’ve never met the woman who had my e-x-a-c-t name (both first and last) but we shared bank statements ore than once. It was not amusing. To make matters more interesting, she lived a mere 40 minutes from me in yet another rural town. This all took place in sleepy little Connecticut. I’ve often wondered, what are the odds on that.


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