Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Brothers meet after 52 years

Last night my husband and I visited by phone with his half-brother in South Carolina. A 54-year-old brother he's only known for 2 years. We were recalling the wonderful miracle that occurred in Feb. 2006 when they both spoke to each other for the first time in their lives. I decided this would be a good blog post since I wasn't blogging at the time it happened. And it's a wonderful story---too good not to share.

My husband's parents married in 1939, had their first son Richard in 1940 and their second son Larry (my husband "Jamie") in 1946. Jamie's dad pursued a career as an Air Force pilot (retiring as a Lt. Col.) and in 1953 was stationed in Greenville, SC., far away from his home state of Pennsylvania where his wife and sons remained in closer proximity to her family. Over the years the marriage had become strained, a separation took place and my father-in-law entered into a relationship with a beautiful young woman in Greenville, SC. Three years into this relationship, this young woman gave birth to a son, whom she also named Richard "Dale" xxx. Due to family circumstances it was not possible for my father-in-law to divorce his wife at that time and he eventually reconciled with his family, finally settling in Colorado Springs, CO upon his Air Force retirement. His life ended in 1997 on the 58th wedding anniversary of his marriage to my mother-in-law and mother of his two sons.

The son that was born to my father-in-law that winter morning in 1953 has remained in Greenville, SC all his life. His mother never told him who his father was. It was only upon her death in 1993 that he learned the identity of his dad. Photos of her son's father, with his name written on the back, abounded in her cedar chest and were discovered after her death by Dale.

In the ensuing 10 years Dale attended reunions of the Air Force groups in South Carolina, searching for information about his father from anyone in attendance who might have known his dad personally. He searched nationwide through any resources he could think of. In 2003 he posted a query on the internet pleading for any information he could get about his dad. It wasn't until late January, 2006, on the opposite side of the country---Oregon---that my daughter-in-law randomly entered her father-in-law's name into a search at msn.com. ONE LINK popped up as a result of that name search. You guessed it...it was Dale's query. My daughter-in-law wrote to Dale offering information about his father if he'd reply to her.

The search was over! Dale got the letter in the mail and now it was time to get acquainted! With nerves shaking, voice quivering and sons eagerly standing by in anticipation of discovery, upon receiving that letter, Dale called her and had a long visit with her husband, my step-son, and Dale's new-found nephew. My step-son called us late that night with the news of this discovery, and my husband picked up the phone at 11 pm that wonderful February night. Upon hearing the southern greeting, he said "Is this Dale xxx? This is Larry Jamison, your brother!"

What a miracle. After 52 years of wondering if he had brothers or sisters, and wondering what his father was like, Dale had finally connected with his next-older brother. We passed the news on to the oldest brother, who also made contact with Dale shortly thereafter. Since I do genealogy research, I prepared a very large book on Dale's ancestors and sent it to him, in addition to the many mementos we shared with Dale from his father's life. In September, 2006 we all flew to South Carolina and met our new family member in person. I've included a photo of that first meeting.

Dale hasn't had time to come to Colorado yet to visit us in our home, but 2 months ago he and his 2 sons joined us in Utah to visit his oldest brother and meet all the members of that extended family.

I call my blog "Grace and Glory" because God's grace abounds in our lives, as evidenced in stories like this. Glory be to God for extending his help to all of us in uniting this family after all these 52 years! It's by the Grace of God that we enjoy such special blessings. Dale, indeed, feels blessed and we couldn't ask for a better brother and more terrific nephews than we found far away in South Carolina!
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