We met at noon on Saturday, October 27, 2012. We all agreed to meet at Lewis and Clark restaurant which is located on Saint Charles Main Street. It was a beautiful day filled with sunshine and warmth. I parked my car by the river front and walked the cobblestone street to the restaurant. As I mentioned previous I had included two pictures of myself in my letter to Mary. Mary, Michael and my sister-in-law Cindy all three knew what I looked like, I on the other hand had no idea what they looked like. As I walked down Main Street towards the restaurant I actually passed the three of them as they were walking towards the restaurant and looking in shop windows. I had made a reservation in Mary’s married name and told the hostess I was here and waiting for three others. The hostess asked me if I wanted to sit at the table or wait in the entry way. I chose to wait in the entry way as I was so nervous. I sat down, I stood up and repeated, then realizing I could not breathe (nerves) I decided to step outside and get some air. I opened the door to exit the restaurant and stand outside and as I opened the door there stood Mary, as if I was opening the door for her to enter the restaurant. However, I had no clue that was Mary my sister on the other side of the door; it had appeared that I was opening the door for Mary to enter. Mary said “Carol” I looked at her square in the eyes and said “Mary?” Mary said “where are you going?” I said, “I couldn’t breathe and needed some air” Mary said “that’s okay, I can’t breathe either”, we laughed. Being we were blocking the doorway now we all stepped outside to meet and introduce ourselves. Mary opened her arms to hug me and I hugged her right back. Mary introduced me to Cindy and we embraced, then Michael, I said to him “and you must be Michael” he smiled from ear to ear and reached out to hug me. Michael is 6 foot something and when he hugged me I knew I was hugged. Those hugs that day were the BEST hugs EVER for me! To be 50 and just meet your siblings for the first time is breathtaking, it is surreal!
We decided to step inside the restaurant and get our table. The waiter was there immediately and took our drink order, all of us ordering ice-tea with lemon. Until the drinks came we all just looked at one another smiling, no words exchanged. The waiter delivered the teas, Mary requested the waiter not to come back to our table for a good hour as we had a lot to discuss. Mary is definitely the oldest of the three and by that I mean a real “take charge” person. I too am a “take charge” person, I let Mary steer us in whatever direction she wanted this to take, I didn't care, I was just so happy.
Mary had asked me to fill Michael in on the discovery process and to explain to him why I took so long to search for Dorothy and them. Both have since told me on many occasions that they wished I would have decided to search sooner, so much time we could have spent together.
Like I mentioned before Mary is 20 years older than me, which makes her 70 until her next birthday in July. Michael is 15 years older than me and is 65 until his next birthday in October and Cindy is one year older than me and is soon to be 52. Mary is married to John and never had children. Michael is married to Cindy and they never had children, and I am not married and no children.
We talked and talked and talked, never without words or things to discuss. We talked of Dorothy of course and how she would love that we were together. I believe that Dorothy had a hand in this, I don’t know how but I strongly feel she wanted us to meet and be together.
We ordered our lunch and all ate slowly. My mind started moving forward to our time ending and I felt extreme sadness as I never wanted the day to end. I also felt anxious as I wanted them to be in my life forever, I didn’t want to force anything, but at the same time I needed some reassurance of their feelings of wanting to be in my life too. Friday evening I had baked a pumpkin roll for dessert and depending on how the afternoon went I was going to invite them back to my home. The afternoon at the restaurant went wonderfully so I extended an invitation to them to come back to my home for dessert and coffee. I also said I would like to show them my baby album. Mary responded first that she would LOVE to come to my home for dessert and coffee and look at pictures. It was obvious that no one wanted the day to end. We decided that Mary would ride in my car with me and Michael and Cindy would follow. This gave Mary and I time to chat privately as we had spoken several times on the telephone prior to this meeting. At a stop light I asked Mary “so where do we go from here? Will you and Michael still want to keep in touch with me?” Mary said “Oh my dear, YES, we are family”.
When we arrived at my home I started a pot of coffee and served the pumpkin roll with pumpkin ice-cream, everyone commenting that the dessert was heavenly and they would “keep me”. After the dessert I broke out my baby album. They quickly saw that I was born a red head and made mention of this saying that all of Dorothy’s siblings and children of the siblings were all born with red hair and that this trait completely confirms that I am her daughter, no doubt. I mentioned that my hair slowly started turning towards blonde and by the time I was 2 years old I was a toe head. Mary said “yes, that is exactly how it happened with me and Michael too”.
We spent hours together talking and laughing, exchanging mobile numbers and email addresses and talking of seeing one another again. We hugged and hugged again, each telling me that they loved me and I too felt the same way about them and shared that with them. The entire day was heaven sent. I hated for it to end but it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship with each of them.
This reunion was beautiful and wonderful but also bittersweet as I so wanted to meet Dorothy. Dorothy was missing from this joyous reunion. I know she was there with us in spirit and in her children’s hearts. According to Mary and Michael, Dorothy suffered great sadness after returning home from her “depression”, Dorothy rarely laughed, rarely smiled ever again. Sad part is no one knew what was wrong; no one knew how to help Dorothy as Dorothy did not share the news of her pregnancy with any family member.
More to come….