WATCHMAN ON THE WALL: Family Reunion

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Lucille had been looking for her children for eleven years. After getting a divorce from Bill, she was awarded custody of all five children. Bill had sent two of the boys, Bruce, age eight and Larry, age 6 from San Diego to Sacramento to live with their mother. When she wrote and asked about the other three, there was no reply for they had moved. Doug age eleven, Rhona age 10 and Audrey Ann age seven had disappeared.

Lucille had wondered and hoped, looking into the faces of strangers; could it be possible to ever find her children?

In 1945 Larry had visited his stepbrothers in Sand Diego, coming home with a picture of Rhona but no information as to her whereabouts. Bruce had heard that his older brother Doug had joined the Navy. Hoping to find him, Doug joined the Navy and was stationed in South Korea only to learn that Doug was living in Tempe, Arizona. Little Audrey was married, living in Oregon.

Rhona too had never given up hope finding her mother. She had married and had a two and a half year old named Tina Willo. Many times throughout the years that she thought maybe that brunette she spotted could possibly be her mother. She would ask and the heartbreaking response was always no, but she didn’t give up.

One fateful day, Rhona was just getting on the bus to go to work when she saw a middle-aged woman at the bus stop – her bus stop! That scar across the woman’s nose was unmistakeable. Rhona yelled at the bus driver to wait, jumped off the bus and ran up to this stranger. “What is your name?,” she asked. “Lucille,” was the reply. “Mother it IS you.

hank God I’ve found you at last. I’m Rhona, your daughter.” Impulsively Rhona pulled Lucille onto the bus, so they could talk. The passengers of the city bus watched incredulously as the story unfolded. After looking so long and being disappointed again and again, Lucille was dubious. She showed Rhona pictures of her children she kept in her wallet. One was a picture of 15-year old Rhona and replied, “This is my daughter named Rhona.” “That’s me Mother, that’s me. Please believe me. I’m your daughter.” All doubt was erased when Rhona pulled out a small picture album full of pictures of her siblings and parents before the divorce. It was true. This was Lucille, Rhona’s mother.

This reunion might not have ever happened. You see, Lucille was a waitress, working at Fong’s Restaurant on 8th Street and normally got off work at 9 p.m. Rhona had arrived in Sacramento just three months earlier and was working as a waitress at Bedell’s They BOTH happened to use the same bus stop at 9th and K Streets on that eventful Thursday.

. . . And I’m happy that my mother and grandmother found each other. You see, I’m Tina Willo whom you know as Loraine Joy. ■