May 21, 2005

Amber Alert - For Our Mom!

Many people have asked me if I have a twin because I look like someone they know. Until a few years ago I answered that I had a mother and a brother and sister that disappeared in childhood so if they knew of anyone named Dorothyann (my mother), Allison or Thomas (my siblings) to please tell me about them.

I was 3 years old when my mother disappeared in New York City leaving her four little children all alone, bewildered and very sad. When she did not return, the state of New York placed me and my sister Sandra in the St. Barnabas Home for Children in New York City. Later we were put up for adoption. We lost track of Allison and Thomas.

Nearly 40 years later, after a lifetime of searching, I located our long-lost siblings, Thomas and Allison! They still lived in the NYC area. She was working as a Registered Nurse on Staten Island and Thomas was already a retired NYC Policeman! What a reunion we had! Newspapers covered the story and we celebrated for several days together. Sadly, we have not been able to recreate that experience.

But, a few months after that reunion in NYC, we combined notes, and with some new information from this family, we unexpectedly located our mother (now a graying grandmother) in Waterbury, CT. We had a grand but bittersweet reunion with the mother whose face we couldn't remember and five siblings we had never seen.

This is the story of a desperate search by a little brown-eyed girl named Linda Jean who would never stop looking for her mother.

My screaming rage at the orphanage kept them from separating me from my baby sister. Our love for each other helped us survive being raised by an angry, cruel grandmother who frequently beat and tortured us. I never stopped trying to protect my sister from harm and I never stopped believing that our mother would want to be found and reunited with her children.

Most of our teenage years were spent deep in the heart of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri in a house without electricity or water. We had no formal schooling.

I was eventually invited to live with a family in Ohio to pursue the Licensed Practical Nursing Course. Working nights at Kettering Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, I attended LPN school during the day. Soon thereafter, I married and had two beautiful loving sons, Billy and Philip. I also became a professional photographer and an elected official in my town.

The excitment of finding my mother after persevering for almost a lifetime is another chapter you will not want to miss, and finally bringing the family together again. We talk about almost 40 years of mystery and frustration.

My sons were able to rejoice with me the day I first talked to my mother on the phone. Sandra was thrilled to have not only found our mother, but to discover she had some brothers! She had always wanted a brother! We were in for happy surprises and some sad disappointments.

There is another side to this story, and that is my sister's view of what happened. Sandra's words to describe our mother's abandonment and grandma's cruelty are not words that would be acceptable on this page. Sandra didn't get an opportunity for advanced education like I did and life continued to be very difficult for her many years after I was married. But, she too is a survivor and has been a success at life. In many ways, she is stronger than I am. But she will always be my baby sister!

You may write to me (Linda) at

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