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After 35 Years, Family Reunited (1977)


Posted By: Jennifer Gunderson (email)
Date: 1/3/2021 at 01:43:20

After 35 Years, Family Reunited

CAMARILLO (AP) - The odds were against Judith Norcross ever seeing her brother and sister again. They were separated by adoption 35 years ago and the Camarillo woman knew nothing of her siblings' whereabouts.

"I didn't even know I had a sister," the psychiatric technician at Camarillo State hospital said Saturday, as she waited at Los Angeles International Airport for the plane carrying her newly found family members. "I was looking for two brothers."

At the airport, an aunt, Vera Osnes of Covina, who had not seen her nieces and nephew since they were toddlers, said she saw a resemblance among them.

"But I don't remember what I said when I first saw them today," Mrs. Norcross, 37, said in a telephone interview from her home later in the day, as the family gathered around photograph albums and reminisced.

"It was just so exciting and such an unusual happening," she added.

Mrs. Norcross was able to locate both her brother and sister and the aunt her father's sister about three months ago after she found out her former last name and the area of her birth through Adoptees Liberty Movement Association.

She discovered that she was born Betty Lou Eden in Woden, Iowa. She was adopted at the age of 2 by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Matter in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. She was 5 when she moved with her adoptive parents, who live in nearby Oxnard, to California.

On an impulse, Mrs. Norcross said she phoned directory assistance in Mission [sic] City, Iowa, and discovered there was only one Eden listed. It turned out to be her uncle.

The uncle and his wife helped Mrs. Norcross contact her sister Arleen, now Mary Jane Bridley of Northfield, Minn., and her brother Marvin, now Roger Boyken of Algona, Iowa.

Mrs. Bridley, 40, said Saturday she was stunned when she was contacted by her sister earlier this month.

"I have been at this (trying to reunite the family) for 23 years," she said. She and the brother had made contact earlier and their families had visited back and forth, she said.

Since contacting members of her natural family, Mrs. Norcross learned that her father, a World War II veteran who received the Purple Heart for wounds in action, had died in 1948.

None of those reunited Saturday knew what had happened to the natural mother and one brother still has not been located.

"It'll take us a long time to catch up on lost time," Mrs. Norcross said, taking a few minutes away from the family talk. "Mostly it's a matter of catching up on where our lives have been.

"Everything has been surprising for us," Mrs. Norcross said. "Everything is totally new - how we look, how we talk, the things we like ... everything."

Her brother and sister, who had never been to California, left 14 inches of snow behind to attend the Thanksgiving weekend reunion.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, Volume 121, Number 280, 28 November 1977.
Transcribed by Jennifer Gunderson. 3 Jan 2021.


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