An emotional reunion after 45 years

A few months ago I was amazed and delighted to receive a message on Facebook from the son of one of my childhood friends. Marilyn and I had grown up together in a coal mining village in the English Midlands.

Marilyn in the middle and me on the right.

Marilyn in the middle and me on the right.

This is the row of colliery houses where we lived; tiny two-up, two-down houses with no bathroom and an outside toilet.

The house have now been demolished. (Picture from Google)

The houses have now been demolished. (Picture from Google)

As you can imagine, it was a very close-knit community. After the 2nd World War, times were hard and there was food rationing, so it was not uncommon for a neighbour to come knocking on the door asking to borrow a cup of sugar or flour, or any other commodity they found themselves short of to bake a cake or prepare a meal. They would then stay for a chat and maybe a cup of tea, and so strong bonds were formed. The men worked at the local colliery, and it was there that my dad, a young man from Dutch Indonesia who had served in the Royal Navy during the war and afterwards met and married my mom in London, found a job as an electrician. It must have been quite a culture shock for him, as the war had interrupted his studies and he suddenly found himself in a strange country, not speaking the language and needing to work to support a wife with a baby on the way. My mom and Marilyn’s mom were expecting their babies within a couple of months of one another and became great friends. After our family moved away from the area, they visited one another, and still kept in contact after my parents emigrated to South Africa in the 1970’s. After a few years, my mom didn’t get the usual Christmas card, and her subsequent letters went unanswered, which made her very sad, and she often wondered what had happened to her friend. I found out from Mark, Marilyn’s son, that when his gran moved house, my mom’s last letter containing her address had somehow got lost, so they completely lost touch. Apparently they often spoke of our family with great fondness and wished they could make contact again. Sadly, Marilyn’s mom passed away a few years ago, but I’m sure she would be delighted to know that her daughter and I finally met up again after 45 years.

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When I got out of our car outside her house, she was standing at the door to greet me, and we both had tears in our eyes. Hubby and I stayed in the area for two days, and we spent happy times together catching up on family news and sharing precious memories from our childhood.

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In my next post, I’ll tell you about my nostalgic visit to the pit where my dad worked for so many years.

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Wishing you all a great weekend.

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87 comments on “An emotional reunion after 45 years

  1. What a great reunion that was Sylvia. You are both such beautiful ladies. It looks like you enjoyed it very much. πŸ˜€ β™₯

  2. I grew up somewhere not dissimilar, Ad, and nor does it exist any more. How fantastic to be reunited like that! Isn’t this the strangest (and sometimes best) world we live in? πŸ™‚

  3. Such precious moments:) I too came into contact with my best friend in school through Facebook after more than thirty years, but we are yet to meet in person. Regards.

  4. This is how I was when years went by and a friend who grew up had a husband and child seemed to have drifted away from me, for years. When there are parts left unanswered in my life. I have contacted my friend’s family or parents. .

    • Thanks, Nancy. My maiden name is quite unusual, and I have it before my married name on FB. He’d only just gone on Facebook himself and made it his mission to find his mom’s special ‘old’ friends. πŸ™‚

      • Gotcha! I tried to find an old friend with a common name ~ Steven Smith. No luck narrowing down the suspects since I don’t even know where he lives.

  5. Wow, that is amazing …. fantastic story. One of my best friends and I … meet again 30 years later, we played together when we was 4 .. and we met at work 30 years later, and we became friends without knowing that we had been friends as kids.
    My aunt figured it out. So I understand all the joy and emotions you went through together. I just love great happy stories. I wish you a lovely weekend.

    • Thanks so much, Sue. I seemed almost surreal when we finally saw one another again. I’m so happy that the mystery has been solved, thanks to Marilyn’s son Mark’s diligence in searching for my sister and I on FB. πŸ™‚

      • Think of all those naysayers about social media. Lots of fabulous things such as this happen because of it. Again so delighted for the two of you.

  6. What a wonderful reuinion story this Sylvia, and to meet after so long! This post also reminded me of when in the 1970’s, my mother and her husband almost relocated us to South Africa. I remember crying because I didn’t want to leave my dad and Granny so far behind! But just think, maybe I would have bumped into you there! Anyway, this is such a deligthfully heartwarming post and I’m so glad you got to meet your dear friend Marylin after so long. Wonderful photos πŸ™‚ I look forward to your next installment very much and untl then, I hope you have a lovely weekend too. I’ve got my boys home so can’t wait πŸ™‚ xx

  7. omg.. well of course my eyes are like wells now:) how fantastic for you. i can remember times when neighbors would come to borrow things and stay for a chat.. and i often wonder about them myself… so your story touched a few heartstrings:) looking forward to your next blog….!!!!

  8. A lovely story and we both have coal in our background. One of the amazing things about social media is the way we can sometimes track down those we have lost touch with. I look forward to the rest of your reunion.

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