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Searching For 2 Sisters
By Sylvia 'Tip' Allison
Friday, August 08, 2008
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast - after twenty-five years I worried about my two sisters. Are they okay? Searching frantically ...
We thought the worse when Katrina hit the Gulf coast, each and everyday we worried and prayed about our two sisters so far away. Staying glued to the television - switching from channel to channel - just trying to find out something! The weather channel announced a dreadful day for the Gulf coast and surrounding areas on August 29, 2005. It was on a Monday and I decided to search for our two sisters in New Orleans, Louisiana on the computer. It had been 24 years since we heard from Tammy Jo and Candy, our half-sisters. They lived in Westwego, Louisiana the last we heard after our dad passed away September 23, 1980. Candy and her husband, Raymond came here to be with us when Daddy died and went to Daddy’s wake at the funeral home. The day of Daddy’s funeral and burial she didn’t show up as we waited for her, we never heard from her again. As we proceeded with the terrible ordeal of laying Daddy’s body to rest in the back of our minds we wondered just what happened to Candy. We never knew why, she never let us know she was leaving. We wondered all through the years what happened and why she left before his funeral. At times throughout the years we always wondered if we said or done something to offend Candy or Raymond, yet we didn’t think we had. She simply left and never came back. Tammy Jo had to stay behind because her baby was soon to be born and she couldn’t travel from Louisiana to North Carolina as the doctors advised. This would be the last time of communication we had with either one of our sisters until now.
As my search continued day after day I am compelled to find them, to know if they are okay even if they didn’t want to see us, we just wanted to know their if they were okay and their whereabouts and that they both were safe. As we sit and watched, listening to the reports of what Hurricane Katrina was doing. There was more damage than anyone suspected and it was so traumatic as the people of the Gulf Coast scrambled to get away for safety sake. These people went through such devastation as this powerful storm just ripped their lives apart and all they worked so hard for away. Where in the world were our sisters, we wondered and worried so, are they safe? Two days have now passed as I search and search, filling out questionnaires of names and birth dates as we remembered from so long ago. We knew our dad’s information, yet not theirs, not as much as we should have known. We knew their moms name, but that was it, not her birth date or anything to help us find them. “Oh God, please help us find them, let us know they are okay, we know you will do your part to keep them safe, it is your will and divine grace that we ask for some kind of way to know they are alright. Please show us a sign or something to help us, I pray to you. Amen”.
You see it wasn’t our fault or theirs about being separated or why we had to live so far apart and not know each other. Our parents are the ones who made all things possible with the happenings of separations. Daddy was a rambler as I understood while growing up and later he didn’t deny anything. We didn’t really know the man; he just wondered in from time to time and didn’t tarry long. We did know of his other family; we were curious and asked questions about the two girls, we were his kids too! There were a lot of times he would come to town visiting his two brothers with his daughters and not even see us, we never knew until later after he had left and gone back to Louisiana.
In 1972, already 27 years old with two little boys, Daddy came to my oldest sister, Judy’s and wanted to see us all. We were just told to come to Judy’s, no one said why just come. As I walked in the door everybody said to go in the bedroom, once inside the door closes a little and there he stood. The tallest best-looking Daddy in the world, I literally passed out from excitement! Standing there beside him were two girls, his daughters, our sisters. Tammy Jo and Candy Allison. Tammy Jo looked so much like Judy and Candy looked like some of our cousins –they were definitely Daddy’s girls.
Oh gosh, here is the moment I had waited all my life. To get to see my daddy, just to show him I’m fine and my two little boys. Just for him to know I had forgiven him yet I will never forget what he did to us. We just never understood why he walked away from five kids to go and raise another family. Now that I am grown I understand we were certainly not the only ones who endured such a situation as this to be raised by our mother alone and with no help from Daddy. Jealousy was in our minds growing up as we heard from family members about Daddy having two daughters he was raising and it was heartbreaking. I often dreamed of spending time with him in my younger days and just wondered what it would be like. Yet our mother was so strong and took care of us, showing us the love a Mother should. She worked hard all our lives to give us things we needed we never did without. There were disappointing times such as Christmas and we really didn’t get things we asked for but she made it up to us. Our mother never, ever complained nor did she ever put our daddy down, we did know he was a truck driver for Associated Transport Trucking Company in Burlington, NC in our younger days. So by that we knew he was always on the road. As far as we knew he and Mama always remained friends somewhat throughout the years and in fact never divorced. Mama and Daddy married October 10, 1942 and separated in 1951 after our younger sister Vickie was six month old. Back then as children of a broken home it was sad, we didn’t understand, our grandpa Coleman was the only male role model in our family and we lost him when we were young in October 1959 yet again we are stripped of the only Daddy we ever known. It hurt so to be without a Dad, so many of our friends had their dads and sometimes we wished our dad was there, but we overcome tragedies, this wasn’t and will never be the only hurt in our lives as we grew into maturity. Mama did her best and with that we were thankful, she was a loving lady with a heart of gold and I would never trade the memories for anything. She loved us and we all knew it, she always let us know one way or another.
A typical Saturday morning with a few cups of coffee to wake me up it’s off to the computer. Checking my email and web pages for visitors is my usual ritual everyday and occasionally a chat or two with family members or friends. Yet this morning was so
different when I signed on and the computer says “You’ve Got Mail”. There before my eyes was an unusual looking subject line in my email – NOLA RESPONSE. Oh my word, I was panicking, what is this? I remembered seeing these initials for days and days while online and yet I could not pinpoint it now. My heart was beating so as if it were in my lap! Oh, is this what I had been longing for? Are they okay? Was this going to be good or bad? I was so full of questions and didn’t have sense enough to just open the darn
thing. Teary eyed and alone, I am so scared of what I was fixing to read. Opening the mail, I slowly began to read – In response to your email; we have found a Tammy Jo Sauro in Pinson, Alabama and her phone number. There was no finding for a Candace Allison Berger in Westwego, La. Please let us know if we could be of more help to you. God Bless You and hopefully this is the person(s) you are looking for. NOLA Response Team. Well you could have lifted me off of chair with a feather, I felt somewhat relieved and yet I still wasn’t sure if it was she. This is the name I remembered from 1980, the last we heard from her was when Daddy passed away. Is this who I am searching for? Dialing the number that was given to me, my hands shook so I felt I would fall out in the floor. The phone rang; I waited in anticipation until an answer. “Hello” she answered in a soft voice. “Is this Tammy Sauro?” I ask her in a panicky, shaky tone. Her answer was yes so I began asking this one question twice, “What is your dad’s name?” She hesitated for a moment and told me our daddy’s name; yet explaining he had passed away in 1980 my heart sank and I felt such a relief. I knew, I just knew then it was she. As she began to sob, she asks, “Oh no, who is this?” “Tammy, this is Tip, your sister”. Then there was silence and the tears fell as she asks in a tearful, muffled sound, “are you for real?” “Yes” I replied and “this is not a joke.” As I explained to her about our looking for them and we were worried so, I could hardly speak. Here is one of the sisters I had tried so very hard to find! Just wondering if they were okay and how had they been doing for so long. After crying for about fifteen minutes we finally talked and boy did we! With the both of us now crying and proclaiming our love for each other and for our siblings, we began a long pleasant conversation about our lives and families and such. I knew it was going to be fine after that! They were safe from the wraths of Hurricane Katrina! “God, thank you for your precious love. Amen”. Oh how lucky we were to find them and know they are safe. I am sure a lot of happy endings have occurred out of this historical event of a hurricane such as this devastating one – yet there are those out there who lost loved ones. My heart goes out to each and every one of those people who fell victim to “Katrina”. With God’s abiding love, I hope He will fill your heart with the joy and understanding one day you will see that special loved one. Everything happens for a reason – something’s we do not no the reason for and do question why, but it is my belief that all things are possible with prayer. I pray for each and every one of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. God be with you.
After talking on the phone and announcing to everyone our sisters were okay and we were planning a visit from Tammy Jo, we waited in anticipation for the day of September 13, 2005. It was Friday morning and I received a call from her telling me she and her husband, Frank was in High Point. Oh the excitement! She was getting so close and I thought I would pass completely out if she didn’t get here soon. She’s made it, my beautiful sister the one I had searched for and longed to see. Throughout the short time we had we accomplished a lot of reminiscing about our lives and proclaimed the love we have for each other.
We live in North Carolina and she and her family in Alabama leaves a lot of miles between us, we have managed to see each other as much as possible. In fact, as I am writing Tammy, Frank and their grandson, Dylan are on their way to visit. It has been quite awhile and I anticipate a great time when she gets here. So, I will close this out and continue later after my sister leaves again.
Today is Sunday, August 4, 2006 and Tammy has now left to return to Alabama. I wonder if she knows how my heart breaks every time she pulls out of the driveway and not looking back? Three days is so short of time to spend and it flies by so quickly. We spent some sister time together, our usual trip to the local Dollar Tree store and out to eat later in the evening, then everyone is too tired and full to sit and talk awhile. There’s so little time between visits yet we do make the best of it.
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|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|WOW!! Incredible story of miracles; so happy you were reunited after Katrina! That must have been terrifying not knowing!! God bless you!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :)