1 online ad, 3 sisters, and a heartwarming reunion 73 years in the making
An online ad posting led to the reunion of three sisters who were separated 73 years ago.
When Mary Kidwell was 4-years-old in 1940, her mother took off from Toronto leaving her father with her two older sisters “Joanie” and “Shirley.” She settled them in the United States after telling Mary that she was taking her to get new shoes. Her mother never went back.
Mary now lives in Columbus, Ohio and her sisters are in Buffalo, N.Y. A friend of Mary’s daughter, Cathy, found an online ad posted by Shirley Mortellaro, 78, and Joanie Billings, 80, looking for “Mary Kidwell.” Cathy said her mother had never stopped looking for her sisters, but it was hard because their last names changed after they got married.
Mary answered the ad and verified her sisters’ identities before boarding a Greyhound bus to go visit them. She’d lost all contact since their parents’ separation.
Once there, she learned Shirley, who had been married twice, had three children and Joanie has seven children. Mary, now widowed, has four children of her own. Mary said her mother never explained why she left their father, though Joan and Shirley say their mother, a partier, had a boyfriend, and that a fight about him caused their mother to leave in a rush, separating the siblings.
And 73 years later, the Internet brought the sisters back together.