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when I got to Little Rock. We would talk because all of us in the home generally had family
everywhere. They would always ask about my progress in finding this lost sister.
During this visit, I got up the courage to go talk to Mrs. Boch, now retired, who had
been the keeper of the inner sanctum records concerning all the adoptions which had taken
place during those early years. I asked Mrs. Boch to please tell me where my sister was. She
immediately understood my plight and she told me: in El Dorado, Ark., but she could not
remember the adoptive family's name as she had been retired for many years. But now I had a
town! Elouise Dierks had a sister, Louise, who lived in El Dorado. With a few inquiries,
Louise came up with a prospect that fit the bill! It all was so logical, in fact, without a doubt,
everyone thought, "She's the one!"
I went on up to northeastern Arkansas to visit with my half-sisters. Everyone there was
excited too. But I still had not made the telephone call. What if she refused to speak to me, or
would not hear me relate our history? What if she did not want anything to do with this crank
on the other end of the line? After all, I found out that she had many privileges, had been
given a wonderful life by parents who actually did not want her to know she was adopted. I
shook in my boots as I called home to Refugio, Tex. to tell my wife, Marjorie. I needed
encouragement, support and advice! Marjorie was excited and readily said, "Just be calm, tell
her that you are her brother Joe, who has been looking for her for many years. Tell her that
you are visiting in Arkansas, and that you would like to visit her on your way back home to
When I called, her first remark was "I thought your name was George." She very
briefly talked to me about her family in the phone call. We agreed that at a specific time in the
next few days, I would stop by for a short while. She urged me to please not publicize the
meeting we were about to have as her father (who was very old and in poor health) would be
upset. I certainly abided by her wishes and looked forward to seeing her at last.
Opal Maydella had become Marydel James Wren. When I arrived at her home, I was
greeted with a hug and stepped inside to meet her husband. Immediately upon seeing her, it
was apparent that there was a family resemblance in her hair color and skin tone. About a year
later, all of us children had a very nice family reunion. Obviously, all of us had been reared in
different homes, but blood runs thick and we have a common bond, wherever we are! I have
always felt that as the eldest it was my responsibility to keep track of all the family, that it was
my duty to get everyone lined out in my mind as to their special niche not only in my life, but
in theirs too. When we had that first reunion of the Watts Family Children in Arkansas. I
brought a cake decorated and inscribed Together Again After All These Years.
Growing up in the home had involved seeing my siblings adopted away from me, but
there were many, many wonderful good times. I had two experiences with foster homes -- one
horrible and the other a great experience in a family filled with love - a happy home life and
foster parents who set good examples and truly cared for my well-being.
I have alluded to my first foray into that unknown world of foster care parents, the
Wrights. Fortunately for me, the Wright family had two daughters who were social workers.
These girls came home to their parents and immediately saw how frail and sick I was and
persuaded the elder Wrights to let me go back to the children's home. I guess the old man
Wright could see that I probably was a weakling after having been so sick with simultaneous
whooping cough and red measles. He probably figured I wouldn't last long getting up at 4:00
a.m. and working all day.
A wonderful thing happened at the home while I was at the Wrights. The management
at the home changed, probably with stricter rules regarding adoption and foster care for
children. My friend, Miss Ruth Beall, became the administrator. She was a very gentle person
with the children. She was featured in a Life magazine article many years ago and was referred
1M A 1RUrm 10Oaa
Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994. San Antonio, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39868/. Accessed December 22, 2014.