The reunited South Dakota family was heartwarming, (article, Feb. 15). My great-grandfather was a logger in northern Wisconsin with a wife and children: Rose, Dolly, Bert and Barney (my grandfather). Of course, they cut down all the trees.

In desperation, father and sons went to California seeking work. The father, being a bit of a tyrant, wouldn’t let Barney return for his sisters. Eventually, Barney saved enough to return. He found his mother dead and his sisters gone. Barney then mined coal in Utah, got married and moved to a two-room log cabin homestead in remote Wyoming, where he raised seven kids, including my mother. Bad times drove them to Seattle, where my mom graduated and got a job. Finally, Barney moved the rest of the family to Las Vegas, where he worked out his life as a carpenter on casinos and hotels. I grew up in Seattle and San Francisco.

After their mother died, a young Rose took her younger sister Dolly to California to find their father. To survive, Rose became a prostitute in a brothel, but she shielded Dolly as much as possible. Dolly eventually married, moved to the central valley and had a good life. Rose died, probably of a venereal disease.

Barney, however, never stopped looking for his sisters. A newspaper article about Rose and Dolly made the connection. I remember, when I was about age 11, the day we drove to Modesto to reunite a family that had been separated for more than 50 years.

Many Mainers are experiencing hard times again, with the wealthy justifying their greed by saying, “We earned it.” These reunion stories are heartwarming and give hope. I believe they are not unusual, and many families have a tale to tell. Anyone who has a family story might want to share it with others through the newspaper.

Tom BergerOakland

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