Saturday, November 10, 2007

When THE STAR came out in February 2007, Judy Peltier Epsha was amazed to see a map that showed that there were 20 AWON members in Michigan.  She became a regional coordinator for that area and, with the help of AWONers Eileen Landwermeyer Antio and Cathy Becker Light,  gathered a group of 24 war orphans in a private room at Sajo's Restaurant in Clinton Township, Michigan. The tables, with red and white flower arrangements were very patriotic and beautiful and included a flag and sparklers in them for everyone to take home.

They met, hugged,  ate, laughed and, oh yes,  cried. It was very difficult for some who had not spoken their fathers' names in almost a lifetime, but speak their names they did. They shared happy stories as well as painful memories and a lot of information.  All agreed  to get together again before the Tucson Conference this year. The group broke up at 4:30  P.M. and knowing they had found new siblings and new family members. They had that familiar feeling that they had all known each other for a lifetime. Who knew that the map in THE STAR would ever have brought this group together? All of their fathers were definitely smiling down that day.

Front row, from left: Lisa Mendelsohn Levy, Barbara Fackelman Dempsey, Cathy Becker Light, Eileen Landwermeyer Antio, Kaye Olson, Judy Peltier Epsha, and Carlyn Rausch Boivin.

Back row, from left: Charlie O'Donnell; Linda Brown Cadariu; Carl Pardon; Dan Watkins' son, Greg Watkins, and daughter, Heather Foster; Dan Watkins; and Debbie Smith.

Many thanks for the photos to the waitress at Sajo's,
and to Judy Peltier Epsha for the text.