After 42 years, Siblings find each other...
by: MARTHA PETTEYS
QUEENSBURY The man on the phone had a thick German accent. "is your name Tony?" he asked. "Yeah," said Tony Johnson, bit confused. "Did you have a younger brother and sister?" "Yes" said Tony. "I'm Tommy," said the voice. Tony nearly fell off his stool. For years, he had searched for his younger brother, Tommy, and sister, Valerie, who had been adopted when they were toddlers.
Riding a wave of adrenaline, the two brothers talded for three hours. This was four weeks ago.
"I was scared, because I didn't know if I was going to ge rejected or accepted," said Tom.
The family was seperated 42 years ago. Their mother deserted her five children. The children lived with their father in the town of Adirondack for a while. Eventually, the youngest two, Tommy and Valerie, were adopted by a family in Basom in Genesee County and the older three were shuffled among family members and foster homes in the area. Their parents are now dead.
They didn't know what becaem of their two younger siblings.
After getting off the phone with his brother that first night, Tom called his sister, Valerie, who was living in Hornell in Teuben County.
"All of a sudden, I am minding my own business, and my brother calls me and says I have some good news," said Valerie.
Valerie has four children and works part time at a high school. She had also been searching for her other siblings. From her birth certificate, she knew she was born in Glens Falls and had planned to drive to the city this summer with a freind to see if she could track anyone down.
"Anytime I heard the Johnson name, I would always wonder, is that a relative?"
Tom gave Valerie the phone numbers of her three older siblings, and she decided to call her sister, Elaine, first.
"It is just so unbelievable," said Valerie a few days ago.
She was getting her home ready to welcome Tony and his family, who went to see her this weekend. She planned on making a big lasagna. Ton's favorite meal. She was also pulling out as many photographs as she could find. They have a lot of catching up to do, she explained.
"It was liking reading a book and someone tore out pages in the book. Those pages are back. I know who I am. I know who my brothers and sisters are."
Tom plans to go to Germany in April to see his brother. All the siblings hope to get together this September for a grand reunion.