Sisters Brenda A. Brandon, 71, of Cleveland, and Eva Plemons, 82, of Wyandotte, Michigan, had not seen each other since 1948, when Brenda was 5 and Eva was a teenager.
Called, “hillbillies,” they were both born in Rockwood. Their mother was part Cherokee Indian and their dad was British. His surname was Walker.
Brenda came to Cleveland in 1963. Her husband is deceased and Eva’s husband is 94 years old.
The mother, who was married three times — her first two husbands died and she remarried — mothered three families with seven children altogether.
The two sisters are the only ones still living. Their mother was killed in a train accident in 1954.
The two, however, have stayed in touch, they said, but somehow couldn’t make connections. There have been “near misses,” when spur-of-the-moment visits didn’t quite bring them together.
But, Brandon said, “We talked often with each other.” As they grew older, the conversations became less frequent and longing to see each other became stronger.
This time, they wanted to make sure to meet and spend some time together, catching up on the many years. Brandon met her niece and two nephews for the first time. And she has a sister-in-law in Indiana who helped to arrange the trip, which included, also, a visit to see relatives in Crossville.
When the two sisters finally saw each other, Plemons said, “I wouldn’t have known you.”
The two said they found they had many things in common, such as food, personal preferences, thoughts, likes and dislikes, and of course, the same mother and dad — “we’re almost twins,” they agreed.
Experts say the importance of family reunions is more profound than we think. Not only can it establish healthy relationships, but it is a means of sharing and passing on family history to the next generation.