It is typical for reunions to occur within a few years of the initial event, or even ten to twenty years after the initial gathering. However, a reunion after 75 years is genuinely remarkable.
This is precisely what happened lately between immigrants Lena and Yolanda, who initially met during a 14-day ocean journey as young girls.
In April 1947, both young girls immigrated to the United States with their Italian families. They met aboard the Saturnia, a ship bound for Ellis Island in the United States, and became quick friends.
Steve, Lena’s youngest son, had been investigating their transatlantic adventure for several years and discovered the real ship’s manifest online.
Lena, who is now 85 years old, has always remembered her sailing companion’s name as Yolanda. Therefore, Steve painstakingly searched for her companion, who existed only as a memory trapped in time.
Lena fled Pallagorio, her hometown, when she was ten years old. Yolanda, age nine, left her house in Belmonte, a 2.5-hour drive according to modern maps…
Steve continued his search for the acquaintance, who, if still alive, would be 84 years old.
Surprisingly, Yolanda was still prospering, and the two girls had spent their entire lives living within two and a half hours of one other.
Steve located Yolanda’s telephone number and left a message on her answering machine informing her that her childhood sailing companion want to make contact. Covid-19 and other hurdles postponed the meeting, but a date was finally set..,
Rich, Yolanda’s son, drove her from her home in Weirton, West Virginia, to Lena’s home in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where they wept with excitement upon greeting each other at the front door.
Tony, Lena’s son, told GNN, “They were celebrating a fleeting bond that had lasted a lifetime.”
In addition to recalling their scant recollections of the voyage on the Saturnia, which included feelings of awe and dread about what the New World would be like, they shared as many tales of their blossoming lives as they could during the brief afternoon meal.,.
Lena stated, “Yolanda was the face and name that represented my shift from one life to another.”
“Only for this reason could I never forget her. Now that we’ve been reunited, I’m even happier to call her my friend and to have had the opportunity to share our tales.”
It’s almost as if they were separated at birth: they both preserve the Italian customs of their families.
The 75th reunion was so wonderful that they agreed to get together again in a few months with the hopes of spending more quality time with one another…
In these’silver’ years, it might be difficult to locate new friends, let alone old ones! Perhaps the Ellis Island database at the National Archives can assist you in tracing your ancestor’s voyage and locating a long-lost buddy.