A Fitchburg mother is planning a big Thanksgiving-style dinner today after being reunited through a Facebook search with two sons she hasn't seen for more than 50 years.
Dorothy Hutchins said her ex-husband, after their divorce, left their home with her two sons and daughter. The children, Terry, Walter, and Deborah never returned.
"I never left. I never changed my name," Hutchins, 79, said. "I figured sooner or later they'd get in touch if they could."
Hutchins met Charles Flagg and raised a second family. Then, in April, family members in Fitchburg searched the name "Terry Hutchins" on Facebook, and sent a message to a man with that name, asking if he was their relative, said Kim Flagg, the wife of Danny Flagg, one of Dorothy Hutchins's sons.
Terry Hutchins, 55 of Plantation, Fla. was away on business and didn't respond for six weeks, Flagg said. When he did, he answered yes, he was the right person. He provided the birthdates of his mother and siblings to prove it.
He and Walter, who lives in the US Virgin Islands, made the trip to Fitchburg Friday, and met their mother, who hadn't seen them since early in the Eisenhower administration.
"I've never met my mother before yesterday. I've never even seen her," Walter Hutchins said in a telephone interview from the home in Fitchburg where his mother lives with his half-sister's family. "We pretty much gave up on finding her."
Terry said his father had never spoken of his mother and the family had bounced from Army base to Army base, including postings in New York, Hawaii, and New Jersey.
He said he and his siblings had searched for his mother over the years, but had wrongly assumed that she would return to her maiden name, Cochran. Ironically, Dorothy Hutchins said she had retained the name Hutchins so she could be more easily found.
Though Deborah is still out of touch, the rest of the family was thankful to be together. Terry Hutchins said his mother was excited today and bustling about, preparing the dinner.
"Mom's on cloud nine," he said. "She was up at 5 a.m. this morning, saying, 'I gotta make the stuffing for the turkey!'"
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