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Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - December 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company

Siblings reunite after 58 years
Houston County Courier

By Ashlie LeBlanc

There were five family members that were extremely happy and sad at the same time that got to meet on Tuesday. Becky Metts, Jerry McDonald, Mike Burlson, Joyce “Sissy” English and Brenda Van Dell, siblings, got to see each other as a family for the first time in 58 years. Around 1952, their very young mother, Lavern Burlson, had to find homes for her five children because she was unable to care for them. English said, “We lived on nothing but potatoes and did not have any shoes. That was how poor we were.” Three of the five went to live with distant relatives and two were adopted. Their father left when they were babies. Mike Burlson was the first child to be given to his aunt and uncle for them to care for him. He was later able to return to live with his mother and stepfather when he was seven years old. Mike now lives in Crockett and is a truck driver. Burlson, the only sibling that was able to keep his given name, has a daughter and twin sons. Becky Metts, the second child to be adopted, went to live in Arkansas. Metts lives now in Crockett with her sister Brenda who works for White Hall Nursing home as a nurse. Becky said, “Brenda and I thought we were twins, we have so much in common.” Becky and Brenda both obtained real estate licenses; they both worked in the medical field and they both have a son named Shawn. Jerry McDonald and Joyce “Sissy” English were adopted together. Lavern did not want them separated because they were very close so, they were adopted together. Both reside in Dallas. Jerry is a computer programmer and Joyce is retired. In April 1998, the three sisters had a reunion here in Crockett. It was the first time they had seen each other in more than 46 years. During that reunion the sisters looked at the last photo made of them. It is a backview of the sisters showing their long blond curls. All of the siblings spent a little over two hours trying to piece their lives together. Each one has different memories of the life they had when they were one family. Now they are looking forward to making new and better family memories with each other. Mike Burlson said, “The family would like to say a special Thank you to Don Rafa’s for their hospitality. The private room they gave us was beautiful, especially the pink roses on the table.” “Also, thank you David Rafa for taking care of our meal for us. That was very kind and heartfelt.” Rafa’s response Thursday was, “I am glad they chose our restaurant for their reunion and I’m glad they enjoyed themselves. “Anytime you can help someone out, it is a wonderful thing.”


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