A woman searches for the brother her father put up for adoption.
Twenty-eight year-old Lee “Curly” Lloyd served his country as a member of the Army during World War II. He managed to survive, but his marriage did not. While Curly was away on duty, his wife filed for divorce and placed their son and two daughters in a boarding home for children in Oroville, California.
One day in 1944, Curly’s wife arrived at the boarding house with the man she would marry when her divorce was final. She said she had returned to take the girls. Peggie Lloyd and her sister went to live with their mother and the man who was to become their stepfather. Peggie’s brother, Arthur, was left behind.
Peggie grew up being told that her father had deserted the family. When she asked about her brother, she was ignored. Peggie began to wonder if Arthur had ever even existed. Peggie says she learned otherwise one summer day in 1948:
Peggie showed the photo of Arthur to her mother, but wasn’t surprised by her reaction:
It wasn’t until Peggie Reyna was an adult herself that she raised the subject again with her mother. Peggie says that in 1983, she gave her mother a genealogical chart as way to start a conversation about Arthur and Curly:
In the end, Peggie’s mother told her that Curly’s birthplace was Lindsey, Oklahoma.
Just nine days after placing the ad, Peggie was bringing in a stack of mail when a letter caught her eye:
Peggie was surprised to learn that her father, Curly, had been a professional clown with Ringling Brothers and other circuses. In 1955, he had even performed within five miles of Peggie’s home in Southern California. On Peggie’s 43rd birthday, she was able to celebrate with her father for the first time since she was three years old:
The only sad note to the reunion was that Peggie’s brother, Arthur, was not with the family. Curly told her that for four years, Arthur had traveled with the circus watching him perform in towns and cities across America. Curly had no idea where his ex-wife and his two daughters were living. Curly had joined the circus when he was just nine and believed the traveling life would be good for his young son. According to Peggie, not everyone agreed:
In the fall of 1948, when Arthur was just six years-old, Curley left him in the care of a Catholic organization in Logan, Utah. Fifteen years later, Curly received two letters from his son, but Arthur didn’t include his adopted last name or his return address. The letters were mailed from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Peggie now had a new place to look:
Photographs of Arthur Franklin Lloyd show that he has blonde hair and blue eyes. His birth date is April 21, 1943.
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