A woman discovers that her best friend from childhood is actually her sister.
Irene found her birth certificate
Last known photos of Dolores Ford
In 1962, 16 year-old Irene Love of Los Angeles, California, was home alone one Saturday afternoon exploring a box she found in her mother’s bedroom:
“I opened it up and there were some papers. They were dated 1942. And I thought, God, Mom keeps this? Then there was another piece of paper folded up and it was a birth certificate. And it had Irene Wynn on it. And I go, hmm, same first name as mine. I said, well the date, that was what caught my eye, the date was the same date as my birth. And by that time, a little bit later on, my mother came home. And I showed her the paper. And it came to light that I was adopted and my mom and my dad had adopted me three days after I was born. And she was fearful that I was going to leave and go and search for my real parents. And I told her no, I wasn’t, I just wanted to know what the story was.”
Minnie and Forrest Love had no children of their own, so they were thrilled with their newly adopted daughter. Irene’s parents gave her everything, even a best friend. Dolores Ford was one year older than Irene, and the only child of her parents’ best friends. Irene said they became inseparable:
“We went on camping trips. We went to the park. We went everywhere, to the lakes. We never really argued. It was like we knew each other, we connected. If one wanted something, the other one knew about it and it was always there. We were just connected so close that, there was like a great friendship there. Every holiday they would come over and bring the gifts and we exchanged gifts there in the living room. We basically got the same toys. They made sure that we were happy kids.”
Irene’s mother asked her to think back to her childhood. She asked her to recall Clifton’s, the restaurant they had gone to every Sunday. Now Irene’s mother explained why they had always gone to the same place. Irene’s birth mother, Ramona, worked at the cafeteria. This was her only opportunity to watch Irene grow up.
At some point, Irene’s birth father, Glenn, began to work at Clifton’s too. The Loves would sit at different tables in the restaurant each week so both Glenn and Ramona could see the daughter that they had been too poverty-stricken to raise themselves. Irene says she understood their predicament:
“I never faulted them for what they did. They had to do what they had to do. And I’m thankful that they gave me a family, to the family that they did give me to. So I was lucky in that way.”
When Irene was 10 years old, her friend’s mother died. Suddenly, Dolores seemed to vanish into thin air. Irene never saw her again. Years later, Irene’s mother finally explained what had happened to her friend. Dolores’ father took her to live with Glenn and Ramona, the couple who worked at Clifton’s cafeteria. But why? Finally, the shocking news came out: Dolores was also Glenn and Ramona’s child. Delores and Irene were sisters. Irene was stunned and felt an even stronger urge to reunite with Dolores.
After both of her adoptive parents died, Irene found herself drawn back to the old neighborhood, reliving her happy childhood with Dolores:
“In my mind, I can see us playing together. We were like twins, you know, but didn’t know we were sisters. And so that’s what I want real bad, to meet with her. She’s a part of my early life. She’s a part of me. I feel things that I don’t think anybody else could feel right now because it’s like an emptiness that’s going on inside of me, due to the fact I don’t know where she is. And I hope one day soon that we can come together and be the silly little girls that we were when we were growing up, ‘cause I’m still a silly little girl at heart and I want to be with her as soon as possible.”
When she was 10, Dolores Ford moved to Second Street in downtown Los Angeles to live with Glenn and Ramona Wynn. Dolores’ last known address was also in the Los Angeles area.
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season five with Robert Stack and in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.
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