Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Truly Exciting Find

The following information involves VIOLA LUNDBERG. It may be very confusing to those of you that haven't followed the LUNDBERG side of the family. What I want you to see is the amount of time and the relentless effort Cathy Lee put into her search. I am hopeful for all of you who are searching, you will have discovery as she did. I need to diagram the people mentioned, in hopes it helps me understand.

"Today was truly exciting for me as this afternoon I received a phone call from someone who I believe is related to us - Sheryl McKee who is the daughter of Viola Richter who was born on Nov. 6 1915. The only information I currently had on this Viola was from her California 1992 death certificate. I had repeatedly tried to contact Sheryl in California over the past three or so years (as she was listed on the death certificate as Viola's daughter), but without any success.

After seeing a psychic once again in July, I was told to go back to the beginning where everything started, and something would turn up. So I went back to the Pennington County Historical Society in Thief River Falls, MN. I had also gotten a free two week trial from, so I had been burning the midnight oil the last few weeks to find anything I could. I just kept putting in names and lo and behold, I found public and phone directory records for Sheryl McKee - with a Jon and Scott McKee in California. Jon and his wife Karen were the in-laws while Scott was their son who had been married to Sheryl. I talked with Karen last week, and then left a message for Scott who forwarded my message to Sheryl.

Today Sheryl called and we talked about the possibility of her mother being my mom's mom (My/our Grandma Viola Lundberg). What I found out is that Sheryl is actually Viola's Granddaughter, adopted by Viola after her birthmom, Sharon (Viola's daughter), had her as a teen. There was alcohol in the family and seems plenty of meanness and abuse. I know that all of this is confusing. Seems that Viola had four children from her marriage to a Clarence or Clinton Arnot (Sharon, Shirley, Rae Marie and Terrance) in the state of Washington. Sheryl was raised in Everett, Washington, until she was around 12 when they then moved to California. We had always been told that she (our Viola) was in Washington, but didn't know where to search.

Sheryl had always thought that Viola was born in Illinois as that's where her social security number was from. (We knew Viola's ss# was from Illinois as Viola and Ella's dad took his two daughters to Joliet, IL, back when Viola was 15-16 or so, and Ella was 8 or 9 or so.) I asked Sheryl if she thought that Viola could have given up a daughter when she was young, and she said that anything was possible! She also thought that there may have been another marriage prior to Arnot. I asked Sheryl if she knew what Viola's maiden name was, then I went into shock. She said it was "Pennington." I told her that Pennington County in MN is where all of our Viola's family is from at Thief River Falls. So there are almost too many coincidences here. She had no idea what any mother or father's names might be - just Pennington.

I am sending on the two pictures we have of Viola at age 7 and about 12-13 to Sheryl to see if she thinks there might be a resemblance. She can think of only two pictures that might exist of Viola, but she's not sure where they might be. Sheryl is a flight attendant now in New Jersey and travels everywhere frequently. She is very willing to meet any of us. She had a very tough upbringing. She and Scott have two sons together and get along really well. I very much enjoyed talking with her today, and couldn't thank her enough for calling.

Mom and I have been on the phone a few times today - coming up with questions to ask Sheryl in my letter to her. It's all so unbelievable after all these years of searching, but I have always had great hope.

I will keep you all informed as we learn more. Elodee, I apologize for not keeping you in the loop sooner. Do any of these last names ring a bell for you in your memories? I know that Viola had said that she was going to disappear and no one would find her, so a maiden name change to Pennington might have been what she told people out west. Her family out there would never have asked due to the alcoholism and abuse. Sheryl has not been in contact with her birthmom, Sharon, in more than 12 years, an she doesn't know where the other sister and brother (aunt and uncle) are. The daughter, Shirley, died when she was four years old.

Thanks for all of your continued interest in our endeavor, adventure and quest! I feel like a giddy private eye, high on adrenalin, about to solve the biggest mystery of a lifetime. I certainly am a tired gal tonight and will sleep well. Take care. Love, Cathy ~ Mom : ) ~"