When Karen Richards of Columbus finally found her brother Kim “Larry” Rogers’ address, you could understand her being skeptical – after all, she’d been searching not for just years, but decades.
“There was no doubt in my mind, it was him,” Richards told 10TV News on Wednesday, despite that she hadn’t seen him in 51 years. After exhaustive efforts by both brother and sister, the connection was initially made about a year ago, and this week Rogers was finally able to pay a visit from his home in Forth Worth, Texas. Four years his senior, Karen’s recollections of Kim are a little bit clearer than vice-versa.
“I remember Mom having him out in the back yard,” said Richards, pointing to one of many photos from an old album, “like the picture we have, with me on the bike and Mom holding him up."
Meanwhile, Rogers explained, “All I remembered was having a sister, I may have had some memory of what she looked like. Maybe, I don't remember."
Their mother passed away when they were both still quite young and living in their native California. They had different fathers though, and their respective fathers took them in different directions. Years passed, then decades, and despite the relatively recent advent of social media - both were stymied in their search for one another. It didn’t help that names had changed.
“I don’t go by ‘Kim’ anymore,” said Rogers, explaining that to reduce gender confusion he began going by “Larry” in business and daily life, starting in his 20s. “She doesn’t go by ‘Lawson’ anymore,” referring to Karen’s maiden name.
What’s more, Richards doesn’t have a Facebook profile. Nevertheless, perseverance paid off when one of Richards’ co-workers found the long-lost brother, using an on-line search. Richards immediately sent a hand written letter to Rogers, and thus began what felt to Richards like an interminable, suspenseful wait.
“That was the longest three weeks I’ve ever waited for.”
For his part, Rogers keeps a busy schedule, typically working seven days a week. But he also didn’t know what to make of the letter at first. "If it's not a scam, could it actually, really be my sister,” he said, explaining that he figured it might be a play for money from some unscrupulous business. But he realized as he read the letter – and with the passage of time without a follow-up note – there was no appeal for cash. First he responded with a written letter of his own, then came hours and hours of phone conversations. Finally, Rogers was able to free himself and fly to Columbus, arriving three days ago.
The reunion has been a litany of emotions. “There’s something special about having a brother and sister, that I never had,” Rogers told 10TV, wiping back tears, describing his life as a contradiction of being an only child, but not an only child. Richards likens her quest to finding the last piece of a puzzle, saying she simply could not let go of either hope or determination.
“It's done. He's part of me, and he's always going to be part of me,” she said.
And although he heads home to Texas on Thursday, Rogers agrees and is looking forward to what can be, more than to the time lost.
“I want to stay connected, of course, never lose connection with her again.”