(Above: Long-lost brothers Ted Cornell (left) and Larry Batchelar met in Stittsville recently for the first time.)
It took over 65 years and some help from social media for Larry Batchelar to discover he had siblings.
He met one of them – his brother Ted Cornell – for the first time in Stittsville on November 27.
Four years ago Batchelar received a Facebook message that made him question his family history. A woman from Atlanta, Georgia named Mary Lee Smith was claiming to be his sister. She also said he had two brothers. One named Keith died in 1969 in Toronto. But the other – Ted – was still alive and residing in Victoria, B.C.
“I didn’t believe her at first,” said Batchelar. “So I confronted my mother.”
He didn’t want to go into personal details, but said his mother told him it was true, and nothing more.
“All of my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family knew all about it,” he added.
When Batchelar’s father was called to fight in the Korean War in the 1950s, the family had to give up three of their four children.
“My mother just couldn’t look after four of us,” he said.
The family kept Batchelar (b. 1947), but gave up Cornell, (b. 1950) and the other two siblings. Cornell said he has known about the situation for over 50 years.
“But I didn’t know where he was,” he said. “It was just one of those things the family didn’t discuss.”
Batchelar, on the other hand, spent his whole life under the false impression he was an only child. So when his long lost brother travelled to Stittsville to meet him last weekend, he was ecstatic.
“It was a little bit emotional when we first met,” Batchelor says. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Cornell credits social media for finally bringing them together.
“Now with media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, contact can be made so much easier,” he said. “Years ago this (reunion) could never have happened.”