Social media is credited with reuniting a Manitoba writer and her biological mother right here in Edmonton.
Marianne Curtis was born here, but wound up settling provinces away after being adopted decades ago.
After her adoptive mom died in 2009, on a whim she sent out Facebook messages to people around Edmonton sharing her birth surname, which she’d learned in 2005.
But after finding a cousin, a reunion with her birth mother was not far behind. One day, she got a call, and the voice at the other end couldn’t have been friendlier.
“I was terrified. I didn’t want to let her down,” said Curtis of the first conversation with the retired elementary school teacher.
Soon after Curtis, now with four children of her own, spent her first birthday – her 41st – with the woman who’d given her life.
“It was like I’d never been gone,” said Curtis.
The pair is now quite close and speak often on the phone and visit when they can, said Curtis, who’s expecting her mother to make the trip for her son’s high school graduation.
“Apparently she’d been lighting candles every year for me for 40 years,” said Curtis, whose memoir about her life, Finding Gloria, will launch May 1.
The book chronicles her struggles, including fleeing an abusive adoptive home at 15.
When she went back to high school in 2004, it was an assignment that prompted her to first pen about her painful life, and her teacher was so moved he suggested a book.
Curtis said she found the process of reliving her memories painful and therapeutic.
“I’ve now been able to talk about my life openly. I just hope it helps people,” she said.
Carol Walsh, Curtis’ biological mother, said she was initially surprised when she sought her out, but couldn’t be happier to be reunited after all these years.
“All I can say is I am so extremely excited and thankful we found each other,” said Walsh, who still lives in Edmonton. “Words can’t explain it.”
She said she hasn’t read the book yet, but she has a copy and is “very proud.”
- Marianne Curtis writes for the Dawson Trail Dispatch in southern Manitoba.
- Finding Gloria, a title taken from her birth name, Gloria Jean, is her first novel.
- Early copies are available at mariannecurtis.wordpress.com/finding-gloria/ and will be for sale in bookstores, on Amazon.com and Kindle.