On November 21st, the search for Doris suddenly got hot. My investigation revealed she was living in a very small town in Northern New Mexico. She had no telephone and her only address was a post office box.
Because this town had such a tiny population, I was sure that I could find Doris if we flew to Albuquerque, rented a car for the drive north and talked to some of the locals to find where Doris was living.
I called Shawna, told her what I'd learned, and I asked her to book us on the first flight to Albuquerque the next day.
Arriving in Albuquerque at 9:30 AM the next morning, we rented a car and began driving north. Shawna seemed anxious and complained her stomach hurt.
"I called my Grandma Nellie last night," Shawna told me during the drive into town. "She said she had prayed for me and she knew everything would work out all right."
When we first arrived in town, I decided to leave Shawna in a small cafe while I searched for the house alone. If I saw her mother, I would make the initial approach, then come back for Shawna if her mother agreed to the reunion.
Now, back at the cafe where I'd left her, I told Shawn what I observed once I located her mother's house. I also told her it appeared as if several children were also living at the house. Shawna's face lit up as she now imagined she might learn that she has sisters or brothers or, best of all, both!
Then we discussed the possibility that Doris may have been alerted that I was looking for her. It was a small town and I had already asked questions and directions from several of it's residents. Did someone get to Doris before we had a chance to talk to her?
If Doris had been alerted, that might explain the barking dog that had appeared suddenly on her front porch.
The people at the cafe seemed to be getting curious about who Shawna was and why she had been waiting there so long. Strangers stand out in tiny towns like this, so I knew I couldn't leave her alone any longer.
We formulated a plan to determine if Doris was home. Shawna would go with me to watch the house I had discovered earlier. If the children came home from school, we'd know Doris was either there, or she'd be home soon. She wouldn't leave the children alone for long.
With so much to do outside in the bright daylight, there was no way they'd stay inside. No, the children would go outside to play, I presumed. The outside of this property was a child's paradise. That yard would demand they come out to play.
If the kids came home, went inside the house and stayed, we'd know Doris was probably in the house keeping them from going out.
We'd have to assume Doris was not at the house if the children didn't come home from school. If she did know of our presence in town and she was trying to avoid us, she might just pick the kids up from school and take them to another location, in which case they may not be coming home this evening or until Doris felt we had left town.
We discussed our plan. If and when we located Doris, Shawna and I would separate. I'd go talk to Doris alone and evaluate the situation. If Doris was receptive and interested in meeting her daughter, I'd let her know Shawna was nearby and I'd offer to bring her to the house so they could meet.
If she was not receptive, I would not mention Shawna had come with me on the trip, but I would get as much information from her as she would allow. Then I'd pick Shawna up and we'd go back to Los Angeles.
Later we would write to Doris and try to persuade her to meet with Shawna sometime in the future.
We agreed on the plan and headed for the ranch house where we parked about three hundred yards away. The car was in plain view. If Doris was home, she would be able to see our car but we were too far away for her to see if anyone was with me. Slouched in the front seat, Shawna complained again of an upset stomach. Nerves were taking their toll.
At 4:15 a school bus dropped off four children at the cattle gate blocking the dirt driveway leading to Doris's house. I got out of the car and stood near the front bumper looking through binoculars.
The children - two boys and two girls - walked to the house and went inside. After a minute or so inside, they came outside to play.
Then, suddenly, a slender blond hair woman dressed in a red sweat outfit and tennis shoes, stepped onto the porch and looked down the road in our direction.
Doris was home!
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