It all began five years ago when Carol Booth of Devlin received a phone call from London, England.
She never expected it would be from her half-sister, Margaret Getty, whom she hadn’t seen in more than three decades.
Eventually, Getty decided to take a two-week vacation to Canada for her 40th birthday and celebrate it with a very special person—her older sister here.
From July 26 to Aug. 8, the two were reunited, enjoying every moment they shared while creating new memories and catching up on each other’s lives.
“I’ve always known I had a sister," Getty said. ”Sometimes you reach a maturity in your life and you want to pursue it.
“It was bugging me and I thought, it’s now or never.”
Booth was three-and-a-half when she left England in 1947 when her father, a soldier, wanted to return to Canada. Her mother stayed behind.
“It was hard times during the war so I came to Canada with my father,” Booth recalled.
Getty was born in London more than 10 years after Booth had left. But the 14-year age difference didn’t separate the two as much as the distance did.
Booth knew she had a half-sister so in 1962, at age 19, she went back to England for a month to re-discover her roots—and met Getty, who was five years old by then.
Thirty-five years later, it was Getty who felt the need to find and meet her other family members.
Through a cousin in England whom both sisters were corresponding with, Getty was able to track down Booth’s telephone number and made verbal contact over Christmas back in 1992.
The two later decided it was time to meet in person again and Getty, married with two children, made plans to visit Canada.
“I wasn’t worried about [meeting] because my last thoughts of Carol when I was young was this lady taking me to Primary,” said Getty.
“I felt it was time for it all to come out.”
The fun and excitement began for the two women as soon as they met. But recognizing each other at the Winnipeg airport proved to be a task all in its own.
“She didn’t recognize me. I had to find her in the airport,” Getty laughed.
Booth admitted she was playing a guessing game there but fortunately her friend, Betty McTavish, who drove into Winnipeg with her, scanned the arriving passengers for any physical resemblance to Booth.
Since then, the two have spent quality time together in Devlin. In fact, Getty said it wasn’t until 48 hours after she arrived that she had a chance to put her head down.
For both, it seemed as though there was so much to do in so little time.
“She tells me her favourite colour and I said, ‘That’s my favourite colour,’" remarked Booth. "It’s as if we’ve known each other all our lives.”
“It’s as though there hasn’t been a gap,” echoed Getty.
Booth received many special gifts from her mother during her last trip to England 35 years ago. Some of the memories and significance of those gifts had been forgotten but Getty was able to remind her sister of their importance during her two-week visit.
“This is the other side of my family," said Booth. "I’ve always known who I’ve been but this is very, very special. It’s like something is complete.”
“It’s brought me back to life. It’s more than just words, it’s real now,” Getty agreed.
Booth’s family, including her husband, Jack, and their four children, and friends have gone out of their way to help make Getty’s stay a pleasant and memorable one.
Getty had the chance to swim, waterski, go on a speed boat and paddle boat, fish for walleye, and taste blueberries.
“I’m well travelled but being on the lakes is the prettiest thing. You can’t really sit,” said Getty.
Both agreed it would be hard leaving each other.
Getty’s niece, Alyson, whom she met for the first time, found a common bond.
“When me and my aunt talk, we have things in common. We always talk about music and it sounds interesting [in England],” she said.
Booth already has started making plans to visit her sister and mother in England next year, and her daughter, Alyson, is set on going, too.
“I’ll come [over] for my mother and let her know the family is continuing,” said Booth.
For these two sisters, their special relationship has just begun.