Searching A Mystery From My Past
When I was a kid, I loved reading Nancy Drew books.
I had every one of those yellow hardback beauties, but sadly I left them behind when I got married, and they are long gone. It is my hope to one day replace that collection.
I miss those books and could really use them right about now.
This morning I have been channeling my inner Nancy Drew, and trying to solve, “The Mystery of the Missing Exchange Student.”
In 1978, I was a sophomore at Bonneville High School, in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
One morning as the faculty made the morning announcements over the P.A. system, a request was put out to be a host family to a group of exchange students who were coming to our area from all over the world.
They would fly in during the fall quarter and stay for six months, attending our school and learning about the American culture.
Racing home that afternoon, I asked my parents to be a host family, and to my surprise, they said yes.
In October, my family and I met about 15 students from various countries and found we were matched with a young girl name Maria. She was a year older than me, spoke a little English and was from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Maria was shy initially, but who wouldn’t be flying over 6,000 miles away from home to a foreign country and to a family you never met before. Talk about being out of your comfort zone.
It didn’t take her long to warm up to our crazy family, and while our friendship developed quickly, in the end, we referred to one another as sisters.
Maria spent the holidays with us and became part of our family. There were late nights in our room laughing as teenage girls giggled over boys. There were the bickering moments when there didn’t seem to be enough space for both of us in the same house. And there were tears of sadness when we stood at the airport hugging one another goodbye with promises of seeing one another again.
After Maria returned home, we wrote letters for a few months, but life got in the way, and we lost track of one another.
Years later, as I finally found an old address, I wrote a letter telling her of my dad’s passing. The address was incorrect, but whoever received it, knew where to forward it and Maria replied. But sadly, we once again lost touch.
Finding People From Our Past
I have thought about her a lot over the years and would love to reconnect, but my attempts thus far have been futile.
Sao Paulo is a big place, and this world is even bigger.
Today, I am not sure if she still lives in Sao Paulo and even if she does, she is married, so her name has changed.
But here I sit, writing this to the world wide web with the hopes that somehow she feels me and by some miracle, we once again find each other.
I could use all the help I can get.
Here is what little I know:
In 1978, Maria Teresa de Vilhena Pasqual of Sao Paulo, Brazil, flew to the US as an exchange student.
She had two older brothers: Ulysses & Andre’.
I don’t remember her parent’s name although they might be Ulysses and Teresa.
At some point, she married and had three children. I do not remember her married name.
It’s not much to go on, but the web offers me a little hope as I think I have found their names online, but no contact information.
Time to polish my magnifying glass and do more detective work of my own.
Wish me luck!