Father, son find each other after 22 years

March 03, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

PARKSVILLE - The telephone information operators are likely tired of Mark Wilson. For two weeks he bugged them for Kentucky listings for Gary Wilson.

The operators told him that there are 240 Gary Wilsons listed in the state.

For 22 years Mark Wilson said he was the only Wilson in Indiana to whom he was related. Now he had a stack of them to pick through. There was only one he wanted to find - his dad.

Mark Wilson said he called Gary Wilsons in Lincoln County and in Casey County and after talking to hundreds of Garys he had nearly given up.

He asked his mother if she remembered any other relatives around here. She told him about his uncle, a Mike Wilson.


Enter again the information operators. Guessing towns he tried Junction City.


Gary Wilson's brother still lived there and was home when his nephew called.

Mark Wilson asked if he was related to a Gary Wilson, who was in the military years ago. Yes.

"I said I'm Mark Wilson and he said, 'Oh, my God.'"

It took an hour to work up the courage to call

After he got his dad's number it took him an hour to work up the courage to call.

When they did talk, neither could wait, they decided to meet the next day. Mark Wilson made the two-and-half hour journey from his Salem, Ind., home. That night neither of them slept.

Mark Wilson can count on one hand his relatives on his mother's side. When he pulled into his dad's Parksville home there was a house crammed full of family who wanted to meet him - a stepsister, cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts and a stepmother.

"I'm just overwhelmed," he said.

Driving down, Mark Wilson said he thought he just wanted to meet his dad and that it didn't matter if he was rejected. Never did he expect such a warm reception.

Gary Wilson said his son looks the same as the baby pictures, except now the 25-year-old has a goatee.

When his son was 3 years old, his mother packed him up and left Kentucky. Gary Wilson said he looked for his son, but with no social security number and an ex-wife that had remarried, his search was fruitless.

Both said they don't blame his mom and harbor no bad feelings.

"She just wanted a brand new life," Mark Wilson said.

Now the pair want to rebuild their relationship.

Mark Wilson has moved to his dad's, and his helping him with his hobby, drag racing.

They have found other common ground. Both like to fish and hunt. They snore the same and sleep with a blanket over their heads.

"I've been teaching him a lot about cars. He's learning," Gary Wilson said, smiling at his son.

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