It was Tuesday evening 8:20p November 6, just a couple weeks ago and mom (Anna) had been in bed little over an hour (she goes to bed with the chickens at times. Dad used to go even earlier <bless him>) when the home telephone rang. She got up from bed, went out to the big room and answered. It was a lady from California……..
Lizzie Hochstetler; Nappanee, Indiana
The lady made introductions and then said to mom… “65 years ago a young woman named Lizzie Hochstetler from Nappanee, Indiana gave birth to a baby boy in the Chicago area and put him up for adoption in an orphanage there (she believed “Lizzie” was born in 1925 or ‘6). That boy grew to be a man and in time married me”. The lady then told mom that the boy, now her husband, is in poor health and would like to find more information of his birth mother — that’s why she is calling now.
Mom, having just gone to sleep, being a bit little groggy, and… very surprised with this out-of-the-blue information, was not especially receptive and didn’t get the lady’s name and/or contact information. The lady was aware of “Liz having been a restaurant worker” and Mom seems to recall the lady saying “she’d write a letter”. They hung up the telephones.
Mom remembers the lady saying they got the lead information through the Chicago orphanage connections and learned the birth mother’s name to be “Lizzie Hochstetler” and being from Nappanee, Indiana. They recently pursued those leads via “the internet” and the Mennonite archives and she was given mom’s telephone number by a Levi Hochstetler from Nappanee. Mom called brother Levi and Sue — Not them. She then called cousin “Hochstetler Tin Shop” Levi. It was them… they had forwarded mom’s telephone number to the California lady. We’re happy for that.
So… my feelings now are with the gentleman (and his wife/family) from California… believing it would be a blessing if he could find information about the wonderful woman, the wonderful person his birth mother grew to be. To let him know we nieces and nephews all benefited from and by Aunt Liz. She was parts of a second mother at times and an inspiration to all us. She made positive impressions on most everyone she met. Liz was an amazing personality with many of her family and friends, always full of spark and vigor.
I’m trying now to make this a dedicated page, dedicated to Aunt Liz <Lizzie Hochstetler> with all the info and memories I can recall and gather, hopefully to catch the attention of “the lady from California” via her future internet searches. I’ve posted fifty of my “Liz” photos and meta-tagged each with the keywords “Lizzie”, “Elizabeth”, “Hochstetler”, “Nappanee, Indiana”. I’ve included those keywords in the content as often as I can. Maybe one of the search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc will make a connection again (this search qualification takes weeks to happen) and Liz’s boy – our first cousin – can see and learn some of his birth mom’s wonderful personality. He’ll get to know how much she meant to all us nieces and nephews.
Here’s a link to the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange Some one of you might find an avenue to pursue here. Seems to me the more working at this the better.
Some additional info… Mom’s telephone service is thru CENTURY LINK and Levi Sue immediately called them to find the California telephone # and was informed that it will require a court order for that to be released. An Illinois attorney friend (he also provided the Adoption Registry link above) suggested that a law enforcement person in Nappanee might be able to help with this. Do any of you have close contacts with Nappanee Police Dept. personnel?
I wonder if our unknown-to-us first cousin had any awareness throughout the years that he is from an Amish background. I’m assuming he/they know very little about his birth mother.
Liz passed on September 29, 2008.
<you can click on any of the photos to enlarge… then arrow left or right to other images>
This being a memories-of-Liz and information page. Please add yours in the comments section below…. Make Aunt Liz proud.
I have the feeling we’re sharing ourselves with Liz anyways… right now as we’re remembering cause she’s likely looking over our shoulders and reading this as we write. Write a lot, share YOUR memories. and thanks for pitchin’ in cause the more of this we write down now the better our kids and grandkids will know. Family and memories can be huge. I know they are to me. Thanks again, Marvin
You did a fabulous job here, Marvin!