Long-lost cousins find their way home to Ingenia Gardens Melton

REUNITED: Valda Dawson (left) with cousin, and neighbour, Dorothy Wallis.
REUNITED: Valda Dawson (left) with cousin, and neighbour, Dorothy Wallis.

IN A time before smartphones and social media it could be easy to lose contact with family and friends when they moved to another town or city.

This is something two residents, and cousins, at Ingenia Gardens Melton in the east Melbourne suburb of Brookfield, know all too well having lost contact more than six decades ago.

The cousins, Dorothy Wallis and Valda Dawson recently enjoyed the happy surprise of being reunited after Valda moved to the same seniors rental community that her cousin Dorothy had moved to less than three months earlier.

The two ladies grew up together and lost contact after Valda and her husband moved away from the area to start their life together.

"The last time I saw Dorothy was at my wedding day which was more than 66 years ago," Valda said.

"I honestly never thought we would see each other again, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out she was my new neighbour decades later."

Dorothy said that at first, they did not recognise each other as it had been almost a lifetime since they last spoke - but soon realised they were family.

"As she was new to our community, I decided to strike up a conversation with Valda by mentioning I had a cousin with the same name - at this point we didn't recognise each other," Dorothy said.

"I then mentioned my cousin had married the man who started Dawson Pest Control, she then looked at me and exclaimed 'that's me!'.

"It was amazing to think my cousin - who I had not seen in decades - was sitting right next to me, it was a wonderful feeling."

Ingenia Gardens Melton community manager Nada Mecanovic said it was lovely to see the two ladies find each other again.

"Often we have residents who move to our community to find new friends, however, I have never before seen them literally find their family," Ms Mecanovic said.

"It is heart-warming to see them rekindling their friendship from so many years ago and reminiscing on their shared family memories.

"Spending time with these two extraordinary ladies it is obvious to anyone that they are full of joy and are so happy to be re-connected after all these years."

The cousins recently celebrated the festive season together at the Ingenia Gardens Melton and look forward to celebrating many more holidays and milestones together.

Ingenia is an operator, owner and developer of seniors' independent living communities, including Ingenia Gardens and Ingenia Lifestyle.

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This story Cousins reunited after six decades first appeared on The Senior.