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Published Thursday May 7th, 2009 at 9:51am

Original Article by Bill Duke, Editor

Having been separated from his younger brother and sister at a young age, Strathmore resident Jim Bob Geddes often wondered what kind of people his siblings turned out to be. But not in a thousand years could he have imagined a scenario wherein his sister Anita would be discovered to have been living only minutes from his home in Strathmore.

Born in Calgary, Jim Bob and his four siblings, Herb, Harry, Mark and Anita were split up following their parents’ divorce.

Herb, Harry and Jim Bob moved with their father to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario while Mark and Anita stayed in Alberta with their mother.

When Jim Bob’s mother was killed in an automobile accident, Mark and Anita were put up for adoption. That tidbit of knowledge would be the last thing Jim Bob would know about his siblings for many years.

Jim Bob eventually moved back to Alberta, and has been living in Strathmore since 1996. His brother Herb remained in Ontario.

“Harry, who was registered with the adoption agency, committed suicide in 2004. When he passed, my brother Herb put his name on the adoption registry, hoping we would find (Mark and Anita),” said Jim Bob.

“We had absolutely zero contact. We had no knowledge of their whereabouts unless we got it third or fourth-hand. The last we heard they were in Edmonton.”

Due to adoption law, information cannot be released about an adoptee unless they register themselves on the list. Therefore, Herb and Jim Bob were out of luck unless Mark or Anita registered. Luckily, Anita finally did.

“I grew up with who I thought was my only brother,” said Anita of Mark. For reasons not completely known to her, Mark had not been truthful with Anita in explaining that they had three older siblings.

One day Anita decided to take a look into her family history.

“I decided to find some things out for myself,” she said. “About two weeks after I (registered for the list) the lady from adoptions Canada called and said I had a brother. I said I knew that because I had grown up with him, but she said it was a different brother.

“I was shocked. I’m still kind of baffled over the whole thing.”

When Jim Bob got word from Herb that Anita had been located, he too was stunned.

“They contacted Herb because Anita had signed up for it, looking for us. If she hadn’t come looking for us we never would have found out,” said Jim Bob. “Herb phoned me and said, ‘Are you sitting down? We found Anita and you’ll never guess where she is.’ I said ‘Calgary?’ And he said ‘No, Strathmore.’

“What a miracle! To be without her for that many years and now I can walk over and see her anytime I want. It’s unbelievable.”

Following the revelation, Jim Bob was reminded of a brief encounter he and Anita shared in a local grocery store a while back.

“I stood behind her in Sobeys one time,” he said. “Whenever I see the name Anita I think of my sister. She had her jacket on that said ‘Anita’ and I thought, ‘I wonder if this is my sister.’ I thought, ‘Oh my god, this could be my sister. But naaaaah, that’s too freaky.’”

Both Anita and Jim Bob marvel at the fact that despite their not seeing each other for so many years, they feel very comfortable and at ease when they are together.

“I never got any weird feelings or anything,” explained Anita. “I never felt unnatural or strange going into his house. We see each other at least twice a week now.”

“Even though we spent all those years apart we have many of the same mannerisms,” adds Jim Bob. “It’s like me with boobs, and it’s freaking me out.”

Last month the siblings enjoyed a reunion of sorts when Herb came to visit from Ontario.

While Mark has not yet seen his older brothers, Jim Bob hopes to visit him in Saskatoon sometime in the near future.

In the meantime he plans to continue enjoying his sister’s company while their families get to know each other.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said.

“(My wife and I) have gone over and had dinner and amazingly enough, without actually growing up together it feels as though we did. It was almost one of those paranormal experiences when we started to talk about certain events and times in our lives.

“There are no words to describe it other than to say a piece of me came back to me: something that was missing in my life has come back.”