Cousins find each other after 40 years apart
Guy Fussell, who is 86 years old, could have gone the rest of his life without being reunited with one of his first and dearest friends, his cousin Clyde, who is 83.
But with the help of their children and the Internet, the Fussell cousins have been able to share memories spanning more than 40 years since their last visit.
"After the war, the last time we saw each other was at my dad's funeral, about 1949," Guy said. "He left me his hardware store, I was about 22 and Clyde, he was about 19, came up from east Texas and helped me run it for a while."
After helping Guy, Clyde returned to the Army and made a career of service to his country.
"That may have been why it was so hard to track him down," Sandra McNatt, Guy's daughter said. "Daddy and my sibling had tried to find him in the past. Then out of nowhere, Daddy mentioned him to me."
"I was over at her house and I said 'I have hunted Clyde for so long and it would be so nice to see him again,'" Guy said. "We use to run around together when we were young, and I had been upset with not being able to find him after all these years. I don't even know why I mentioned it, but I told her, 'I would give anything if I could find Clyde.'"
The cousins, whose fathers were brothers, each spent time serving their country during World War II.
"Clyde went to the South Pacific and I went to the European Theater," Guy said. "After that it has been real difficult trying to find each other."
The Fussells believe the reunion would not have been possible without the Internet.
"I would be gone and have never seen him again," Guy said.
Sandra thinks the reunion may have increased in importance to her father recently because Guy is the last of five siblings still alive.
"To be able to have someone from the past to connect with, it's been wonderful," Guy said.
Guy and Clyde became close at a young age when their fathers traveled from Taylor, Arkansas to east Texas to visit each other.
"Anytime our dads would go to visit one another, we would go along," Guy said. "We got to be real close throughout our younger years during those visits. Then, when Clyde came up and worked for me for a while, we had so many good times ... even went to the movies in Springhill."
Clyde currently resides in Alvarado, Texas and made the drive earlier this month to visit his long-lost cousin.
"I called and spoke with Clyde's daughter-in-law and explained who we were and why we were trying to find Clyde. When Clyde returned our phone calls, he said he was so excited because he had also tried to find Daddy at times throughout all the years. He even came through Minden but didn't know that Daddy had moved here."
Guy moved to Minden approximately 50 years ago and resided at the staff area of the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant for several years.
"He told Daddy on the phone, I'm coming to see you. Dad got very excited at the idea of seeing his long lost cousin, but I was a little apprehensive," Sandra said. "I didn't know if this 83-year-old man was going to drive the whole way, if he was traveling alone. It is about a four-hour drive. After several telephone conversations, he said 'I'm coming even if my daughter can't take me.' And he did. He drove by himself, the whole way to see Daddy."
"He did, he drove all the way, up to my yard," Guy smiled as he remembered being reunited with his lost cousin. "When he drove up, I was just so thrilled to see him. We had a ball while he was here."
Sandra agrees with her father.
"We had such a good visit with him, and you could tell he was just as happy to see Daddy as Daddy was to see him," she said. "They just picked right up and really enjoyed each other's company – I imagine just like when they were young. You could tell they really enjoyed seeing each other."
Guy, who smiled each time he spoke of being reunited with Clyde said, "Finding him and visiting with him, is one of the happiest moments of my life."