“Best Friend.” A fairly simple title, name, role. Throw “childhood” at the front, and you’ve got an epic history, one that chronicles adventure, learning, and growth. The world is yours for the taking, and you’ve got your Best Friend along for the ride. Yes, a childhood best friend is certainly something to have. Now, what if, decades after the last time you had seen your childhood best friend, you found out you were actually siblings? Sounds incredible, right? Well, it turns out, that exact thing really happened!
Duncan Cumming, 72, and Ron Cole, 71, grew up streets apart in an Ottawa neighborhood. The boys attended Mutchmor Public School in Ottawa, and both have fond memories of spending time at one another’s homes after school, trips to the beach, and whatever shenanigans and/or hijinks 12-13 year old boys got into in the 50’s. For two or three years, the pair were close friends, up until Cole and his family moved away. They wouldn’t hear from one another for nearly 60 years.
While Cumming (who now lives in Saskatchewan) and Cole (a resident of the isle of Guernsey) share a birth mother, both were raised by adoptive families. Cole contacted an organization called Parent Finders Ottawa approximately ten years ago – so long ago that he had essentially forgotten he had. The organization had researched Cole’s case and put together that he had a brother, Duncan Cumming. Cole felt the name was familiar, and shortly after his phone call with Parent Finders, he received a call from Cumming himself.
Cumming, it turned out, had been searching for his biological mother for over 25 years. Upon learning of her passing, he continued looking for the brother and sister he discovered while searching records. The pair’s sister, Diane Beattie, was born in Ottawa in 1952. She was never adopted, and stayed with the Children’s Aid Society until she was 18. The newly connected (or reconnected, depending on how you want to look at it) brothers are planning a reunion in Ottawa later this year. Here’s hoping, maybe with the aid of Parent Finders Ottawa, Diane can join them.