A sweet hello, after a long goodbye

Two young girls who wanted to step into one another’s shoes recently stepped in one another’s arms.

The reunion was as sweet as April sunshine.

How they reconnected is a delightful tale.

We’ll begin the story in Oregon logging camps in the late 1920s. Two families followed work from town to town. Dolores Zonich Osborne was an only child. Her father hauled trees to the railroad yard. Norma Olson Ingram lived with a half-dozen siblings. Ingram’s father was a filer at the camps.

"She was my best friend," said Osborne, 73. "Our families visited back and forth."

The shy Osborne remembers the sting of prejudice. Her Yugoslavian name was not as American as apple pie. She adored the bustling, accepting home of her best friend.

"We would play on a big hill behind her house that was filled with pine trees," Osborne said. "We sat above the house on a huge offshoot."

Older children tugged little ones up to perch on the massive branch.

Both families eventually settled near Klamath Falls, Ore. When Osborne was 12, her father moved the family to the Yakima area, where they leased a small farm.

"When I said goodbye to Norma," Osborne said, "I thought I would move back."

Tragedy struck. Her father died two months after they moved to the farm. When his heart exploded, his only daughter ran to fetch a doctor. She pedaled a bicycle with all her might down a long lane, then a neighbor took her to a country store with a phone.

Her father was dead when the doctor arrived.

"Life changed for mother and me," Osborne said. "We were strangers in the community."

Her mother worked in a fruit warehouse. Osborne retreated into her solitary world.

"I kept thinking about Norma," Osborne said. "I thought about crossing the big river to see her."

Let’s hurry through gloomy years of poverty. Osborne found no friends at school. She volunteered to shave men’s beards at a nursing home and used rollers to give elderly women curls.

Life turned to brighter colors when she married. Her husband, Nolan, served in Korea. Osborne and her mother traveled through Klamath Falls in 1951 to pick up the soldier. On their way, they stopped at the Olson home.

Osborne got her best friend’s address, but lost it in the rush to pick up her husband.

Her family moved to Monroe in 1972. Her son and daughter still live in the area. The widowed Osborne lost her beloved mother more than a year ago.

She never forgot her best friend. She made calls to Oregon, to no avail. The gifted painter spent time at her easel, read and sewed.

"I kind of gave up," Osborne said. "I thought maybe I would search again in the spring. I thought maybe the next year I would just get in the car and go to Klamath Falls."

None of that was necessary. She asked her son, an Internet buff, if he would find her friend.

Her son called in just a few days.

"Get a pen," he said. "I’ve got Norma’s number."

At that point, Osborne used both hands to grab the sides of her head as if she were wearing a hat in the wind.

"I still get chills," she said.

Soon she heard her best friend’s soft voice on the other end of the phone.

"I said, ‘This is Dolores Zonich Osborne,’" Osborne said.

"Oh my goodness," Ingram replied.

Osborne was delighted recently to take a trip to Ingram’s home in Nevada. Years melted away as the pair reconnected. They keep in touch by phone and the Ingrams want Osborne to pay another visit.

The pair discovered a wonderful memory. Osborne always thought her friend’s home was rich with family. Ingram noticed Osborne’s mother’s rayon stockings and thought that family was rich.

Sixty years later, they know friendship made them wealthy.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

Bothell
2 injured in Bothell Everett Highway crash

The highway was briefly reduced to one northbound lane while police investigated the three-car crash Saturday afternoon.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
On I-5 in Everett, traffic nightmare is reminder we’re ‘very vulnerable’

After a police shooting shut down the freeway, commutes turned into all-night affairs. It was just a hint of what could be in a widespread disaster.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Judge reduces bail for driver accused of killing Marysville trooper

After hearing from Raul Benitez Santana’s family, a judge decreased bail to $100,000. A deputy prosecutor said he was “very disappointed.”

Pet detective Jim Branson stops to poke through some fur that Raphael the dog found while searching on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Everett, Washington. Branson determined the fur in question was likely from a rabbit, and not a missing cat.(Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lost a pet? Pet detective James Branson and his dogs may be able to help

James Branson, founder of Three Retrievers Lost Pet Rescue, helps people in the Seattle area find their missing pets for $350.

Whidbey Renaissance Faire volunteers pose in their costumes. (Photo by Bree Eaton)
Faire thee well: Renaissance is coming to Whidbey Island

The volunteer-run fair May 25 and 26 will feature dancers, a juggler, ‘Fakespeare,’ various live music shows and lots of food.

Community Transit leaders, from left, Chief Communications Officer Geoff Patrick, Zero-Emissions Program Manager Jay Heim, PIO Monica Spain, Director of Maintenance Mike Swehla and CEO Ric Ilgenfritz stand in front of Community Transit’s hydrogen-powered bus on Monday, May 13, 2024, at the Community Transit Operations Base in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New hydrogen, electric buses get trial run in Snohomish County

As part of a zero-emission pilot program from Community Transit, the hydrogen bus will be the first in the Puget Sound area.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Video: Man charged at trooper, shouting ‘Who’s the boss?’ before shooting

The deadly shooting shut down northbound I-5 near Everett for hours. Neither the trooper nor the deceased had been identified as of Friday.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Road rage, fatal police shooting along I-5 blocks traffic near Everett

An attack on road workers preceded a report of shots fired Thursday, snarling freeway traffic in the region for hours.

The Port of Everett and Everett Marina on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is Port of Everett’s proposed expansion a ‘stealth tax?’ Judge says no

A Snohomish resident lost a battle in court this week protesting what he believes is a misleading measure from the Port of Everett.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.