May 16, 2020 | News | No Comments
PHOENIX, AZ — For decades, Steve Dennis found the story of his birth a little too bizarre to get into too deeply. He was Lancaster, Ohio’s, “Little Boy Blue-eyes,” the infant two bread delivery men discovered tucked in a box inside a phone booth on a cold January morning in 1954. That established what he was — the central character in a mystery that would go unsolved for decades — but not who he was.
There were no clues about his name or the name of the person who had abandoned him about three or four hours before the bread delivery men, fortunately, saw something stirring in a box. It wasn’t even clear how long he’d been in the phone booth when the delivery guys found him, but it was long enough that he was cold to the touch, like a bottle of milk left with him, according to reports in the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette at the time.
Had he been kidnapped? Had he been left in Lancaster by a passing motorist? What had been his life in the two months before his “official” birth date, the day he was found in the phone booth?
He was adopted in 1955 by Stanley and Vivian Dennis, who then moved to Arizona. A retired chiropractor living in Phoenix, he has been married to the same woman, Maria, for 22 years and they are the parents of two children. He was in the Peace Corps and traveled extensively. He told the Arizona Republic newspaper he’s had a good life.
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Dennis had known since he was 3 that he was adopted, but didn’t learn until he was a teenager that he had been abandoned in a phone booth — a story he found too outlandish to be true. Still, he was curious and went to Lancaster to find out what he could, returning with the same questions that were his traveling companion on the journey east.
The search for his birth parents lay dormant for decades until Dennis’ two children, ages 18 and 14, began asking questions about his heritage and others he couldn’t answer. The kids were curious and persistent, and they agreed as a family he would take a DNA test through Ancestry.com.
Such websites take a lot of the sleuthing out of genealogy searches. When Dennis got the results of his test back in January, he also received a message from a man who was a genetic match — a first cousin. Sure enough, he had heard family lore throughout his life about a baby who had been left at a phone booth.
“He said ‘I think I know who your mother is. We’ve heard throughout our lives that there’s a baby that we’re related to that was left in a telephone booth,’ ” Dennis told the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette. “It was this like this hidden secret.”
The newly discovered cousin connected Dennis with a half-sister living in Baltimore, Maryland, who had also heard the story of the baby in the phone booth. After her DNA test confirmed the sibling relationship, she connected him with their mother, who also lives in Baltimore. They’re planning to meet later this month.
Dennis is getting bits and pieces of the time before he was left in the phone booth. His mother was 18 and traveling with Dennis’ father when she went into labor and gave birth at an Ohio hospital. He agreed to marry her, but only if they left the baby behind when they returned to Maryland. After forcibly taking Little Boy Blue-eyes from his mother, he left the infant phone booth and ran out on his mother.
“After the baby was gotten rid of — myself — he disappeared,” Dennis said in the video. “Nobody knows where he went. So these sisters are half sisters. But to me that’s a lot, because considering growing up an only child, it’s better than nothing.”
Dennis said he would like to know his actual birthday, but understands his mother doesn’t recall it.
“I’m not going to make a real big deal about this. I’ll just take whatever she gives me and leave it at that,” he told the Lancaster newspaper. “I mean you can’t hassle an 85-year-old woman . So whatever she feels comfortable saying to me, I’ll take. It’s more than I had before.”
You can watch the video below:
Photo via Shutterstock / media_digital
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