Denny and Karen Vinar were teens in high school in a small Minnesota town when they fell in love.“I only lived two blocks from the school, so he would walk me home after school practically every day,” Karen Vinar told WCCO.That love resulted in 15-year-old Karen getting pregnant in 1961.
The times being what they were, Karen was shipped off to a home for unwed mothers.She was only allowed to hold her daughter for about an hour before she was forced to give her up for adoption after she was born.“That was the last we saw of her. We had a photograph taken of her and that was the last of our memories of her,” said Karen.
But that wasn’t the end of their relationship. Denny went off to serve in the military and proposed to Karen when he returned.
She said “yes” but her parents pretty much said “no.”
They wanted her to get an education and the two ended up going their separate ways.
“No, I never stopped thinking about her. She has, I say, a corner of my heart. No, she was always there,” said Denny.
Though they thought of each other fondly, they never thought they’d be reunited over 50 years later.
After 53 years, Denny decided that the thoughts of Karen had to stop and that he had to find her.
He tracked her down online and left her a message at work in Everett, Washington.
“I called back immediately and said – how did you find me?” said Karen.
They ended up talking non-stop until he finally flew out to see her.
“The feeling was just absolutely, totally unbelievable,” Denny told The Journal of seeing his love again.
Karen immediately recognized his sparkling eyes and dimples.
“It was just magic. She got out of the car and she ran around and she jumped on me and said babe, you’re home,” Denny said.
The couple was married 36 hours later and moved to the Twin Cities.
Even though they were finally together they still felt like something was missing. Denny suggested that they look for their daughter.
They worked with Lutheran Social Services to try and find their daughter Jean who got a letter in the mail.
Her husband received the letter from the adoption agency and broke the news to her.
“When I came home from work one day he told me, I think you better sit down. In the whole 30 years of my marriage he never told me I think you should sit down,” said Jean.
“I don’t think there are many feelings that would compare to not ever having seen your parents and then they just walk in the door. It’s a very emotional, moving experience,” said Jean. Then she got a closer look at her dad. “When he walked through the door and I looked at him I was like, oh my gosh. Because I’ve never, ever looked like anybody before. Never. Ever.”
Now that the family has been reunited, they have a good relationship.