May 6, 2005 at 11:39 AM CDT - Updated July 10 at 10:25 PM
Father and Daughter Reunited after 54 Years By: Lauren Keith
Benton, IL - This father and daughter met Wednesday night at Lambert-St. Louis International airport. Dad and daughter hadn't seen each other in fifty years. Even so, they had no trouble spotting one another.
Back in World War II, Bert Atchison met Jutta Wauldroup's mother in Germany. He was a soldier at the time, but Jutta's mom soon moved away from Bert's Army base.
Bert went back to the states, never to see his daughter again, until now. "I never knew his name, until March, and I went to the internet," said Jutta.
Jutta Wauldrop claims her mother never really talked about Jutta's American father. When her mother passed away in March, Jutta found some old letters, written by her mother. That's how she learned the name of her father, Bert Atchison.
Jutta decided it was time to meet her long-lost dad.
She first telephoned him, and then, wrote him this letter. She reads from it: " So, if you're my father, don't worry. I don't want nothing from you--just a picture of you in your twenties. Please believe me, I want no trouble. I just want to know who my father was."
Bert calls this reunion one of the biggest shocks of his life. "When she called, it was really something," he said.
Jutta was pleasantly surprised to see her dad did remember her. He even had pictures of Jutta, as a baby, and of her mother and him dating, back in the 1940s.
Bert claims he always wondered what happened to his daughter and girlfriend, after they moved away from his Army base. "I looked at the pictures in the trunk every now and then, and that kept me in touch," said Bert.
Still, both agree, pictures can't describe the feelings they now have, after meeting again, in person, after all of these years. "I knew her when I saw her," said Bert.
"I think it's just nice. I've never had a father before, and I'm happy to find him alive!" said Jutta.
Even though this father and daughter haven't spent the last fifty years together, Bert's wife claims you'd never know that, now.
"She says she's bull-headed and stubborn--and that just like him!" said Joyce Atchison, Bert’s wife. "I never was like my mother, so what does it mean? I'm just like him!" admits Jutta.
Jutta is Bert’s only biological child. He raised eleven stepchildren. This weekend, they will come to Bert’s Benton, Illinois, home and meet their new sister. Meanwhile, Bert and his wife will travel to Germany this summer to see Jutta, again, and to meet her children.