Art Binnie, the deputy superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, doesn't read the personal ads in the classified columns. But a friend who does called Binnie and told him his life story was in an ad in Seattle's daily newspapers.
As a result, Binnie, 57, flew to Atlanta two weeks ago to meet his 64-year-old brother for the first time.Binnie said the first time he knew of the ad was when a woman called him and read it to him over the phone.
The ad read: "Wish to locate my brother, Lavern Arthur S., born Oct. 7, 1930, in Black Diamond, Wa. Mother passed away after his birth. Believe he was raised by some good people named Binney (?). Reward for information leading to a reunion. Contact J.R. Sherwood," with an address and phone number in Lawrenceville, Ga.
"When she read the ad, I said, `That's me,"' Binnie said.
Binnie said he was amazed at the similarities between himself and his brother, Jim Sherwood.
"My brother, Jim, and I speak alike and have the same physical characteristics," said Binnie, who discovered he also has another brother, a half-brother and a half-sister in Utah. "Both of us have a drooping left eyelid, which is a Sherwood characteristic."
Their religious beliefs are not as similar, however. "All my relatives are Mormons, and I'm a Catholic," Binnie said.
He said his family even went looking for him in Black Diamond in Southeast King County.
After his mother died, Art was adopted by the Binnie family, who moved to Seattle, where he graduated from Franklin High School.
From talking with his brother, Binnie learned that his father died shortly after remarrying. The family was living in Utah at the time.
An older brother, Bill, then 17, went out on his own, but Jim, two years younger, and a now-deceased brother, Don, then 13, were placed in an orphanage run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The half-brother and half-sister stayed with their mother.
When he was 12 years old, Binnie was told he was adopted, and he had no contact with or knowledge about any of his birth family members until he was told about the newspaper ad.
Binnie's birth father and his adoptive father were Scottish immigrants who knew each other from their youth in Glasgow, he said.
He isn't bitter about being given up and says he can imagine the dilemma faced by a Black Diamond coal miner in the 1930s during the Depression. "I feel like I was the lucky one," he said.
He plans to visit his brother and half-sister in Salt Lake City in October.