Social media reunites 40 year lost relationship
A heart-warming reunion after 40 years between a Gibraltarian woman who cared for a Northern Irish man when he was a baby recently took place on social media.
Bernie Guzman, Gibraltar, became like an elder sister to Hudson Foster, Northern Ireland, soon after his father was posted to the Rock with the Royal Navy in 1969.
However, Hudson was forced to leave as a three-year-old when his father departed the forces to return home, leaving misty memories of the pair in Gibraltar together.
But social media brought them together again when Hudson came across old letters and photos from Gibraltar which sparked him into an online search.
He posted on the Gibraltar Old Photos Facebook group, desperate to tie up loose ends from his clouded memory and was in luck as the pictures snared Bernie’s attention.
“A work colleague mentioned that she had seen me in an old photo on Facebook. I looked at the photo and I remembered the day clearly. We were out for a walk at the Alameda Gardens,” she said. “I even got slightly nervous looking at the picture because I instantly knew who it was, but I could not understand how this photo had made social media.”
Bernie searched and added Hudson as a friend on Facebook, which he promptly accepted, and they began to piece together their mutual jigsaw puzzled past.
“I was 100 percent certain that it was him,” she said. “It was a shock and very emotional for both of us, but it was fantastic to see someone that I cared for doing so well and having such a beautiful family. It brought tears of joy to my eyes and this is what it must be like for people who have found a lost relative after many years.”
Bernie’s mother was an Irish nurse in Gibraltar and became close friends with the Hudson family, especially with his mother who worked as a midwife.
“As two young Irish women in Gibraltar they both became close friends,” she said. “I used to go everywhere with them and I would often stay overnight at their house at the Rooke.”
Bernie was eight-years-old when Hudson was born and, whereas his parents often babysat her prior to this, the roles soon reversed and she now cared for baby Hudson.
“I remember playing with him like it was yesterday,” she said. “He was so cute to feed and play with. I was like an elder sister and I had two younger brothers, so I was used to being an older sibling.”
The pair would have ‘quite a laugh’ together and when they reunited this year Bernie brought back the memories of changing his nappies and sleeping in same room.
“We had a chuckle about that and I also remember taking Hudson down to Chilton Court and playing on the swings, which were glorious times,” she said.
Hudson was born on 15 September 1971 at the old Royal Naval Hospital and lived close to HMS Rooke, but he remembers very little from those days.
“Going through my parent’s old things last Christmas and finding the photos gave me an immense feeling of joy,” he said. “I have always been very proud to have Gibraltar on my passport as my birthplace and a piece of the Rock will always remain in my heart.”
Hudson spoke on how his parents often reminisced about Gibraltar and the community they had befriended and fell in love with, but he could never put the memories into context.
“It never really sunk in for me until these pictures turned up,” he said. “Some I had never seen before, so I didn't recognise anyone which is why I put the picture up on Facebook.”
Hudson was humbled by the kindness of Gibraltarians on the group who pulled their efforts together to help an Irish man link his childhood connection.
“I was quite emotional and I was over the moon when Bernie contacted me,” he said.
The picture of Bernie and Hudson taken in the 70s had over 150 shares in less than 24 hours from people wanting to help identify the little girl in the photo.
“It was great to know the person in the picture holding me as a baby whom used to nurse me, looked after me and missed me when I returned home,” said Hudson. “I would just like to say I am very proud to have Gibraltar as my birth place and the Rock will always be in my heart.”