Sep 5, 2016 3:53 PM
HAMPTON — Imagine being 62-years-old and thinking your entire family is gone. Then out of the blue, someone contacts you and says you have a long lost sibling. That’s what happened to a Hampton man, and it has changed his life.
Norino Mirra has felt like an orphan since his mother Mary died two years ago. His only brother Ralph died the next week.
"I felt alone in the world when I lost my brother," said Mirra. "I had no original family members left."
His father, Norino Mirra, died in 1988. Back during World War II he was drafted into the Italian Army, and taken prisoner by the British. He spent 5 years in London as a Prisoner of War.
"He said conditions were awful. No water and no food, just awful," said Mirra.
A woman helped him, and they fell in love.
"This woman actually helped get food and water to him and his other Prison of War people. She did a lot to help them survive," said Mirra.
They had a daughter, but when the war ended, Norino returned to Italy and they lost contact.
Some time later, he met an American named Mary. They got married and moved to New England where he had Norino and his brother Ralph. The sons never knew they had a sister in England, until last March when he got a call.
"'There’s a message from your sister' and I said 'what are you talking about?' She said 'look at your messages on Facebook,'" said Mirra.
It’s been 70 years, and now he and his wife are getting ready to go to London and meet his sister face to face for the first time next week.
"I visualize hugging her; letting her know she has family that she never had before," said Mirra.
Every year, hundreds, if not thousands, of families are reconnected thanks to Facebook and other social media networks.
"It’s changed my life completely. If not for Facebook I don’t think we could have found each other," said Mirra. "She’s the only one I have left from my original family."
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