BROTHERS REUNION PART 2

Bob Corriston, Leland

Bob and his wife concentrated on working and raising a family of their own.

Life was moving along well for the established family until 1991. Their son,

Douglas, came down with what was thought to be the flu the week before

Thanksgiving.  Two weeks later he was rushed to the hospital and

was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  Nineteen hours later, 

the family was mourning his death.  

 

Douglas’ death shattered the family, but what got them through was the 

outpouring of support from their friends, family, community and 

Douglas’ classmates at Hasbrouck Heights High School.  “We had a lot of

people to comfort us,” Bob said. “Rows of kids walked to the church after

class to pay their respects, and the school lowered the flag to half-mast.”

A tree now stands on the grounds of the high school alongside a bench

dedicated to Douglas’ memory.

 

Two years after their son’s death, Bob and Mary Margaret were asked by the

Newark Archdiocese Family Life Center to start a support group for parents

grieving the loss of a child.  The group is now called “HOPE” (Helping Other

Parents Endure).  They were also involved in raising money for research for the cure of

leukemia.

 

 One month after Douglas died, Bob’s sister died unexpectedly.  With two major

 losses in his family, Bob was now more determined than ever to reconnect with his brother.  

He resumed his search of many years and with his computer and the newly installed Optimum

program, it was much easier than ever before.  His search took him across the

country. He found the name Richard Corriston in Colorado.  When Bob called Richard, it was 

the first conversation that the brothers had had in 45 years. 

 

With the use of frequent flier miles, Bob traveled across the country to

meet his brother. When he arrived at the airport in Denver, Colorado, he went

looking in the baggage area for his brother, whom he hadn’t seen in over 45

years. Bob said to himself, “I am looking for a nine-year-old boy.”

Fortunately, both of them had cell phones. He called his brother and said, 

“I am in the baggage area wearing a Giants baseball cap.” Richard said, “I am

right behind you.”  Needless to say, it was a tearful reunion.

 

While in Colorado, the brothers decided they wanted to find some way to help

people like themselves. “We wanted to give people who had given up on life

hope,” Bob said. 

 

When Bob got back to New Jersey, he wrote a letter to Optimum Online with his story. 

Fifteen months later he got a call from the marketing department saying that they wanted 

to film a commercial.  “We received no residuals when the commercial was shown.  Just 

having my brother and sister-in-law flown in was more than enough compensation.”

They filmed for twelve hours what could have been considered a

documentary. They shot in Newark where their old house had been knocked

down, in Kearny at their old apartment, and in Hasbrouck Heights at Bob’s

home. They ended the commercial at the grave of their parents, where the

brothers made peace with their father. They said, “Dad, you messed up, but we

are here together.  WE FORGIVE YOU!”