Thursday, February 26, 2015

What ever happened to Don Doss?

While growing up my parents use to rent out two of our five bedrooms to college students since we 
lived so close to the university. We got to know a variety of people this way, many of them foreigners.

One such young man (although he seemed very old to me at the time) was Don Doss.
Standing here with my sister Robin in 1963.

His mother wrote the famous book, "The Family Nobody Wanted."

It was made into a movie in 1975, starring Shirley Jones, and also a play that high schools still perform.

It's all about how she and her pastor husband adopted 12 children, all from different nationalities and
mixed races. This was back in the 1950s and 60s when adopting out of your race was just not done.  Or
very rarely done. Don was their oldest of the 12 children. 

It was quite the book back then. We had heard about it before even meeting Don. So he lived with our 
family while attending Fresno State in the early 1960s, for I don't even know how long……a year? 
A few years? I don't know. But my older siblings and myself still remember him.

My brother Richard asked me to find out what ever happened to Don. 
So this is what I have learned so far:

In about 1968,  Don met his future wife while they were both patients in a hospital, and married a year later. As of  2012, they had been married nearly 45 years. They have 2 children, and 2 grandchildren. 

Don's mother, Helen died in 2012 at the age of 97. One of her daughters had this to say about their Mom:

"She made many sacrifices to make a difference in the lives of others," her daughter said. 
"She made a difference in the lives of 12 orphans. She made a difference in the lives of 
those who read her books and her stories, and were touched by their message. She made a 
difference in the lives of orphans around the world that were adopted by couples who 
read (her) stories and gave validation for adoption outside of their own race."

I also found this on Youtube this morning….This aired December 1954


Karen Mortensen said...

What wonderful people.

Connie said...

This is so interesting! Thanks for posting it. Those parents are amazing.

Richard said...

I remember Don well since he was a celebrity, Danny Guisinger (he ran up huge long distance bills calling his girlfriend in Lompoc. His favorite song was Walk Like a Man), Don Bollinger who married one of the King sisters in our ward, I believe, joined the Church and raised a family in the 9th Ward. We also had a Japaese student named Hideki. After the college student era, mom moved me and John out to the "extra" bedroom and installed a long list of missionaries out there including Elder Bennee and Elder Minton, two of my favorites. Often when the Elders came home at 9, John and I would break out the Risk game and play with them. Of course, we were frequently their companions for splits when the Stake Missionaries bailed. We were 10 and 14 at the time.

We had people staying with us for about 8 years. That house cost $17,500 in 1960 so ithe extras helped with the mortgage. Good thing there were only 8 kids in the family so we had plenty of room for boarders in that 2000 sq ft house.

Richard said...

You could be a detective.

Anonymous said...

So was Don another race? Or did she actually give birth to him? What a great story!

Grandma Honey said...

Richard…So THAT was why I grew up hearing Walk Like a Man…..I even did a blog post on that song once. I do remember Danny Guisinger, but not as well as you do. I think Hideki was the one Dad picked up from Triple J Drugs that day and he asked him, "Have you been waiting long." and he said, "Yes." Just like that. Dad gave me a lesson in cultural differences. I thought that guy was rude for answering like that but Dad said from where he came from he was just being honest. Perhaps we learned more from all those boarders than we realized at the time.

Grandma Honey said...

Darlene….Don was the first they adopted Then they branched out to other nationalities. I still have some letters Don's mother wrote to my Mom. She would write about how tough and hard life was raising all those children with so little money.

Whitney Jay said...

I love reading these stories so much!

Anonymous said...

Darling video clip, I love her curtsy!
-carly said...

Hi I am Don's wife Sharon. We met in 1966 and married in 1966. Married 51 and 1/2 years now. Helen passed away in April 2013. We have 3 grandchildren now.

Unknown said...

Hello: I'm Don's wife Sharon. We met in 1966 and married in 1966. We have been married 51 and 1/2 years now. We have 3 grandchildren. Our daughter has lived in Australia for 25 years. Helen passed away in April 2013. No children were adopted from Japan, Brazil or India. They were all adopted from the US. Thank you for the photo of Don. It's one I have never seen before. What were your parent's names? What is your first name? Thank you.

Grandma Honey said...

So good to hear from you Sharon! My parents names are Richard and Gaynor Rozier. Don lived with us (I was about 9 years old back then) while he was attending Fresno State University. My first name is Jill. I wonder if Don remembers any of us??

Unknown said...

Hi Jill: Unfortunately Don has a very bad memory of things long ago. He has always been this way. So he doesn't remember your family. But he does remember living at your home. He worked and went to school so his mind was focusing on those things. We will both be 76 soon. Thank you for the lovely photo of your grandchildren. Are they twins? Don's father Carl passed away in April 1994. Three of his brothers have passed away as well. We are in contact with all of his remaining siblings. Most of them live in Southern Cal and one lives in Oregon and we are in Northern Cal. We hope to have a family reunion next year down south. Lovely to chat with you. Don has an interesting family and he loves them all very much.

Grandma Honey said...

I love how you both are in contact with all Don's remaining siblings! What a very diverse and interesting way to grow up. We are still in the Fresno area. If you are ever up this way please let us know.

Yes, we have twin grandchildren who are actually 9 now. I guess I should update our photo! My Mom also had twins in 1965....I'm guessing a year or two after Don moved away from our home. Would he happen to remember how long he lived with us? I know the photo above of Don and my sister was taken in 1963 I think, but have no idea how long he was with us. Having him with us was such a prominent memory from my childhood.

Unknown said...

Hi Jill: Don thinks he stayed at your home about a year. We live in Sonoma County which is where I met him in January 1966. But we lived several other places before we came back home 5 years ago. So twins run in your family. Don has 2 siblings that are his age, so they were called the "Triplets" . Then he has 4 siblings that are the same age and they were called the "Quads." Funny.

Grandma Honey said...

I remember his mom talking on Groucho Marx show about all her kids who were the same ages. I suppose you knew his Mom quite well, right? I'd love to know about her. She must have been a very remarkable woman.