|Birth: ||Dec. 27, 1925|
|Death: ||Nov. 28, 1942|
Saturday, November 28, 1992
Pages 1 & 4
50 YEARS AFTER THE HORROR
By Bob Cubie
ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
BROCKTON — Fifty years ago today, Saturday, Nov. 28, 1942, was going to be the most exciting, most wonderful day in the life of 16-year-old Lorraine Carlson.
That night her boyfriend, Bob Noyes, 17, of West Bridgewater, was taking her out on the first "real big" date of her young life.
Instead of going to the Colonial theater to see John Wayne and Anna Lee in "Flying Tigers," or The Brockton theater to see Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland in "The Major and the Minor." Noyes, 17, was picking her up at 8 for dinner and a night of dancing at Cocoanut Grove, the biggest, glitziest, most exciting nightclub in Boston.
It was also her last day as a cashier at Keith's Theater. On Monday she would start a new job at Alden Products Co.
Noyes, a junior basketball player at West Bridgewater's Howard High School, who The Enterprise described as "very popular," and "rugged for his age," arrived at the Carlson house at 1027 Main St. at 8 p.m. sharp.
Lorraine was waiting for him.
"(She) was so happy when she left," her 13-year-old sister Beverly said later. "She had a new party dress for the occasion and I never saw her look prettier."
Her picture, which ran on Page 1 of The Enterprise on Monday, Nov. 30, shows a poised, pretty young girl with long, straight brown hair. His photo shows a grinning boy with a thick mop of auburn hair.
Just before the two kids left, Lorraine called up to her mother. "Don't wait up for me, Mother. I may be a little late."
She and Noyes caught the Eastern Mass. Ashmont bus at the Carlsons' front door, changed to the subway at Dorchester's Ashmont Station, and arrived at Cocoanut Grove, which is today the site of Bay Village, at around 10 p.m.
"They must have arrived around 10 o'clock," Lorraine's mother, Mrs. Leroy Carlson, said the next day. "They couldn't have been inside very long before the fire hit."
Even today, 50 years later, "The Great Cocoanut Grove Fire," which 491, is still the second deadliest fire in American history. The only one that tops it is the Chicago Iroquois Theater fire of 1903 that saw 602 die.
On that Saturday night, the Cocoanut Grove, which was licensed to seat only 460, was packed with close to 1,000 people. Many of them were servicemen waiting to go overseas, others were part of the 41,000 who had filled Fenway Park to see number-one ranked Boston College play unranked Holy Cross. Before the game, BC players were told, "After you win you will be guests of honor at the Cocoanut Grove Night Club. A horseshoe shaped table has been set up for you."
Holy Cross, pulling one of the great upsets of college football, humbled BC 55-12, and the Eagles decided to hold a private party at the Statler Hotel.
The Cocoanut Grove was a disaster waiting to happen.
The draperies, the upholstery, the fake palm trees and the hundreds of yards of billowing blue satin that hung from the retractable ceiling, were all flammable.
In the lower level Melody Lounge, the fire door was locked, as were the door from the Main Ballroom to Shawmut Street, the door from the New Lounge to Broadway, and the backstage exit door to Shawmut Street.
They were locked to keep riffraff out and the patrons — who might slip through an unlocked door without paying their tab — in. They also were locked to conceal the 4,100 cases of illegal liquor stored in the club's cellar.
About 10 p.m., Stanley Tomaszewski, a 16-year-old busboy in the Melody Lounge, was asked to replace a small light bulb set in an artificial cocoanut shell. He lit a match so he could see the socket, replaced the bulb, blew out the match, tossed it onto the floor and stamped it out. A moment later, though, a flame appeared in the blue-satin decorations on the ceiling. Tomaszewski tried to douse the flames with glasses of water, but when the fire spread, he was pushed out of the way by panic-filled patrons.
Within minutes the whole satin-draped ceiling was ablaze and the patrons started running for the only way out — one narrow, winding stairway.
The black smoke and the panicked patrons who were screaming and running up the stairs caused people in the Main Ballroom to panic. The main exit, which had a revolving door, became a bottle-neck and people were trampled. Some of the customers tried to dive out windows only to discover they were mirrors.
Mrs. Carlson went to bed early Saturday night, fully confident that "Rugged" Bob Noyes could protect her oldest daughter and bring her home safely. She didn't know about the fire until she woke up the next morning and heard the radio report.
She ran upstairs, checked Lorraine's bed, saw it was empty and hadn't been slept in, and with panic rising in her breast, left immediately for Boston. There she began a search for her daughter that would not end until late Monday afternoon.
The first reports on Sunday morning estimated the dead at 200. All day, though, the total kept climbing. People in Brockton stayed glued to their radios, listening with horror as new names were added to the list of dead and injured.
"Autoists jammed Main Street, stopping in front of The Enterprise, leaving their cars to read the latest bulletins and search for names of friends and relatives among the dead," The Enterprise wrote. "The sounding of horns of other motorists held up in jams was almost continuous."
By nightfall on Sunday Mrs. Carlson still hadn't found Lorraine.
The next day The Brockton Enterprise and Daily Times, price 3 cents, carried a tall, black banner headline across Page 1 that read:
FIRE TOLL NOW 478
Four Brocktonians Die
Underneath were pictures of Edward J. McCarthy, Mrs. Ed J. McCarthy, Lorraine D. Carlson and Stephanie Sviolka. Two more, Helen Bratlevicz Cafarella and Josephine Bratlevicz Powers, who ran Joe's Beauty Parlor on Main Street, Brockton, before they got married, also died in the fire.
In the center of the page was the story about Lorraine Carlson and Bob Noyes. On the other side of the page was a tiny story that read: "Members of the Carlson family still held hope (their daughter Lorraine) is in a hospital. No identification made as yet."
Lorraine's father, Leroy Carlson finally located her body at Boston City Hospital late Monday afternoon.
She and her boyfriend, Robert Noyes, were buried a half an hour apart. Young Robert Noyes was buried from the Sunset Avenue Congregational Church at 1:30 p.m., Lorraine Carlson from a funeral home on Main Street at 2 p.m. Both are buried in Pine Hill Cemetery.
The Sunday Enterprise
June 6, 1993
Pages 1 & 17
A GRAVE DISPUTE
Who's buried under Lorraine Carlson's marker?
On Nov. 28, 1992, The Enterprise ran a story on the 50th anniversary of Boston's Coconut Grove fire that killed 500 people. The story was built around Robert "Truck" Noyes, 17, and Lorraine Carlson, 16, who left on a big date and never returned. The story mentioned how 13-year-old Beverly Carlson missed her sister.
In March a letter arrived from Beverly Carlson Lincoln of Berwick, Maine. It began: "I am the Beverly Carlson you mentioned in your story on the Coconut Grove fire ... "You (said) that (on the day after the fire) 'The Carlson family still has hope.' Well (50 years later) we still do. For, you see, we did not inter my sister Lorraine ... We believe she's still alive."
Is Lorraine Carlson buried in Section 15 of West Bridgewater's Pine Hill Cemetery, separated from Truck Noyes by a small, plastic pot of flowers? Or does a "Jane Doe" occupy her grave. Did Lorraine Carlson escape alive?
Is it a great mystery, or a terrible 50-year delusion?
By Bob Cubie
ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
Beverly Carlson Lincoln, a thin, short woman of 64, sat at the kitchen table in a Berwick, Maine, apartment as a two-way police radio blared in the background. Her twin sister, Barbara, a small woman with salt-and-pepper hair pulled back from a face that shows her Algonquin Indian ancestry, sat beside her. The two chain-smoked through the interview. An ashtray, piled high with cigarette butts, spilled over onto a yellow and white plastic table cloth. The air was blue with smoke.
Beverly held up her left hand showing a small ring.
"The lady in the casket was wearing this rolled, gold-plated Topaz birthstone pinkie ring on her left hand," Beverly said. "Old Mr. Dahlborg gave it to my mother before they closed the casket. Which is interesting, because Lorraine didn't own a ring. If she had, her birthday was in December, not November, as the ring would indicate.
"I've worn it all these years, hoping that by a strange twist of fate, someone would see it and say, 'My sister ... mother ... daughter ... who died in the Coconut Grove fire had a ring just like that.' Then I'd return it and tell them, 'Your loved one is buried in my sister's grave.'
"God bless her, whoever she is," said Barbara.
The sisters are bright, knowledgeable and pleasant. They agreed on most of the story. When they disagreed, they cleared up their recollections in front of the reporter. There was nothing wild-eyed or crazy about the sisters. They seem genuine and sincere.
There is opposition to Barbara and Beverly's story within the Carlson family. Leroy Carlson from Milford, Del., who was 11 when his sister died, says he keeps an open mind about it. Ron Carlson from Taunton, who was 9 at the time of the tragedy, doesn't buy any of it. "You ask me where my sister Lorraine is today and I'll tell you, 'Right up in Pine Hill Cemetery, buried beneath the stone that carries her name,'" he said.
John Noyes, West Bridgewater's water commissioner and the younger brother of "Truck" by one year, said, "I've never heard any of this before."
And Carl Dahlborg, now 81, who went to Boston to pick up Lorraine's body after the fire and who participated in the funeral, doesn't remember anything about a wrong body.
"But then," he said. "I don't remember a lot of things that happened 50 years ago."
The story started 50 years ago when 13-year-old twins, Beverly and Barbara Carlson, helped their big sister get ready for her date.
"We were as excited as she was," said Beverly. "That's why we remembered everything she wore — a sheer party dress of crinkly, crepe-like material with an aqua top and a black skirt covered with turquoise lace."
Truck picked Lorraine up at the Carlson's third-floor apartment at 1127 Main St. Lorraine, one month short of her 17th birthday, put on her mother's new camel hair coat with a brown fur collar she had borrowed for the evening, then called upstairs: "Don't wait up for me, Mother. I may be a little late."
She and Truck ran across the street as the 8 o'clock "Boston-Ashmont" Eastern Mass. bus came down Main Street. As it pulled away, Lorraine waved out the back window. "It was the last time I saw her," said Beverly. "She never looked prettier."
Lorraine and Truck had been "going steady, off-and-on," for a year. "He was awfully handsome and he could be very sweet," said Beverly, "but every now and then he'd say or do something crude and she'd break up with him. Then she'd take him back again. In November 1942 they were talking of eloping."
Lorraine, her sisters said, was "drop-dead" beautiful.
"She was like someone drew her," said Barbara, "perfect figure, slim waist, well-endowed up top, auburn hair. She had skin like coffee-cream that was so smooth you couldn't see the pores."
Her beauty, though, was marred by her teeth. "She still had small baby teeth with jagged ridges and big gaps. Because she was ashamed of them, she never smiled with her mouth open. When she laughed she'd put her hand over her mouth."
John Noyes, Truck's younger brother, didn't remember the teeth. "She always looked awfully good to me," he said.
Lorraine was actually a half-sister. LeRoy Carlson had adopted her when she was 3 years old when he married Mildred Lorraine Carlson.
"Lorraine had quit Brockton High School in 1941, as soon as she reached 16," said Beverly. "She really hated school and she wanted nice clothes my parents couldn't give her."
She took a job waitressing at the A.R. Parker Restaurant on High Street. That was where the photograph The Enterprise ran on Nov. 30, 1942, was taken. In the picture she wears a waitresses uniform with "V for Victory" pin on the breast. She quit there and became a ticket seller at the Keith Theater, across Main Street from her home.
The Enterprise described Truck, the star center on Howard High's basketball team and an Eagle Scout, as "rugged for his age."
"Truck was always big," said John. "That's how he got his name. I didn't start growing until I was in the eighth grade, so he watched over me. I only saw him in one fight, that was over a girl. Later he and the guy he fought became best friends."
Barbara remembers him as a hard worker. "He never got into trouble," she said. "The poor kid never had time to get into trouble. He worked too hard. He was always delivering oil in one of his father's trucks."
People have asked, "Wasn't the Coconut Grove a funny place for a couple of teen-agers?" It was. There was something unsavory about the now-famous night spot, with its Mafia ties, where the notorious and famous mingled.
How did they get in? The drinking age in 1942 was 21. "I suppose they lied about their age," Beverly said.
John Noyes remembers a policeman asking his father, "What were two nice kid doing in a dive like that?"
His father, Bill, a town official and owner of Noyes Oil Co., answered simply: "They loved to dance."
"They went dancing every weekend," said John. "They were known in all the dance halls in the area. I guess they thought going to the Coconut Grove was like being in the big time."
The nightmare started at 6 a.m. Sunday morning, Nov. 29, 1942, when 16-year-old Johnny Noyes came pounding on the Carlson's door.
"He was terrified," Beverly recalled. "Truck had not come home that night and his family had just heard about the terrible Coconut Grove fire. They sent Johnny down to our house on his bike to see if Lorraine was there and if Truck had slept on our couch.
"I said, 'Are you crazy. Of course Lorraine's here. I saw her in her bed.' But when I checked she wasn't there, of course. I ran to tell my mother. She jumped up, got dressed and called The Enterprise to find out what was going on."
That afternoon, LeRoy Carlson, along with "Uncle" Horace and Lucille Anderson of Copeland Street, went to Boston to look for the body.
"Horace wasn't really my uncle, but as a young man he boarded with my grandmother and we thought of him as an uncle," Beverly explained. Horace, Lucille and LeRoy checked the hospitals, then the morgues. She wasn't in either place.
"My father was a cut-and-dried person," said Beverly. "He figured Lorraine was dead. He knew my mother would not rest until Lorraine or Lorraine's body was found, so he went to the morgue and found a body that he thought looked like Lorraine and said it was Lorraine. He later admitted it didn't look like Lorraine, but, he said, 'It was all swollen up.'"
Carl F. Dahlborg went to pick up the body.
"It's easy to se how a mistake could have been made," said Dahlborg, who at the time was a young man of 30. "The bodies were lined up in rows. Some of them were terribly burned.
"Truck had a closed casket funeral," said Barbara. "I heard that Truck's father and older brother, Bill, were never 100 percent sure the body was Truck's because it had red hair; Truck was blond. But I understand fire can caused hair on a body to turn red."
It was tough for the Noyes family. "We didn't forgot Truck," said John. "I still come across things of his tucked away in drawers or on a closet shelf — Boy Scout patches, school papers — but we buried Truck, then got on with our lives."
Lorraine's casket was open because the body had not been burned.
Barbara went to the viewing with her father. "When I looked at the body, I didn't known who I was looking at," she said. "I heard quite a few people say, 'That isn't Lorraine.'"
Beverly paused, drew deeply on her cigarette, and exhaled.
"I went to the funeral home with Lois Romero, a friend of Lorraine's," she said. "One look and I knew, this is not my sister. The body had a flat-bridged nose with a pug end. Lorraine had a regular bridge and her nose was probably longer than mine. I reached into the casket I was queasy, but I did it anyway, and felt the bridge. It had not been broken or trampled in the fire. I was about to lift up the lip and check the teeth when old Mr. Dahlborg came back in and told me, 'Stop! You'll spoil th mouth.'"
"I said, 'I want to prove this is not my sister.' He said, 'Yes it is, dear. You're just upset.' Lois, who was standing beside me, spoke up, then. 'I'd know Lorraine Carlson anywhere,' she said, 'and this lady is not Lorraine.' I asked to see the eyes. He said, and I quote, 'It really is your sister. She has perfect teeth like yours and beautiful green eyes. Her hair is different, because she just had a perm and a rinse, but the roots, I assure you, are still red.'
"Lorraine had teddy-bear brown eyes and almost black hair. She never had a perm or a rinse in her life. She set her hair every night in metal rollers and all she ever put on it was Vaseline.
Everything was wrong: the lady's hair, her skin coloring. We're half-Algonquin. Lorraine's skin was darker than the lady in the casket. The lady's hair was red and fine. Lorraine's was auburn, and coarse. The lady also had fully-healed, one-quarter-inch scars on her upper left cheek. Those were not from the fire.
"The clothes were all wrong. Lorraine wore a crinkly, sheer dress, a new peach-satin 34-B bras, peach satin panties, peach satin slip, blue 1/2-inch garters with pink roses on them, and black pumps with two-inch heels. When Mr. Dahlborg picked up the body, it wore a green woolen sweater, black woolen skirt, and black and white saddle shoes, like she had been to the (Holy Cross-Boston College) football game that day. She was so small-breasted she wore a 'bando' bra (a bra with no cups) and her hose was clipped to a girdle — my sister never wore a girdle.
"The funeral director also told us the autopsy said the lady could not have been younger than 26 and was probably closer to 35. When I told him Lorraine was only 16, he almost passed out. He was sure he had picked up the wrong body. He hadn't. My father had identified this body."
Carl Dahlborg remembers the funeral. "But I don't remember anyone claiming it was the wrong body," he said. "But then that was 50 years ago."
One day Beverly was walking home from Huntington School when Lorna Cruise, one of Lorraine's best friends, stopped Beverly and asked, "Are you sure that was your sister? It didn't look like Lorraine."
"She didn't just stop me casually on the street," said Beverly. "She had looked me up because it had been bothering her.
"My mother tried to convince herself it was Lorraine, but she was full of doubts. She'd ask my father, 'Are you sure it's Lorraine?' He'd say, 'Of course it is, Mabel!' Then one day my mother said, 'Beverly, tell Daddy what Lorraine was wearing when she left the house.' I told him, and he sat down, put his face in his hands and started to cry.
"From that day," said Beverly. "I've been 13 going on 50."
Next: A strange, haunting telephone call, a disinterment and four sightings.
Monday, June 7, 1993
Pages 1 & 4
LORRAINE CARLSON ... still alive?
Mystery of sister's fate persists
On Nov. 28, 1992 The Enteprise ran a story on the 50th anniversary of Boston's Coconut Grove fire that killed 500 people. The story was built around Robert "Truck" Noyes, 17, and Lorraine Carlson, 16, who left on a big date and never returned. The story said 13-year-old Beverly Carlson missed her sister.
In March a letter arrived from Beverly Carlson Lincoln of Berwick, Maine. It began: "I am the Beverly Carlson you mentioned in your (50th anniversary) story on the Coconut Grove fire... You (said) that (on the day after the fire) 'The Carlson family still has hope.' Well, (50 years later) we still do. For you see, we did not inter my sister Lorraine... We believe she's still alive."
Is Lorraine Carlson buried in West Bridgewater's Pine Hill Cemetery near Truck Noyes? Or does a "Jane Doe" occupy her grave? Did Lorraine Carlson escape alive?
Is it a great mystery, or a 50-year delusion?
Second of two parts.
By Bob Cubie
ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
There were enough questions about the body in the grave so a little over a year after the Dahlborg Funeral Home buried the body, it was exhumed.
"My mother was only a thin web away from a nervous breakdown," Beverly explained. "My father decided that for her peace of mind, he wanted to find out one way or other, so he asked to have the body exhumed."
"Our records show the body was disinterred and re-interred, Jan. 9, 1944," said Chris Rolfe of Pine Hill Cemetery. "Under notes it just says, 'Delano Funeral Home,' which struck us as a little strange. Usually the funeral home that has the funeral does the disinterment if it's asked for. We wonder why they changed."
John Noyes did not remember the disinterment. He said, "She was buried right next to Truck. We would have known if they'd dug her up. Carl Dahlborg was shocked when he heard the body had been disinterred. The twins, though, remembered it in detail. Delano Funeral Home, once on Belmont Street, went out of business many years ago, yet Barbara recalled Mr. and Mrs. Delano being at the grave site and that James Hemingway, West Bridgewater's town clerk in 1944, wrote the exhumation order. She also said the coroner and the FBI were there. Why the FBI?
"Because it was war time and there were so many service people killed in the fire, I suppose," said Barbara.
The twins insist the exhumation proved the body was not Lorraine's.
"Lorraine had had a tooth filled about a year before the fire and her teeth had been X-rayed. She had all her teeth. When the body was exhumed its teeth were X-rayed and they showed most of the back teeth missing. No way that could have been Lorraine. I held both sets up to the sun in the dining room window and they were nothing alike. Up to that time my father had insisted the body was Lorraine. After the exhumation, he admitted it wasn't."
Mildred Carlson, though, kept Lorraine's name on the stone and she continued to tend the grave with loving care.
"Mother didn't want her to just be a 'Jane Doe,' " Beverly explained. "She felt sorry for the woman. She told Barbara and me, 'She's ours now. She's like an adopted sister. She has nobody else but us."
The sisters have no trouble believing Lorraine survived the fire.
"There has never been any proof she died there," said Beverly. "They found Truck's wallet on the night club's floor. I was told when the firemen found a wallet, they just put it with the nearest body, so the body said to be Truck may not be him.
"We forget. Most of the people in the nightclub that night got out safely. There were 3,000 there, 2,500 got out safely. The majority of the people did get out."
What makes them really believe Lorraine survived the fire, though, are a series of mysterious occurrences beginning right after the fire.
"Six months after the fire our phone rang," said Beverly. "I answered it. I could hear a kitchen clock ticking in the background. There was a sob, I said; 'Who is it? Who is it? Is that you Lorraine?' then another sob, an 'Ugh!' and a 'click' as the phone hung up. I've always pictured Lorraine calling from a kitchen phone on the wall beside a kitchen clock."
At first the family thought it was the work of someone with a sick sense of humor, but when the calls continued, they began to wonder if it was Lorraine.
"After the exhumation my parents hired a detective to go through all the body identifications from the fire," said Beverly. "They came back and told us none of the descriptions came close to matching Lorraine. They hired more detectives and took out ads in newspapers as far away a the Los Angeles Times. They spent their entire savings, $5,000 in war bonds which they'd saved for our education, but got nothing."
Two years after the fire, a Marine and a sailor knocked on the Carlson door with a note from a girl they said they met at the Taunton bus station. The note, said Barbara, was addressed to:
3rd Floor Apt., 5 Tremont St.
"There was nothing more on the paper," said Beverly, "but it was enough to tell us it was from Lorraine. It was in her handwriting. Our house was on the corner of Main and Tremont Streets. The family used 1027 Main St. as the address. But Lorraine liked to use 5 Tremont St. It sounded better. 'Martha Newt' was a red salamander Lorraine found when were living in East Bridgewater. She named it 'Martha Newt' because a salamander is a newt and, she said, it looked like our cousin Martha.
"My mother showed them Lorraine's picture and asked; 'Is this the girl?' The two servicemen said, 'That's her.'
"That night the two servicemen were in an automobile accident. The next day the Enterprise ran an article that said Eddie Love from Marion was the driver. My mother went to his home, hoping to get more information, but the boy's mother slammed the door in her face, saying my mother was trying to make trouble for her son."
It didn't end there.
"When Bev was young she was a dead ringer for Lorraine, especially in the evening, when it was just getting dark," said Barbara. "One night she came down the hall and Mama mistook her for Lorraine and almost had a heart attack."
Mama wasn't the only one to make that mistake.
"Ruthie Cobb, our neighbor, married a soldier named Charlie," Beverly recalled. "One evening I was at the bus stop when he called,'Lorri! What are you doing here?' I said, 'My name's Beverly!' But he kept insisting I was Lorri, who he'd met when she was singing in a night club in Philadelphia. Then his wife, Ruth, came out and said, 'No, Charlie, this is Beverly Carlson. Her sister Lorraine died in the Coconut Grove fire.' He looked at me funny and said, 'You're sister's not dead, She's very much alive.' "
When the girls were young, the twins said, they often sang together in the East Bridgewater Methodist and Union Congregational churches. Lorraine had taken guitar lessons, to accompany herself, and she was a very good dancer.
One night in 1950 or 1951 Dorothy Cavanaugh, Beverly's sister-in-laws, called her brother, Bill Lincoln, and said; "We just saw Lorraine Carlson singing and dancing on TV."
"I was married to Harold Lincoln by then," said Beverly. "Bill brought them over to our house in the middle of the night and they told us about it. I said, 'I know. Lorraine's still alive.' Bill about fell over. I'd never told anyone before that. They were so excited they wanted to rush down to the TV station to see the film again, but they'd forgotten which station it was on."
Ten years after the fire, 12-year-old Billy Cavanaugh, Beverly's nephew. came to her house and asked, 'How'd you change so fast, Aunty Bev?" I said, "I didn't change. I've been in these clothes all day." He said, "No I just saw you up on Main Street. A man was driving you in a big black car. You were wearing a big hat and dark furs. You saw me and waved out the window and said, 'Hi, Little Butch.' You're the only one who calls me Butch.'
"But I wasn't. Lorraine gave him the name. When he was two his parents lived next to the Keith Theater. Sometimes he'd runoff and Lorraine would pick him up and feed him chocolate candy until his mother came to get him. Lorraine called him, 'Little Butch,' because he had a cowlick in the front.'"
The sisters claim to have seen Lorraine twice on TV in the mid-70s.
"One night I was watching (Jack Warden's) detective series, 'Jigsaw John,' when Lorraine walked on as a maid," said Barbara. "Her hair was done exactly the same as it's done in her picture. The white maid's uniform looked like the waitress uniform. She walked close to the camera and turned her head. I thought, 'Oh my God! it's her. I know it's her.' A couple of weeks later, in an episode about a stolen necklace, she walked on as a secretary in a scene with Alan Feinstein, who played one of Jack Warden's partners. She looked like her picture, only older.
"As soon as I saw this I called up Beverly and told her to turn on Jigsaw John. Beverly tried to get the name on the credits, but they rolled so fast she missed it. She called the station, but they thought she was a nut and wouldn't help her. The series was made at Burbank Studios, Burbank, California, but when she called they said they couldn't help her, either."
Were the sisters hallucinating?
"If it wasn't Lorraine," said Barbara, rock solid in her conviction, "it was an absolute clone, because the mannerisms, everything was identical."
Barbara claimed she saw Lorraine once more, in an Eddie Capra Mystery. "She had a part as a secretary. She came waltzing into a businessman's office. He said something. She gave a grin, but the grin made her face all scrunch up, the way it did as a kid when she was trying to hide her teeth."
Shortly after that, Alan Feinstein played a psychologist in a series called 'The Runaways.' One story concerned a 16-year-old girl who ran away from Brockton, Mass. with her guitar.
"Feinstein, you remember," said Barbara, "played in two episodes with a girl who looked like Lorraine. Then he comes up with this story. Lorraine was 16 when she disappeared, she played the guitar. What hit us most, was the girl ran away from Brockton."
The telephone calls continued, a clock ticking, a sobbing woman, then a "click!" as she hung up.
"My parents were in their 30s when this all started. They lived with it for the rest of their lives. They never stopped looking. They'd go to the fair and look at every face. They'd go anywhere there was a big crowd, hoping someday they'd bump into her."
According to Leroy his mother kept Lorraine's things intact for 10 years before she put them away. She kept Lorraine's clothes and papers until she died, Beverly said. "I've got a drawing Lorraine did, some school papers and a Bob Hope joke book.
Why has Lorraine never gotten in touch?
Neither Barbara nor Beverly can answer that. Amnesia, maybe, they say. "Lorraine had a mild form of narcolepsy that brought on short memory lapses when she was frightened or confused," said Beverly. "She might have lost her memory for a short time, or even permanently because of the trauma of the fire. Maybe she has flashbacks and that's when she tried to call. Or maybe the Mafia or FBI was involved. Maybe she saw something that may have frightened her away from coming home."
The haunting phone calls kept coming.
"We'd move and we'd keep getting them. They hurt deeply. It was like the woman on the other end couldn't talk because she got too emotional or there was someone nearby who didn't want her to talk."
Over the years, the twins said, they and their mother received hundreds of those haunting calls. When they moved out of state the calls followed them to new addresses.
"My mother always felt someone close to the family knew where Lorraine was and what she was doing, because the phone calls get following us. I got calls in Maine, Barbara got calls in Florida.
"The last call came when I was living in Somersworth, N.H., eight or 10 years ago," said Beverly. "There was an, 'uhugh,' almost like a cough, and I recognized the clock in the background.
"I wish she'd come home, I wouldn't care if she was a drug dealer, a prostitute, I wouldn't care about anything if she'd just come home. We'd love to have her back.
"As long as I live I'll search every face on the street, in the movies, on TV, anywhere. I'll always be hoping that in the next store, the next street she'll look right at me and say:
"'I hear you've been lookin' for me, Bev.'"
LeRoy Norman Carlson (1906 - 1967)
Mabel Lorraine Garfield Carlson (1905 - 1993)
Lorraine D. Carlson (1925 - 1942)
Beverly N. Carlson Lincoln (1929 - 2008)*
Pine Hill Cemetery
Created by: David J. McRae
Record added: Aug 03, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 28753231