Paul Coates — Confidential File, March 9, 1959


Stymied: One Nice Little Kid in Tokyo

Dwight Warnecke has a remarkable wife.

By all rules of medical science, she should have died 10 years ago.

But she didn’t.

She remained alive. Very much alive.

That she is, is a tribute to her stubborn nature.

So are some other rather fantastic accomplishments during the past decade.

And so is the fact that today, she’s got herself into a rather hopeless predicament.

That’s the kind, I guess, she’s learned to handle best.

It was in 1949 that Mrs. Warnecke, now 31, was stricken with polio. She and her only son, Mike, then 4, were rushed to the hospital in the same week.

an oxygen tent, she overheard her doctor tell her husband that it was
just a matter of time. She was stricken too severely. She couldn’t

And when she contradicted her physicians on that point, she was informed that she’d never move from her bed.

There again, Lucille Warnecke took exception.

with one leg brace, she gets around fine. She does all the housework,
family cooking, drives a car. During the past half-dozen years, she has
even held down full-time office jobs.

But I’m getting ahead of the real story.

When Dwight Warnecke, who’s a year older than his wife, married Lucille, they planned to have a big family.

according to all domestic agencies, even adoption was out of the
question. Dwight was just an average guy, with an average income. And
then there was Lucille, who ran her home from a wheelchair.

Adoption regulations are strict.

But in 1956, the pair began sending inquiries to a Catholic orphans’ home in Yokohama, Japan.

And on Christmas Eve of the same year, their first daughter, Mary, arrived. She was 7.

1959_0309_van_de_kampShortly thereafter, the Warnecke family decided to leave their Illinois home to try their luck in California. Mrs. Warnecke
admits that the move, with no job prospects in sight and with her
husband leaving a company he’d been with for 10 years, was instigated
by her.

They settled in Glendale, and after a temporary job, Dwight became an assembly-line packer at Van de Kamp’s bakery a year and a half ago. But it wasn’t long before he was promoted to foreman.

A few months ago, the Warneckes adopted their second Japanese orphan. Mary, 5, arrived in October of last year.

Then Mike, now 14, began pestering for a brother — so last December the Warneckes began proceedings again. However, a month later, Dwight was told by Van de Kamp’s to pack his bags for Kansas City, Mo. He was being made supervisor of a new plant there.

Three weeks ago, John Joseph, age 1, officially became a Warnecke.
but he’s still in Tokyo. His new father’s in Kansas City. His mother
has until the end of this week to vacate her home in Glendale.

has the ticket money to fly the baby to Los Angeles. The adopted boy’s
papers are all in order. But Johnny Joseph can’t get passage.

There Must Be an Answer

No airline will take him. He’s too young to fly alone. All the airlines with Japan-U.S. flights have given Mrs. Warnecke the same answer:

It’s against policy.

also against policy to contact any passengers to see if they’ll hold a
year-old baby on their lap from Tokyo to California.

The Sisters from the orphanage have also made inquiries in Tokyo, but they’ve been given the same answers.

For once in her life, Lucille Warnecke
is at a loss to know what to do. All she knows is that when Johnny
Joseph gets here, she’ll be packing him and the other three kids into
the family car, and driving them back to Kansas City to join their dad.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Columnists, Paul Coates. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Paul Coates — Confidential File, March 9, 1959

  1. ChiaLynn says:

    Oh, I do hope Mr. Coates followed up on this story!


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