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After decades apart, 2 South Florida women reconnect with help of Local 10’s Calvin Hughes

Nearly 60 years later, Barbara Zohlman and Enid Pickney are laughing like sisters

MIAMI – Two South Florida women are reunited after spending decades apart.

They both grew up on opposite sides of the tracks, as they used to say in Miami.

Thanks to never losing hope and everlasting love, one sister found the other to deliver a special but simple gift.

Barbara Zohlman and Enid Pickney are laughing like sisters, sharing old times.

They haven’t seen each other for decades.

As girls they often would hear about each other, but could never share a simple moment together.

What's normal now was inconceivable in the 1940s, with segregation in Miami for blacks and whites.

Pickney’s mother, Lenora Curtis, worked for Zohlman’s grandparents, Ethal and Joe Alters, who lived on Allison Island, which is still a wealthy small neighborhood in Miami Beach with multi-million dollar mansions.

Curtis was their maid, but for Zohlman, she was far more.

“Lenora was there all the time,” Zohlman said. “She did the cooking. She was a nurturer. My grandmother was not. (Lenora) was the one I would tell my problems to, my concerns, too. Always there for me. And she gave me this doll, this black doll with blue eyes.”

Lenora Curtis.
Lenora Curtis. (WPLG)

“I have given my granddaughters and my niece all my dolls, but I never gave Lenora’s doll away,” she continued. “I, for some reason, just kept it all these years.”

Zohlman and her husband are downsizing, selling their southwest Miami-Dade County home of 53 years.

One day, while going through an old closet, Zohlman came across the doll, and a dilemma.

“I have to either take it with me or find Enid,” she said. “I knew Lenora had a daughter.”

Local 10 News anchor Calvin Hughes has known Pickney for several years.

So perhaps by luck, or by design, Barbara thought to tell Hughes about her search to find her old friend.

“I got on the phone right away,” Pickney said. “Because my mother loved her.”

Not long after, Zohlman surprised Pickney with the doll, more than 60 years after it had been given to her by Pickney’s mother.

“When I actually saw it, I was very emotional,” Pickney said. “It brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me of my mother. It brought my mother back. I think it’s a sign and I think my mother is still speaking. She wants to remember her love and her love for people.”


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