At the Keys Weekly, we received not one, but two letters this week strangely similar. The first, from a former Keys resident, is looking to reunite with the current owners of a cockatoo. The second, also a former resident, is looking for information on a nurse.

“Maybe it’s coronavirus … with all this time on our hands we have time to remember and wonder,” said Louise Wood Collins.

Collins is looking for a woman who came to her home to help out after her mother had a C-section in 1955. Her mother, Mrs. Herbert Wood, owned the Marathon theater. Collins remembers the woman’s first name, Inez.

Louis Wood Collins and her little brother Gilbert Wood are pictured in 1955 with their nurse, Inez. CONTRIBUTED

“But even that’s something. Why would I remember that name when I spent such a short time with her — weeks? Maybe a month — so long ago,” Collins said.

Inez made a big impression on 4-year-old Collins in a crisp white nursing uniform. She helped look after Collins, and her little newborn brother, Gilbert Wood, who still lives in Marathon.

“Over the years I’ve always wondered about her,” Collins said. “What is her last name? Does she still live in Marathon? Does she have any children? Is she still alive? Does anyone know her or any of her family?

“I realize it’s a long shot, but I am hoping some of your readers may be able to answer these questions. I can’t help but want to know more about this woman who was a part of our lives for a short time, but left a lasting impression.”

For Collins, it’s been a long time since her full-time residency in Marathon. She graduated from MHS in 1971, classmates with the likes of Diane Chaplin, among others. A school teacher, she taught all over the place, following her husband who was in the service.

Lei Lane gave up an umbrella cockatoo (like the one pictured) to a couple living in the Keys in 2007.

Lei Lane, who lives in Fort Lauderdale now, gave up her bird in 2007 to a man and woman living in the Keys. Lane is looking for “Snowball,” an umbrella cockatoo she gave up 13 years ago. She says Snowball would be 28 years old now.

“I just want to put it out there … to see if anybody knows anything about Snowball. I would love to know she is well and happy,” Lane said.

The bird had been with her family for 14 years when a divorce scattered the household. The bird and her daughter were particularly close.

“They were both teenagers, and Snowball missed her so much,” said Lane, adding it was hard to look at the very sad bird day after day. And so she found it a new home, but the information about the new owners has since been lost. “A man came to get the bird from where I lived in Plantation, and I got the impression that he was married. But that’s all I remember.”

Lane said this time of year she has very intense dreams about the bird, and feeling that it might be close by — as if it were coming to the mainland during hurricane evacuations, or perhaps the coronavirus has relocated the bird and family.

Snowball doesn’t have any distinguishing physical and behavior characteristics, Lane said, other than that the bird is very affectionate and snuggly.

“She was just a love, just a love,” Lane said.

Lane now makes her home with two rescue dogs. No, she said, she would never consider getting another cockatoo.

“I’m grateful that she was in my life and that we were part of the same flock,” she said. “But those birds shouldn’t be domesticated, they should be free and wild.”If you have any information about Inez or Snowball, please email [email protected] 

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