Real Name: Eve Meisel
Case: Lost Friend
Location: London, England
Details: During World War II, hundreds of ships were attacked and sunk by German U-boats in the North Atlantic off the coast of England. Thousands lost their lives. For every man killed, a family was shattered and changed forever. That was the case for merchant marine William Murphy. In December 1941, he was aboard a supply ship when it was torpedoed. He left behind a wife, Morna, a son, and three daughters. Within a month of his death, she placed her son in a foster home and took her three daughters to an orphanage on the outskirts of London, St. Helen's Convent of Mercy.
For Aideen, the oldest of the Murphy children, the pain of saying goodbye was especially difficult. When Morna left, Aideen felt devastated. She felt as if her whole world had disappeared and that she was left in a strange place she did not belong in. She felt that she did not belong at the orphanage because she was not an orphan.
Conditions in the orphanage reflected the bleak reality of wartime England. There was little food, inadequate heating, and a strict code of rules. Aideen remembered that the nuns of the orphanage were harsh. They had a lot of children to take care of, so most of them did not get much attention, unless they did something wrong. If they did do something wrong, they would get hit in the head or on the back. Aideen remembered that they slept in rows of beds in the dormitory. She recalled laying in bed crying, but she did not know why she was crying.
Aideen felt terribly lonely. The isolation was almost unbearable until another new girl arrived at the convent. Eve Meisel came from a prominent Jewish family in Austria. Her father, a musician, had been captured by the Nazis. Like millions of others, he was sent to a concentration camp where he would eventually die. Her mother had managed to escape to London, but she lacked the means to support her family. As a result, Eve was sent to the orphanage. Her arrival would change Aideen's life.
The first thing Aideen noticed about Eve was that she was not English and that she looked different. She had very dark hair and eyes. She was also very bubbly and funny. She always had jokes for Aideen, and the two often joked about the nuns. The two started to hang out together and quickly became friends.
Meanwhile, the London Blitz was still in full force. Every night, for months on end, the German Air Force bombarded the city, reducing much of it to rubble. Most evenings would be pierced by the shrill sounds of air raid sirens. The girls in the orphanage were hustled into a downstairs shelter to listen and wait. The experience was terrifying for them, but they learned to live with it. Aideen and Eve were especially worried about their mothers. They were never sure if they or their families would survive the bombings or not. Each night, the nuns would tell them to say an Act of Contrition before going to bed, in case they died in their sleep. Of course, Eve did not do that because she was Jewish. Aideen wondered how Eve had the strength to keep going and not be afraid without it.
Aideen and Eve became practically inseparable. They made an unwritten pact that they would survive the war together. They also shared a common dream: to one day cross the ocean to live in the United States. At first, they did not understand much about America, other than that it was a place where everybody was happy, everybody had enough to eat, and there was no war. They excitedly planned to live there whenever they grew up.
As the war dragged on, Aideen and Eve grew from little girls into young women. When the conflict finally ended, they returned to their families but remained as close as ever. They attended the same high school, the Ursuline Convent Boarding School in Essex, and took the same classes. By the time they graduated, they had spent half of their lives together.
Shortly after graduation, Aideen's childhood dream came true. Relatives offered to pay her way to the United States. She told Eve about it; Eve was very abrupt when she was told about it. She was shocked that she was leaving. The two planned to write each other and Eve hoped to join her within a year. At the time, Aideen was too excited and did not understand how hurt Eve was because they planned to go together. They did not realize that it would be the last time they would see each other.
Life in America was everything that Aideen had hoped for. She and Eve exchanged monthly letters for more than a year. Both of them fell in love and married. However, in the end, time and distance pulled the two friends apart. But Aideen never forgot her best friend. Finally, in 1983, she managed to track down a copy of Eve's marriage certificate in London. She learned that Eve's husband was a schoolteacher named David Turner. She also learned that they had probably moved to the United States in the mid-1950s.
Aideen hopes that they will one day be reunited in the United States, the land they dreamed of so many years ago. Aideen feels that Eve is a part of her that she has carried around with her for years. She even has dreams all the time about her. She remembers her eyes, her voice, and the fact that she was there for her when she needed someone.
Extra Notes: This segment was featured as part of the October 27, 1993 episode.
Results: Solved. In the late 1990s, Aideen asked private investigator Paul Field to help her find Eve. Paul and Aideen went to England and searched through public records. They located Eve, still living in England, after discovering that she changed her married name twice. In 2000, Eve and Aideen were reunited. They remain in contact to this day.