I’ve been trying for months to locate the only child of Captain Joseph H. Wellings, his daughter Anne Wellings Heffelfinger. I found out she lived in the Dominican Republic, but had no luck on Google or Yahoo People Search. This exhausted, I have a couple of friends in the amber business (kind of another sideline hobby of mine) who travel to the DR on buying expeditions frequently and decided to enlist one of them. On his last trip down, my friend Yale Goldman found that she did live in La Romana but didn’t have any luck locating anyone who knew her. When he told me he was going again, I almost begged him to become a Sherlock and track her down. He took that to heart and came home victorious! His email to me was quite humorous and indicated that it would be prudent to “bow down before me from afar”, from which I got a few chuckles and then did a happy dance. He not only had her phone number and email, but talked with Anne on the phone himself. I pressed him for more details and below is his story:
“As I may have written that I actually met Anne´s husband a number of years ago when I was visiting a friend here in the DR. Over the course of time, I found others who also knew him. My friend Jorge C. a businessman, jewelry maker, and owner of the Amber World Museum in Santo Domingo was also his friend.
When you asked me if I could help in your search, I knew Jorge was the person to ask about Anne. I arrived here July 27 and the following day I stopped at Jorge's store only to find that he and his wife and a relative of his wife were in Miami. It wasn't until the following Thursday (a week) that I was able to see Jorge.
Anyway, this past Sunday Jorge's middle daughter was going for a two week art course at an art school located in La Romana (sound familiar). On the way, Jorge called a woman named Bibi L. who lived in La Romana if she had any info on Anne. I spoke to Bibi while driving in the car. She was going to give me some info at that time but holding the phone, driving, and trying to write was proving to be difficult. So I told Bibi we would call back once we had arrived.
The school is located in a small plaza area where there are several restaurants and shops. One of the shops is owned by Jorge. When we arrived, Jorge again called Bibi for information on Anne. We dropped off Jorge´s daughter at the school and then drove over to the area where Jorge's shop was located. As we weaved through the walk towards Jorge's shop, Jorge met another jeweler and shop owner who is a former Peace Corps volunteer. I was introduced to Bill (got all the name's straight) and told him of your story and search for Anne Wellings Heffelfinger. His reply to me, 'I just had dinner with her last night. Would you like her phone number?' I said sure.
We had to go back to his shop for his phone which had her number. He asked if I would like to speak to her. Having never met Anne, I wasn't sure how she would greet a strange man (those who know can agree or disagree to my degree of strangeness).
I told Anne about you Tammi and she was very happy to find out about the project. She would have been more than happy to meet me at that moment but I said that wouldn't be possible. She invited me to contact her my next trip down so I could arrange a visit.
This is the story in a very large coconut shell.”
Anne is now on board and has more to share with me regarding her father and some artifacts she retained from his days in the Navy. She plans to share some of this with me, and with her permission I’ll post up a few things on the web site to share with you all. Finding Anne has been pivotal in my research. She is the direct connection to a wonderful man who ran an amazing, tight, efficient ship on which his men were proud to serve. Welcome Anne, so glad to have you with us!
P.S. To give a friend a plug, Yale’s web site is: http://snakefly.tripod.com/