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Together Again: Sisters Tackling a 75-Year Gab Gap

November 29, 1987|DAVE JOHNSON

When Rose Avolio spoke of her long-lost sister, she wasn't exaggerating--she had not seen her in 75 years--but the efforts of 60 people on three continents finally reunited them. Avolio, 96, had feared she would not recognize her 83-year-old sister, but she gasped and smiled when Assunta Caliguiri was taken off a plane from Buenos Aires in a wheelchair. Caliguiri struggled up to embrace Avolio, who was in her own wheelchair, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. "This can't be possible, this can't be real. This must be a miracle!" Avolio said. "I had really lost hope that I would see her again." Avolio was about 20, married with a baby son, when her father returned to Italy with her little sister. Rose kept track as Assunta grew up, married and moved to Australia, but the women later lost touch. A vacationer traveling to Australia offered to look up Caliguiri and learned she had moved to Argentina, and Avolio's retirement home raised the money to bring the women together for the holidays. Caliguiri will stay until early January.

--She looks mauve-elous. Sonia Young drives a purple car, uses purple dishes and silverware, writes on a purple typewriter and never wears any color except her favorite, or a derivative shade. In fact, many know her only by her alias, the Purple Lady, and her name appears in the Chattanooga, Tenn., phone book that way. Young estimates that she has worn only purple for 20 of her 52 years. "It got to the point that people would get real upset when they didn't see me in purple," she said, relaxing on a couch at home in purple dress, glasses, earrings and toenail polish. Bob Elmore, executive director of tourism for Chattanooga, said Young is a familiar figure at charitable and civic events. "She's a colorful person and does some good work," Elmore said. "I see her wherever I go. You have a tendency to notice her. She's not exactly a shrinking violet."

--The 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL attracted unusual attention during an auction in Newport Beach. After all, the two-seater convertible came equipped with a tape of one of Jim Bakker's sermons in the cassette player, as well as a copy of Playboy magazine--the issue that carried an interview with Jessica Hahn. And when the final bid was in, William Yacobozzi of Newport Beach had bought a car once owned by Tammy Bakker--for $43,000. Yacobozzi said that he bought the car for his wife, Gabrielle, who obviously thought the purchase was simply divine. One of Gabrielle's first acts, it was reported, was to put her rosary beads on the mirror to give the car a fresh blessing.

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