“I think if it wasn't for her, it wouldn't have lasted,” Fanali said.
Thomas waited at the airport with her daughter, Sandy Rose, and her family. One of Fanali's daughters, Christine, had flown in from Connecticut that morning to surprise her mother.
When Fanali arrived, accompanied by her daughter, Francine, she was first greeted by Christine and then by Thomas.
“I recognized Lorraine instantly. I couldn't wait to rush up and hug her,” Fanali said.
Local merchants helped make the meeting more special. Betty's Flowers in El Reno donated corsages. A limo ride was courtesy of Pink Pony Limousine, and dinner at Charleston's was on the house.
Fanali and Thomas spent some quality time together while their daughters did some sightseeing in Bricktown.
Fanali said she and Thomas have never had a full conversation on the telephone, and she does not intend to start communicating that way. They plan to keep writing each other.
“Hopefully, we'll come back next year,” Fanali said.
“My family made great friends. It was like we knew them all.”