Scott Goodwin had a Chinese lunch today with siblings he hadn't seen in 12 years, and then opened three fortune cookies. The third cookie said: "A chance meeting with someone from the past is in store."
Just three days earlier, the Goodwins had been reunited by an Associated Press photograph of Scott, who sleeps on Boston's streets and makes a living selling newspapers.
Scott Goodwin, 49, had left his family in central Massachusetts 12 years ago, never to return. His family figured he had moved to California--or was dead.
But on Monday night, AP photographer Elise Amendola took a picture of Scott during an annual count of the city's homeless. It showed Scott, huddled under blankets on the street corner where he sleeps, talking to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
The picture appeared two days later in the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, where it seen by the wife of brother Jeff Goodwin.
She called Brian Goodwin of suburban Uxbridge, the eldest of the five siblings. With the help of the photographer, Brian tracked down Scott's makeshift newsstand and surprised him that afternoon.
"Got a newspaper for your brother?" Brian asked.
Brian, who builds houses for a living, wanted Scott to come home with him, but Scott would not leave his newspaper post. They tried to get him a room in a boarding house, but were told there would be at least a month's wait.
So for now, Scott prefers to stay on the street. He says he feels safer there than in a shelter.
Today, Brian brought Jeff and their sister Cathy to Boston for a family reunion. The fifth sibling, Dana, lives in Hudson, Fla., and could not join them.
"Oh my God," Cathy cried when she saw her brother for the first time today. "I can't believe it's you."
The last time the siblings were together was at their mother's funeral in 1986. Not long after that, Scott left. He dropped out of college, got hooked on drugs, and supported himself working odd jobs. He said he has been drug free for nine years and has been living on the streets since March, when he lost his apartment because of financial problems.