SUNNYSIDE — After talking with his wife Ruth on the phone U.S. State Department staff member Abraham Wise told his wife to gather the family for a quick conference call.
“I was worried it was going to be bad news,” Ruth, now staying with family members in rural Sunnyside, declared.
Just a little over a week ago, she like many other American families were told not to return to their homes in China, due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was quickly spreading throughout China. Cases are also being reported globally with millions infected and thousands have died from contact with the pneumonia type virus.
The virus, believed to have first been identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China has been ongoing since December.
The Wise family of four children had been on vacation in the sunny beaches of Thailand, during the Chinese New Year, when they were instructed not to return to their Beijing home.
Abraham, who was still stationed in Beijing, called with bad news, and the family sought airline tickets to the States.
His Tuesday call was of a much happier nature.
After gathering the children in the front room for what was to be a conference call, they heard a knock at her parents-in-law Frank and Elizabeth Wise’s front door.
Standing in the doorway was Abraham and the family’s beloved dog “Lupita,” and Elizabeth’s violin.
“I burst into tears when I saw him,” Ruth recalls. “And hugged him.”
“He completely surprised me and the children. I thought he was on his way to Washington, D.C. for the duration.”
But Abraham was determined to reassure his family and to, of course, bring clothes, and Lupita, to his family.
“I was really happy to see Lupita,” nine-year-old Joshua said. He later created a valentine for his daddy thanking him for bringing Lupita stateside.
Admittedly there was lot of red tape to getting a dog shipped from China through U.S. customs, but the state department connection made it a little easier, an effort which made the whole family happy.
“Dad did forget my shoes. He brought everyone’s coats and boots, but forgot mine,” said Sariah, 12, who did forgive her father.
Elizabeth, 14, was happy to receive her violin. Thursday, she had her first in person lesson with her teacher Sarah Wise. “At least I didn’t have to get up at 6 a.m. for that lesson and it was great to have my teacher right in front of me,” she added.
Monday, the oldest Wise children started school in the Sunnyside School District. Elizabeth and Sariah will be attending Harrison Middle school, where several of their cousins also attend. Shawn, 12, will attend Chief Kamiakin Elementary School.
Their father is continuing his trip to Washington, D.C. after his brief stopover to make sure his family was okay.
“It took a lot of stress off my shoulder to know we had a plan of sorts and we’re all together,” Ruth said.
The family won’t be returning to China, as they had already been assigned to return stateside in May.