Editor’s note: Answer Line was on assignment this week. Look for new questions and answers next week. In the meantime, enjoy this best-of column from Q&A’s from 2014:
QUESTION: Some time in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, there was a newborn baby left in the Christmas manger scene at First Baptist Church in Longview. Someone heard it crying and called the police. Can you find out what happened to it, who left it and why?
ANSWER: The baby dubbed “Timothy Christmas” was found on Monday, Dec. 3, 1979.
The Longview Daily News of that day reported that Dr. Charles Holland, pastor of First Baptist at the time, was making his normal morning rounds at the church when he heard a baby crying from the manger scene. When he realized it wasn’t a taped recording that was part of the scene, he discovered what was later determined to be a baby who was just a few days old. He had been left in a cardboard box with an unsigned note that said, “I’m Timothy. Please take care of me.”
I like what Dr. Holland said in the story about what he described as “Longview’s Christmas gift:”
“I am hoping the city will cradle it with more genteel acceptance than the world did that baby who was born 2,000 years ago.”
From the reports I found, his wishes came true. The story generated interest all over the world.
Police were called, and Timothy was taken to Good Shepherd where he was determined to be in good health. The baby was then placed in foster care.
I also found a news report in which police explained the parents had not broken any laws so if they were identified there would be no criminal charges.
Shortly after, the mother apparently was located, but she was not identified in the story I found. Her parental rights were terminated so the baby could be placed for adoption. (So I have no explanation for why she left the baby.)
I found another story about a year later that circulated on the news wire that said the baby had been adopted. However, he and his adoptive parents were not identified.
Q: I’d like to know how common law marriage stands in Texas under the law?
A: State law actually calls it an “informal marriage,” and there are two ways one is established in Texas. First, a couple can register as married by completing a form available in the county clerk’s office, or a couple can agree that they’re married, live together in Texas as husband and wife and present themselves as married to other people.
However, if there’s no effort to prove such an agreement to be married by the second anniversary of when a couple stops living together, then the law presumes the couple never agreed to be married.
Q: My son is 49, slender and very smart. He’s been out of a job for a whole year. Where do I go for plain old, down-to-earth information on how to find a job?
A: If he hasn’t already found it, your son needs to the visit local Workforce Solutions Center. In Longview, it’s at 2430 S. High St., but there are locations in 13 other surrounding counties. (For a complete list, visit, www.easttexasworkforce.org.) These centers fall under the Workforce Solutions East Texas Board.
The centers provide job search assistance, but they also provide a plethora of other resources, including classes on resume writing, the interviewing process, social networking and more.
— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.