Escondido Hostages Heading Home : Couple’s Family Jubilant; Others in State Keep Tense Vigil
Jose and Sylvia Delgado’s fellow passengers were probably annoyed when their flight was three hours late arriving in San Diego Monday night.
But the delay didn’t faze the retired Escondido couple, who were among the first hostages released from the TWA jetliner hijacked by Shia Muslim terrorists Friday to arrive home safely in the United States.
“After three days like we’ve all been through, what’s a few more hours?” said a jubilant Linda Delgado, Jose and Sylvia’s daughter-in-law, as she prepared to leave for Lindbergh Field with other family members.
“I just talked to Sylvia from St. Louis (where the flight was delayed) and they’re both fine and relieved to be finally getting home,” Linda Delgado said.
Delgado; her husband, Daniel, an Escondido optometrist, and his brother, Ralph, a doctor in Stockton, said they had been unable to relax even after their parents were released.
For Jose and Sylvia Delgado, the hijacking provided a harrowing end to a vacation in Greece and the Holy Land.
Sylvia was among the first 19 women and children let off the plane in the early hours after it was hijacked to Beirut while en route from Athens to Rome. Thirty hours later, after a round-trip from Beirut to Algiers, her husband, suffering from high blood pressure, was also released. The couple was reunited Sunday in Paris.
“We were worried, because Joe wasn’t getting the proper medicine he needed, and he has a history of strokes,” Linda Delgado said. “But now that we know they’re safe, we’ve been cracking jokes to break our tension. God, what a relief.
“We’re all sure Joe’s blood pressure went up when he realized Sylvia was going to be turned loose for a while in Paris where she would shop up a storm without him, and we know Joe’s going to have to explain to Sylvia why she didn’t get to go along on that nifty side trip to Algiers.”
As the Delgados flew home to San Diego, the family of Jerome Barczak busily prepared for daughter Diane Barczak’s graduation today from Mission Bay High School. They were still tense, but optimistic, that the General Dynamics civil engineer would eventually be freed by the Shia Muslim terrorists who hijacked TWA’s Flight 847 on Friday.
Diane spent Monday morning practicing for the commencement exercises and two of Barczak’s sons went bowling. Barczak’s ex-wife, Mary Ann Foglio, said she spent about an hour at the supermarket, but the entire family continued to pass virtually every waking hour glued to television sets in hopes of gleaning any information about Barczak’s whereabouts.
“Basically, we’re all still doing very little except following the news,” Foglio said. “We switch back and forth between all of the stations, and watch CNN (the Cable News Network) and listen to the radio in between. But the other activities at least help us take our mind off our troubles for a little while.”
Barczak, a former San Diego resident who now works at the General Dynamics plant in Cairo, was flying to San Diego to attend a long-anticipated family reunion on Father’s Day as well as Diane’s graduation.
“We’re doing really good, considering everything,” Foglio said. “We’re hanging in there, and we’re still very, very optimistic. We’ve talked some with the State Department, but they don’t know anything more than what we hear from the news reports, so we aren’t sure where Jerome is. But we know for certain he is alive, and we know in our hearts that he will back with us all again very soon.”
Diane’s graduation plans have buoyed the family’s spirits, Foglio said. The entire family will attend the commencement tonight--Diane will carry yellow roses in tribute to her father, and Foglio and the other Barczaks will wear yellow carnations. In addition, the high school has changed the decorations for the post-graduation party, and table centerpieces now will be adorned with yellow ribbons.
The Barczak family reunion--and Father’s Day--are still on, Foglio said.
“His presents are still here and the champagne is still chilled, waiting to be opened,” she said. “We’re declaring a new Father’s Day--the day when Jerome is back here, safe, able to enjoy the family celebrations he so looked forward to. And we just feel certain that day is not far off.”
In the western San Fernando Valley community of Newbury Park, the wife and daughter of Northrop engineer Thomas Wesley Murry were waiting for the telephone to ring. Murry is also among the hostages still being held.
“We’ve been married 35 years,” said Jeanne Murry, who learned of the hijacking from a radio report Friday morning, an hour before she was officially informed that her husband was among the hostages. “He’s a fine father, a wonderful husband and he’s a good man. I just want him back. . . . “
Jeanne Murry and her daughter, Marianne Robertson, who arrived Sunday from Oklahoma, have spent their days and nights in vigil; television is their prime source of news on the crisis--but they remain within earshot of the telephone.
“If my father can wait in Beirut, we can wait in California,” Robertson said.
Times Staff Writer Denise Hamilton contributed to this story.