Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How do I make Lemonade out of this

The winter of 2006 was not an easy one.

My son, a Marine, was sent to Iraq.  My adoptive father, Max was in the hospital with e-coli.  My adoptive mother was at home but since she was blind needed a lot of help.  My mother-in-law was in the hospital, she had undergone open heart surgery and did not recover.  My father-in-law was rushed into the hospital needing emergency gallbladder surgery, and to top it all off I had learned the previous summer that Dick might not be my birth father after all.

I had taken a trip that summer.  First stop Tennessee for a conference then two weeks research in Tennessee and Alabama.  Next stop Samford University for IGHR, then on down to the Carolina’s for research and to visit my sister Susie.  Last but not least, a few weeks in Florida visiting my Aunt Lil, my sister Gerianne, my sister Elizabeth and my brother Danny.  I refer to this time as my eight week odyssey across the South. 

While visiting my Aunt Lil she told me of the time …,
”Must have been right after you were born. Your mother was prancing around in her bathing suit all the time.  I realize now it was because she had her ‘girlish figure’ back.  One night we were sitting here talking, just like you and I are doing now.  She started to tell me a story about meeting a man friend in Tahoe and how they went out partying.  Then she stopped.  I wouldn’t remember the conversation except that it was out of context and she dropped it.  I think she was going to tell me about you.  I think she almost did then changed her mind.  But I don’t think Dick is your father…do you?  I think she was going to tell me about your father.  I think it was this lawyer friend she met in Tahoe.”
WOW!  Talk about life changing moments.  The seed was planted.  Now I wondered.  I went to my room that night and called my sister Vicki.  Vicki told me, “Now that you mention it…”  Vicki was nine years old when Dick and Audrey divorced.  She remembers “mommy’s” lawyer, a Mr. Gray, and looking back thinks that maybe they were a little too friendly.

“Mommy” was dead.  I couldn’t ask her.  My birth records are sealed.  Dead End. 

One day about two months later I was working on a California family line and was looking up a birth record in the California birth index online.  I couldn’t get the information I was looking for and wondered if I was entering too little information for the search criteria.  So I decided to test it.  I knew my birth record was indexed.  Even though the birth records are sealed my information was indexed.  So I typed in my mother’s maiden name (that was the search criteria I was using); I must have always used her married name before, because this time I came up with three records; one listed with her married name, one listed with her maiden name and one listed with the surname Brown.

Brown??? 

I called my sister, “She changed his color,” I told her. 

Now I was sure…well, pretty sure, Dick was not my Dad.  So I asked him for a DNA paternity test.  The test results came back…Dick is not my father.

Here I was a genealogist working towards my certification and attempting to become a professional with no paternal line.  The top half of my chart a complete blank.  Once again my sense of indentify is shaken. 

I quit genealogy. 

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