Monday, November 15, 2010

Iris

Well you gotta give a guy credit for being right. Those who have been following my blog along know just how hollow that particular victory can be. My grandpa got up the next morning, played a round of golf, and had lunch at the club with his buddies, where the king of the chicken fingers ate tacos of all things for is last lunch. (I have no idea why I think it is so funny that he did something so out of character on his last day, but I do, he went out with a fiesta.) Sometime during the night he got out of bed, turned on his reading light next to his chair and passed away.

He came home to be buried, at Brookside Cemetery in his home town next to my grandmother (I was two years old, when she passed). Brookside is a place I know as well as my own back yard. Growing up it was someplace I spent a lot of time. It was kitty-corner from my mother’s adopted parent’s house, their nine year-old daughter was buried there, my father’s mother has been buried there, my mother’s adoptive parents were there, and now my grandpa was as well. When we were kids we would all sit on my mom’s parent’s lawn and watch my grandpa march in the Memorial Day parade with the other WWII vets. He was home, where he belonged. I was sad, but I was forewarned.


My husband and I take our girls back to Brookside every Memorial Day for the parade; we walk through the cemetery and read all of the headstones that I know by heart. My kids go looking for the little kids head stones I used to play around as a kid, I guess it is an odd family tradition but it is one of the few we have left from my childhood.

And every year for the past 9 years we go stand at his grave and I think “Just tell me what it is I am supposed to be looking for, Grandpa!” while my kids go around and water everybody else’s flowers.

I have had his written family tree notes, his death certificate, his CCC camp photos, and roster, right here, in my bottom desk drawer – within arms reach for 9 years now. I pull them out now and then and I search names and places and names with places, and nothing speaks to me…

Until 11 days ago when I got this comment on my blog:


"Sitting down? Your grandfather is listed as my Dad's father on his birth certificate in 1940 in Michigan (I grew up in Gibralter). My grandmother was not married. I believe I spoke to your father last year. Not very happy to hear from me. (Email address removed)"

I have to admit, mental math is not my strong suit. Umm, ok, my sister was born in ’63, my dad was born in '43, Grandpa was born in '22…so his dad is 3 years older than my dad…when did my grandma and grandpa get married… let me look, right her in grandpas stuff…1941.

Holly COW! Somehow that makes complete sense.

I imagine most people would get a message like that and just dismiss it as some internet wack-job running a scam, but I have lived in adopt-a-land my whole life where secrets and lies prevail and stranger things happen all the time.

According to him my grandpa had another son, my dad had a brother, we had an uncle and cousins, we have Koffron family.

The only thing about it that didn’t make sense to me was how my Grandpa, the one who never really knew his father, the one who, was shoved off on anyone willing to take him by his mother, the one who was bitterly disappointed in what a failure his son was as a father to his grandchildren, have known he had a child and not raise them? He was 17, a boy in a man's world, with no family.  I'm not saying it is right but I get it.

Maybe he didn’t know, I thought. Well he knew something and he wasn’t happy with himself about it 61 years latter.

There are still a few missing pieces, or lose ends I would like to tie up. Some details I am curious about, but I am pretty sure we are flesh and blood.

I still wish he could have just came out and told me himself - I would have understood, I would not have loved him any less.

I feel relief. My grandpa sent me on a quest for the truth about something and in the end the something found me. I wish we could have found each other while my grandpa was still alive, they would have really liked him, he was gruff but loving. My grandpa would have been happy to know his oldest son had a good life. He would have liked to have had some more grandchildren who didn’t keep him up nights worrying. I wish we could have found each other before my uncle, my dad’s brother passed away last March, his kids thought the world of him. But that is when his son found the birth certificate and started looking for us.

70 years and two generations later we all just want to know who we are, our kin, our tribe, our clan.


And I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am


* This post is a part of my National Adoption Awareness Month, a post every day in November campaign, to remind perspective adoptive parents that there are 140,000 kids for whom family preservation is not an option, who through no fault of their own are currently available for adoption in the U. S. foster care system, right here in our own back yard.  If you are considering adoption please consider adopting a foster child or becoming a foster parent.  It could change a child’s life.

4 Comments:

Linda said...

Wow!!! So now you have another branch!! It's exciting!

Anastasia said...

That is amazing! The internet makes the world so small! Could I get your email, I had a question for you. Mine's sweetbutterbliss@gmail.com

Just Me said...

Wow! It is a small world. I keep hoping that someday my father (or someone related to him) will find me but in my heart of hearts I know... that just won't happen. I wish you luck in maintaining this new found connection!

~Tatum~ said...

WOW!!! Amazing

 
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