After so many years living with the idea that I was an only child, it is a bit disconcerting to learn that not only am I NOT an only child, but there is another guy running around in the universe with my exact name – right down to the Junior at the end of it.
Dad, who I never knew except at a rumor, was as busy as Johnny Apple Seed, and spread the family wealth far and wide.
So far I am certain now that I have two half sister, two half brothers and an adopted half sister who is also a facebook friend.
The three half sisters came from one of my father’s wives, the two half brothers from another, none of which until a few years ago, did I know he had married again – and with at least one of these wives (the mother of his other sons) I’m not sure he married at all.
He certainly never got a divorce from my mother, who he split from in the early 1950s before making his way across country to spread his wealth.
If I sound ungrateful, I’m not.
I need family more than I ever have since all of those who I had come to see as brothers (my uncles) have since passed off this mortal coil, leaving me devoid of those I felt closest to (and sometimes resentful of) during my younger years, and yet, who stood up for me during the aftermath of my criminal days to keep me from rotting in some state prison.
The idea that I have blood relatives on my father’s side thrills me, and I have talked to cousins I didn’t know I had and shared information, and today, one of these great people actually came up with a phone number to a half sister who actually wants to touch base with a family member she didn’t know existed until a few hours ago.
Life is strange in that regard – the whole concept of family taking on new meaning when you least expect.
I keep thinking about my father and his life in
and how more than once during my wildest days I must have come close to where
he worked and perhaps even passed him on the street, neither of us aware of the
other until it was far too late to connect. He died in 1990 two years before I
began a serious search for him, and now all these years later, the fruit of my
search has ripened and if not meeting the man himself, I begin to meet people
who actually knew him and breathed the same air he did, an lived part of their
lives in his company, and can give me a glimpse into what I missed.