Thursday, June 2, 2011

big daddy

originally posted 8/10/10 edited 6/3/11

people often ask me how i found my first family. here's the story of finding my nfather.

the first time i met my mother, she came to my house that i shared with 4 other girls. we were sitting at the kitchen table and she told me the story of how i came to be.

she had run away from home at 15. she went to california. at her age, she was unable to get a job, so she got back on the greyhound bus and started back to NY. 

there was a layover (no pun intended) in salt lake. she met a man who needed a nanny, so she stayed and worked for his family. she became friends with another nanny in the neighborhood, and they ended up going to a party together where she met and got laid by my father.

when she went to tell him she was pregnant with me, he was in jail. so back to NY she went.

when we were talking, she gave me his name and told me that he had been in the military at one time in his life. one other thing was that he had been married to a lady named kay and they had a son named after him.

this was back in the early 90's, so there wasn't any internet. i had to keep going back and forth to the public library. i looked in the phone books of utah searching for his name. nothing. i looked for her name. nothing.

eventually, i looked at the maps to find what possible military bases were in salt lake. i called several recruiting offices out there. nothing.

finally, i found an actual air force base. i called and asked if they could give me any info on someone based there over 20 years ago. "hahahahahahahahaha." apparently, not.

for some reason, i decided to call again around midnight. a woman answered the phone, and i told her who i was looking for. she told me 20 years was a really long time, but to call her back the next night and she would see what she could find.

i called her back, and sure enough, she had his info. she told me his DOB and where he was originally from. she also said that if i ever called back, she would deny knowing anything i was talking about.

i went back to the library and started searching the white pages for atmore, alabama. i couldn't find his name. i looked in all of alabama, nothing. i knew the area code (251) and the exchange 368. i started randomly dialing with those prefixes with any combination of numbers, asking anyone who answered if they knew him. no luck. until...........

a woman answered one of the numbers i dialed and i asked her if she knew him. "no, but my husband is the postal carrier here and he might know. hold on."


"uhhhhhyellllllllow!" i asked the same question, and he said, "i don't know him, but i know his mother, mazie. here's her number...."

holy KRAP.

so i called her. "what do you want with him????" i said i was just wanting to talk to him. she yelled at me for about 10-15 seconds until she heard me crying. "he's my father. i just wanted to talk to him....."

again....holy KRAP. i was shocked i was saying those words. "well, he's not here, but i'll tell him you called." i left my number, and i cancelled my memorial day plans to stay home next to the phone.


i tried him again several more times and i finally got him. he denied knowing anything about me. eventually, he admitted he knew about me. i asked him if i had any siblings. he said, "yes, i have 7 kids." i was shocked! "are you serious!!!???" he said, "i'm serious as a heart attack." alrighty then.

6 months later, i was home sick for 3 days with the flu. i went to grand union saturday night to get medicine. when i came home, there was a hang up on my answering machine. i was totally devastated, thinking i had missed his call. everyone i knew would have left a message. it had to be him.

a few days later, i got another call. "is this jeni?" it was a woman and i didn't recognize her voice at all. "i'm your sister."

the following november, i flew to dallas to meet my sister tracy. i was in the DFW airport when i looked around and picked her out from behind, just by the shape of her head.

that weekend, we drove to corpus and i met 6 more siblings. all very welcoming, as was their mother. 

little did i know at that point, my search was hardly over. i've found a total of 19 half siblings, and so far i've met only 8.

i was due to meet my father in 2 weeks from now, but that isn't going to happen. i'm waiting for the call that tells me he's off life support after a very long illness.

i have no regrets with my decision to not meet him up until this point. i have spoken to him on the phone several times, and for this lifetime, it's going to have to be enough. and for right now, it is. 

Robert W. ******
October 21, 1944 -August 21, 2010


  1. That's an amazing story.

    I am so sorry about your father's illness. I'm glad you've been able to talk with him. I'm wishing you both peace.

    Hugs to you, Jeni. XOXO

  2. I'm also impressed with how you serendipitously found him. That you found helpful and willing people.