I wasn’t expecting much from this spring break. A few days off work, hanging out at home with the kids, write a little? Man, was I underestimating life.
Last Wednesday I was parked on Lansing Ave, waiting for the middle child to come out of school, while listening to the youngest jabber on about her day in school. I was trying to stay awake and concentrate on my Hidden City game after a long day of listening to kids jabber. Rudely, my phone buzzed, jolting me to full awareness, I glanced at the message and passed the phone to my daughter.
“It’s for you.” I said.
“It’s from Jetah!”
“What does it say?”
“Call me as soon as you can. Marvin and I are driving to Laura Mie(?) right now and the service is spotty, but we should be there by 3 our time.”
“Who’s Marvin?” I asked.
“I think you mean Laramie, it’s in Wyoming. Why is she in Wyoming?”
“I have no idea.” She hands the phone back to me.
“Aren’t you going to call her?”
“I’ll call her later.”
The middle child appeared, the phone was put away and life went on.
Thursday morning I was just about to clock in at work when my phone buzzed again.
Did you ever message Zoe?
It was from my Ancestry.com cousin. I stared at it blankly for a minute. Then realized there was another message above it.
Call me as soon as you can…..
I fired off a quick note letting her know I’d missed her message yesterday and no I hadn’t sent a message to Zoe and I was just getting to work and I would call her at lunch.
Then I spent the next four hours wondering what in the world she’d found out that would require me calling her. My imagination went a bit crazy. I admit it.
At lunch, I checked my phone and was dismayed to find she was at a lecture and would call me when she was done. I tried again after school but she wasn’t in a good cell coverage area and I heard every third word for about 20 seconds before service completely cut out. ARGHHHH
Finally at 5 o’clock that night my phone rang. She’d returned from her trip and wanted to let me know that she had messaged Zoe. Zoe was a new match that had showed up on Ancestry in both of our lists the last week. I don’t know all that much about DNA but my matching numbers with Zoe were double what they were with my cousin, Ann. She thought Zoe might be the granddaughter of the woman we think was my mother, and she asked her that in the message.
“Let me read you her reply.” She said.
Yes, I am Vicky’s granddaughter, though I didn’t know her well. I met her only twice in my life. My father is her only son, though she did have a daughter she gave up for adoption. We don’t know anything about her.
I don’t remember a word she said after that until at some point she said, “There it is. Plain as day. Confirmation. We were right, Vicky was your mom!”
After that everything gathered speed and information came fast and crazy. I had Friday off school and I asked Ann if I could start my family tree now, she said I had plenty of DNA to do so. After I added my mom, I started looking at my matches, searching for one that Ann didn’t share. I had to go down to 4-5th cousin matches but I found one. And I looked at his tree for one minute before I found a name I recognized. I spent five more minutes verifying my find then called Ann.
“Am I looking at this right?”
May I introduce to you, Vicky and John, my parents.
Over the course of the weekend I I’ve looked at hundreds of pages, records, clippings and family trees. This is the story I’ve built around those records, with no input from anyone who actually know them. Any mistakes are all mine. In coming years I hope to add to my understanding of them.
John was born in Chicago, an only child. I believe Vicky was born in California but I haven’t got my hands on a record to prove me right.
1968 – John was married with four children, Vicky, a single girl. In 1968 John divorced his first wife and Vicky gave me up for adoption, the day I was born.
1969-John and Vicky marry.
1971- John and Vicky divorce, John immediately remarried.
1973- John and Vicky divorce again (? still looking for accurate/missing records)
1974- Vicky marries her second husband and gives birth to a son.
1979- Vicky marries second husband again(? still checking)
1984- John divorces his third wife.
1994- John dies.
2009- Vicky dies.
2018- Their daughter finally finds them.