I was born into a family of 3 daughters; 3 girls within 4 years of age between us. I don’t know HOW my mother coped. The good news was that we could wear each other’s hand-me-downs. The bad news is that in a family of 3, alliances are formed of 2 against 1; it was rarely The 3 Musketeers. Being the ‘runt of the litter’ I was usually the odd one out. Oh how I longed for a big brother who would protect me!
We 3 girls represented all status of women. My sister Rose was divorced, I’m single and my sister Nancy married the man of her dreams. For different reasons we all remained childless. In my 30’s I suffered a broken heart, left my native NC & moved to Florida. The change of scenery, sun, ocean & massage school helped nurse me back to health. If you’ve ever lived in Florida there are 2 seasons: summer & something else. Living without the seasons distorted my sense of time. Naturally, my new life was exciting but I missed my family terribly. I began to see my father decline in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.
Of course, I visited as often as I could & had planned a trip in 2001, the 1st week in May. After a long day at work the week prior, I was lying on the couch after dinner. My phone rang with a call from Nancy. Assuming she was confirming my flight plans, I stayed under the blanket & answered the phone. ‘Hi Sis’, I said. She answered, ’Sheila I have some major news. We have a brother.’ Then I was sitting up- “How???’ I yelled in disbelief. Here’s the abbreviated back story:
Daddy went to business college in Asheville, NC and met a young lady named Faye, his Navy buddy Jacks’ sister. When Faye became pregnant she stayed with her family in the mountains & Daddy was hired by a firm in Charlotte. Their son, John, was born in 1947. They didn’t marry but remained in contact. A few years later Faye married a local man, Troy Reid, who adopted John and wanted to stop all contact from my father. Then my dad met my mother in Charlotte, they married and began their family. My mother knew about John and they decided to keep this secret from everyone. Faye never gave John any information about my father until the year before she passed. Faye told him his father was James Alexander from Concord, NC, had attended Blanton Business College, served in the Navy as chief petty officer & his last known address was Indianapolis, In. John entered this data into a search site that guaranteed results within 24 hrs. and received 6 matches. John then wrote a letter to all stating he was looking for his biological father, didn’t want anything monetary, just his medical history & that if you are my father & want to reach me, here’s my contact information. My mother intercepted the letter, read it to Daddy, helped Daddy write a reply letter, called John for a phone introduction and arranged for our 2 families to meet. It just so happened to coincide with my trip home…serendipitous!
I’d never been so excited. We met at Nancy’s country home and tied blue balloons on her mailbox to mark the house (it’s a boy)! The day was indescribable .Although Daddy had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years earlier, he knew exactly what was happening. As John’s car entered the driveway Daddy came outside & waited for the car door to open. The 2 men shook hands, not being able to take their eyes off the other. Each man had found the missing piece of his life. We had a new brother, my parents had grandchildren and thus began a new chapter with John, wife Nelda and daughters Courtney & Cara.