The day came on Sunday, August 13th 2017. A day that I guess you could say, aside from finding my biological father, I’ve been waiting for my whole life. The day I got to see so many members of my dad’s extended family, and close friends that might as well be considered family. So, Darcy had set up a meet and greet and the excitement and nerves were killing me. Were people going to like me? Did they think I looked like my dad? Was I going to make people emotional and bring back memories of a tougher time? All things that crossed my mind and the last thing I wanted to do was make anyone upset. My stomach was in knots. I'm not sure if it was the nerves or the sushi burrito from a FOOD TRUCK I had a few hours prior. The guest were about to arrive and I was sweating like crazy.
A few minutes later, the first couple walk in; Debbie and Roger!! Some of the sweetest people on this earth. Debbie and Roger knew my dad since he was about one and a half years old. Roger was my Grandpa Rufus’s best friend and between them they seemed to do so much together. They were very involved in each others lives and on top of that Grandpa Rufus and Roger looked like twins. Debbie and Roger made me the most beautiful book filled with photos of my dad that ranged from early childhood to his later military days. They didn’t even know me yet and they made me a book!! My heart melted. I love them for being so welcoming, sharing stories with me, and treating me like I had been around forever. One of my favorite things that they gave me was a keychain that Grandpa Rufus had made after my dad passed. Roger received this keychain from Rufus shortly before he passed and he has held onto it ever since. It means the world to me that Roger decided to pass it along to me, and it has been on my keys since that day. Word’s can not express how thankful I am that these two strangers (to me) have opened up there hearts and welcomed me into their world. I am happy to know my dad had someone like you in his life. Thank you Debbie and Roger!
More guests are arriving. Cousins Tony, Jayson, Heath and Greg. Greg is also new to this group as he recently found our family a few short months after me (so exciting). He, his wife Michelle and their three daughters are so friendly. One of the girls might even come to college near me, so we instantly got to talking all about Los Angeles, criminal justice and this new family we both just found. He found them through Ancestry and I through 23andme. Wait…. I actually just realized when his daughter asked for my number I totally blanked and forgot to ask for hers! Ugh. if you're reading this text me! Haha. So great to meet you all!
Then my Great Aunt Cecilia and Doug showed up, and she is just the cutest! I am being dead serious when I tell you I tried several times to approach her but for some reason I was soooo nervous. I was literally walking in circles around their table like a hawk. Whitney can attest to the fact that I was wandering around aimlessly trying to think of what to say. What do I say? How do I start a conversation? She's the only one left from my grandmothers side and I was so nervous. Finally, I just walked up and casually started looking through photos in the box next to her until I found one that was a conversation starter haha! Plus Debbie and Roger were at the table to help ease me into it. Aunt Cecilia and Doug are AWESOME! They gave me so many photos of my dad from his first wedding and with my brothers. They even gave me a post card that he had written to his Grandma Depew. Crazy thing is, our handwriting is soooo similar it’s scary.
Throughout the rest of the night many of my dad’s friends started showing up. Dale, Amy, Heidi, Denise, Tammi, Erin, and Val to name a few. They all shared stories with me about my dad and how some even had a crush on him. It was so nice to hear so many different experiences and memories that his friends had with him. Dale, someone who my dad was very close with growing up and through his military days, is someone I talk to quite often. We met for the first time six months ago when I first came to Oregon. In February Darcy had put together a small meet up with Dale and Sherry when I went with HB a few weeks after we received our DNA results. We all met at my dad’s gravesite in the pouring rain, and they shared stories for hours. It was great to see them again.
The party was amazing. I learned so much and met so many people that meant the world to my dad. I am so thankful you all came to share stories of the past with me, and I appreciate it more than you know. I was never able to meet my dad, but you all have provided me with a window to the past, allowing me to get a glimpse at what a great man he was. Thank you for being a part of his life, and thank you for being a part of mine.
Lastly, Thank you so much to Darcy and Duane for setting everything up and allowing me to spend the week with you. I love you very much!