Pat’s story (con’t.) – She and Linda were apart for 32 years.
“Did you give birth to a daughter in St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, IL in March of 1959?…
Are you my Mother?” Pause, while I sit there paralyzed. She goes on. “Because if you are, I want to thank you because I’ve had a wonderful life.”
I felt I had no choice. We talked on and on and I felt like this most certainly was my child. At one point I told her I would be in California in the fall because I was part of a group that met in Ojai several times a year. She responded. “ I’ll do you one better. My Dad will be coming to St.Louis for business. I will come with him, and we can meet. It’s in two weeks.”
Oh my God…two weeks!!!!! I was teaching. My daughter and her two sons were just moving into a condo with me so she could go back to college. I decided I would do what I had to do but telling my family then would not be an option.
The appointed day I thought I would have a heart attack. My heart kept pounding like never before. What would she look like? I gave her up at birth and never ever saw her even as a new baby. What would happen? I got to the motel and knocked. She opened the door and I said, “You are beautiful”. We hugged. She explained that her parents and a nephew both came and went to St.Louis so she and I could do this reunion alone. Shortly after that another knock came. It was one of our local florists who was late in getting there. Linda had ordered a bouquet for me. We were to meet with her parents later in the day for dinner.
I took her to my office at the college; introduced her to colleagues. I remember being so excited and happy. We picked up my other daughter and dropped her off to pick up her boys. I introduced her as the person who had called but not as a half-sister or daughter. Later we met up with her adoptive parents in the motel. What I remember most was that they reminded me so much of my Mom and Dad. What I found somewhat strange was that her Dad especially kept telling me how they had taken Linda to Poland; they were of Polish heritage. Other trips and everything. I kept feeling like they were trying to prove to me they had done a great job in raising my daughter. I in turn was constantly thanking them for what they had done. It was just very strange.
We went to dinner with plans for Linda and I to drive the 30 miles to my parents’ home. I had called earlier and said that it was actually Linda, not Michelle, but that she’d like to meet them. So much later, past my parents’ bedtime, we got there. We talked briefly and Mom told me to take Linda back to the “telly room” as they called it and show her the collection. Mom had a bulletin board where she posted all the grandchildren’s pictures. We did that. As we prepared to leave both my Mom and Dad gave her a big hug. I took her on a quick drive through town and then back to the motel. We promised to stay in touch, and we did.
Tomorrow: Part III- The Birthday Party