Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chapter 5 : 24 HOURS LATER....

     Saturday May 13, 1989.  I waited my advised 24 hours.  Actually I may have waited slightly longer as I don't recall having a lot of expectations about the outcome of the search that this "Angel" had so selflessly offered to undertake.  I called back probably 25 and half hours later.  After two rings, my "angel" (Mrs. Priest!) answered the phone and without taking a breath she blurted out "Julie, I have Lynette's phone number for you."

What?

     Apparently my "angel" had a father who was a taxi driver in Mt Macedon, had been for most of his life, and knew most of the folks in town.  When his daughter asked him for help he drove over to my grandfather's house (on Anzac Rd.), knocked on the front door and informed him that someone from overseas was looking for Lynette.  Of course I don't know the details of the conversation, but the result was my grandpa Noel handing over his daughter's phone number to a local cab driver, who handed it off to his daughter and now I had it.  She lived on the other side of the country.  A tiny gold mining town that I later found out was famous for being the only town in Australia to still have legal brothels. I'm sure there's a good reason for that.....but, I digress....


WHAT?

     I was positively squealing with delight.  My "angel" asked how I knew Lynette and I remember blurting out that she was a friend of my mom's.  I suppose, at that point, I could have told her the truth, but apart from being a little out of my mind with astonishment, I was still not sure how close to hold my information.  I thanked my angel and hung up.  I wish I had had the presence of mind to write down her full name and address.  Over the years "angels" (or "search angels") have become an integral part of my search.  In fact, "search angels" are what holds the genealogy community together. I'll talk more about my "angels" as my story progresses (particularly after the implementation of genealogy websites), but for now I just want to throw out a long overdue expression of gratitude to my original "angel".....Mrs Priest.

     So.  There I stood holding the phone number of my biological mother in my trembling little hand.  I had to take the moment to acknowledge that I was actually IN IT.  I'm sure most adoptees have had that thought throughout their lives.  What would it be like to suddenly possess the connection to your person (or people).  I now know what it's like.  It's peculiar.  It's completely unnatural.  It's lonely.  The only other people in my house at that time were my PARENTS.  It's entirely possible that they were horrified by my sudden landfall of information.  Of course, as they were not the type of people who were quick to express emotions of any sort, there was no conversation about how I was about to take a step that could possibly change the dynamic within our tiny three person ecosystem (such that it was).  I have eluded in the past to the odd dynamic that has always stood between me and my parents.  Aside from the fact that we undoubtedly came from different planets, my parents were decent, ethical, hard-working people and I love them for doing the very best that they could.  I love them because they are my parents and, as bizarre as it sounds, I thank them for helping to reveal that I am a complete original.  As uncomfortable as they both were with being the center of attention, or ruffling feathers or swimming against the tide, those are EXACTLY the qualities that I most identify with. Go figure.  So, instead of embracing each other and acknowledging the obvious weirdness we were in the midst of, all three of us sort of just retreated to our usual stations; my mom to her bedroom, dad to his office and me to the kitchen- where the only phone was.

     No time like the present I guess.  I reached toward the wall to pick up the phone receiver and in the process swept something off the counter.  I picked up the object, and as I recognized it- I froze.  Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I actually don't remember what exactly that object was.  I had been to the Orange County Swap Meet earlier in the day to purchase said item.  It was for my mom, so it was likely some sort of folksy wooden hand carved thingy with a sassy 80's saying on it. It was something that my mom would find amusing, have a little chuckle and line up next to the her collection of "tchotchkes" she had acquired over the years.  My favorite part of this menagerie was my moms knack for "placement". For example, there was this golden Buddha type figurine (that she had undoubtedly picked up at one of her beloved garage sales).  This guy stood at a diagonal angle- but inches away from an enormous "paper mache" set of the Three Wise Men.  To this day,  I'm not sure whether the irony of this arrangement was lost on my mother.  I love/hated it.  I digress. Again.

     The item I had swept off of the counter was a Mother's Day gift.  TOMORROW WAS MOTHER'S DAY.  In Australia, it was ALREADY Mother's Day.  Could I really talk to my biological mother for the first time on THAT day??  As poetic (and dramatic) as that seemed, I projected forward a few minutes.  Since it was her day, she was probably surrounded by her "other" children.  Who was I to steal their thunder? They probably knew nothing about me.  What could be a beautiful moment could just as easily become an ugly reality TV episode (yes, I was reality TV before there was such a thing).  I realized that I had waited this long to talk to her- I could wait one more day.  Twenty-four more hours.  I was a peace, and slightly relieved at this decision.