Monday, February 16, 2015

Chapter 15: MAY 29, 2014. THE PROVERBIAL LANDING OF THE EAGLE

I waited about fifteen minutes before going back to my computer and dialing "Tricia's" number.  It was possibly the longest 15 minutes of my life.  The curious thing that happens when one is so close to something this- for lack of a better word- monumental, is that you are intensely aware that this is the first and only time that this is going to happen. I am an Introvert.  Before you call bullshxxx, you should know that  a true introvert is not a "shy person".  No.  Introverts often have very vibrant personalities, and can appear to be the life of the party.  The difference is that we need plenty of "alone time" to recharge.  Once our energy is spent there needs to be some solitude in which to build our social energy back up.  Also, we like to get to the point.  This means that we love conversation- as long as it isn't "small talk".  If we aren't interested in the weather or some sporting event, we check out.  This may sound pretty self-serving, and I suppose it is.  I can only be honest about how my brain works. We also don't appreciate having an audience if we aren't absolutely positive that the outcome will be favorable.  While some surround themselves with loved ones for moral support during a tense situation- my preference is to brave the task alone.  Still, it felt as though I should be sharing this moment with others- maybe as proof that it was actually happening?  I don't know.  Perhaps my ultimate choice to go it alone was because I never feel as though others (non-adoptees) really understand why this is so important to me and I need for the gravity of the situation to be felt by all who are present.

Brrrrrr Brrrrrr.

"Hello?"
"Is this Tricia?"
"Julie?"
"Yes.  Thank you for taking my call."
"No worries.  What can I help you with?"
"Well, I'm researching the Brant family and was told that you would have the answers to my questions."
"I'll try."

Breathe.

"Are you related to an Isaac Brant?"
"Yes.  He was my Grandfather."
"So, your Grandmother was Gertude?"
"That's correct."
"Which of your parents is their off-spring?"
"My Dad.  Stanley Brant.  He is 92."
"Does he have a sister named Arline?"
"He did."

Breathe

"Did Arline have a son named Malcolm?"
"She did."

Whitelightwhitelightwhitelightwhitelightwhitelightwhitelight.

I think I asked a few more pointed questions just to be sure.  I took another deep breath.

"Okay Tricia.  I need to tell you what is happening right now.  Malcolm is my biological father.  I have been looking for him for twenty five years and you are the first person to confirm his existence."

I don't remember Tricia's actual response, but I'm happy to report that she was delighted, warm, open and helpful.  How do I get so lucky?  It boggles my mind how successful my phone search has been.  Tricia told me that she hadn't seen or heard from Malcolm in 10 or 20 years.  The last she heard he was living in Mt Gambier, just inside the South Australia Border.
There it was again.  South Australia.  The only state that doesn't release it's electoral rolls.  I even recall someone from the Copelen Street Center telling me that they believed that Malcolm was now in South Australia and they had sent him a letter, but got no response.
I told Tricia my story and that I was so thankful that she was willing to help me.  The fact is, the family has not been in touch for many years- and I don't think they had been particularly close.   Arline was the oldest of five kids.  Tricia's dad, Stanley, was the second youngest and Iris (the youngest) is also still alive.  Arline had died in 1986.  Tricia also told me that I needed to contact her cousin, Barb.  She is Iris's daughter- and the family historian.  She said that she would call her as soon as she got off the phone to get permission to give me her e-mail address.  While I didn't want to let her go for fear that I wouldn't be able to talk to her anymore, I knew that the sooner I let her go- the sooner I get more information.  She took my phone number and e-mail address and promised to get back to me.

I thanked her profusely, let her hang up and  literally bounced my way to the back room to announce my victory.  My adrenaline had kicked in and the more I realized what had just happened the more hyper I became.  I suddenly remembered a bevy of questions that I should have asked her.  Oh my God, Kym, I forgot to ask about Kym.
After bouncing back to my "station" I decided that I was more than warranted to call back this soon.  I simply had to know about Kym.
I dialed.
Busy.
Apparently "call-waiting" isn't a thing in Australia.  Can't say I blame them.
I continued to re-dial every five minutes or so- to  no avail.  Argh.  Hopefully she's on the phone with family, coming up with ways to locate Malcolm.....Maybe she's TALKING to Malcolm.

Finally, after what seemed like two hours, the ring tone returned.
"Hello?"
"Hi Tricia- it's me again."
"Hi Julie".  She positively "sing-songed" the greeting.  I could hear the smile in her voice.  At that moment,  I decided that I loved my new cousin.
"I forgot to ask about Kym."
"Oh right, Kym.  Arline divorced Lionel and married a man named Alex Crouse and they had a daughter named Kym.  He died not long after that.  Then Arline married a man named David Chapman."

I was surprised to hear that Arline was married when she had Kym.  Val had never mentioned Alex Crouse.  However, one thing I have learned for sure is that humans remember identical situations completely differently.  My mother and her sister are perfect examples of this.  They have varying memories of many aspects of the same time and location.  If only Facebook were around in the sixties.
Tricia said she had been on the phone talking to Barb and she seemed eager to connect with me.  Barb now cares for her mother full-time.  Iris is in her late eighties and, though frail, is quite lucid.  Unfortunately Tricia's dad, Stanley, lives in a nursing home and is suffering from Alzheimers.

The fact that they were both still alive was remarkable to me and I made up my mind that my next trip to Australia was going to be sooner rather than later.


After hanging up for the second time I composed a lengthy e-mail to Tricia and Barb.  I explained my history and some of the details of my journey.  I wanted them to know that I was not searching for any sort of "vengeance" or to humiliate anyone, and that I didn't even know if he had known about me.  My goal was (and has always been) to locate the person who gave me life.  I wanted to know who he was and for him to know who I was.  That I existed.  That my life had meaning.  Of course, medical history had always been important as well.

I awaited their responses.  I was shaking in anticipation of information and photographs.  Though it hadn't been confirmed that my biological father was still alive, I had no reason to believe that he was not.