Monday, January 30, 2006

I Have a Father!

I wanted to wait until tomorrow to blog about this, but I'm sure I'll have so much to tell then that I'll not have space and I want to keep record of everything that's happening so I begin tonight.

I have found my father. And he's alive.

Almost fifty-two years ago, there was a court battle. My mother's family against my father's family to see who gets custody of the offspring of Jeri Jarman Colonna and Ernest Lee Colonna. A baby girl. Who didn't have a chance to choose.

My mother's family won.

After the court hearing, I never saw my father again. According to my mother's side of the family, he wasn't worth knowing put in other words I fail to remember.

I grew up a fatherless daughter.

Sure, I had a step-father who delighted in using my sibling, me and my mother as punching bags, so needless to say, having a father meant nothing to me.

Or did it...

I spent the rest of my life wondering (to myself, of course) what he looked like, if I looked like him and if he was even still alive. More importantly, I wondered if he ever thought of that little baby girl who he would never know as his daughter.

While all the kids had both mothers and fathers, I was denied that right.

Two months after I married, my mother died. She took with her the secrets of my father and I would never be able to ask questions ever again.

Not that I asked any when she was alive as talking about him was taboo. After all, he wasn't worth it, so they said.

I loved my mother more than anything in the world. She tried to be a good mother, but something was always missing. My next-door-neighbor, I envied so, because she had a father who taught her how to ride a bike and, more importantly, someone to call Daddy. I never had that privilege.

Five years after my mother passed away, I gave birth to a little girl. A healthy bouncing baby girl I named Melissa. She was beautiful. She had red hair just like everyone on my mother's side, which made me question why it was that I was the only blonde. Was it the fact my father, so they told me, was also blonde? So many unanswered questions.

After Melissa was one-year-old, for some unknown reason, I wanted to try to contact the Daddy I never knew. I'm not even sure why. I'm thinking it was a hormonal new mother kind of thing going on, but the urge to find him was ever present. I just had to know if he was still alive, if nothing else.

I found his mother's (my grandmother) phone number, took a breath and prepared to tell a woman I never knew that I was alive and that she was a great-grandmother.

"Don't call here again," was her response. I'm sure he never got the message that I had even called.

I put the phone back in the holder and walked away, empty. That was my last hope.

I never thought anymore about contacting my father again. It was obvious to me they didn't want to know me or even acknowledge me. It was like a shot right through my heart, but I went on my business and never contacted them again. After all, I figured that if I never knew them, then I'd never be able to initiate feelings with them one way or another. But, still, the nagging to find him persisted.

Years later, I was on a local board on the internet and I noticed people were placing ads to find lost loved ones. I thought, what the heck, and placed an ad for a plea that if anyone knew anything about my father, Ernest Lee Colonna, to get in touch with me.

That was three years ago.

Tonight, I get a call.

It is a man on the other end named Jamieson all the way from Orlando, Florida.

Seems he was doing a family tree on the Colonna family and one thing led to another and they found out that there was a little girl that his uncle had sired fifty-two years ago and had never seen.

I can imagine what was going through his head at the time...was she still alive? Would she even be willing to listen to me when I tell her that her father was still alive? Should I even try to contact her?

Jamieson used the search engines and found my websites. He said that when he saw my photo, he knew. This was Ernest Lee's daughter.

I listened to the young man tell me about my father and his family. Seems the Colonnas came to the Eastern Shore of Virginia in 1650. The first one was named Owen Colonna.

I found out more, too. My grandfather's name is Arthur Colonna and my great-grandfather's name is John William Colonna. And the woman who wouldn't talk to me over the phone twenty-seven years ago? She had since passed away.

According to Jamieson, I have aunts and uncles and cousins I've never heard about. What a concept.

I am to meet one of them tomorrow. Her name is Carmen Colonna and lives in Wachapreague. She's a minister who helps migrant workers in the area. She wants to meet me. And, she even said she'd try to find a picture of my father.

And my father? He's been sick, but he's alive. They almost lost him a couple months ago, but now he seems to be doing well. I think he said he was about 73.

He's living with family in Mardela Springs, Maryland, a hop and a skip from me.

So many emotions are running through me right now. I don't have any immediate family, not really, except for a sister I don't really speak to and an aunt who I don't get along with.

I'm a very private person and where I have books to write and a million other things to work on, this suits fine with me.

But, is it time for me to find my roots?

What does my father look like and what would it feel like to see him for the first time? What would I say? Would I cry and say I'm sorry?

So many emotions.

Tomorrow I meet Aunt Carmen. I'll keep you posted. This will sure be interesting.

Wish me luck and godspeed, please! I'm going to need it...

9 comments:

  1. Dorothy, I can't imagine what you might be going through right now.

    Being as close as I was to my (now deceased) father, I can understand you would want to know him. Thank goodness your dad is still alive and you haven't missed the post, so to speak.

    Get to know him as much as possible, and enjoy your newfound family.

    There's nothing quite like the relationship between father and daughter...



    Cheryl

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  2. I can't imagine what you would do with a father...are we supposed to go out back and pitch a ball or something..grin..?

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  3. I am so excited for you! I pray it's a wonderful meeting tomorrow and that it opens doors for many more!

    Alyice
    http://thedabblingmum.com

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  4. Wow, this is amazing! I can't wait to hear how it turns out.

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  5. That's wonderful news, Dorothy. I hope the meeting goes well for you. :) It's great to hear a good news story for a change. Can't wait to read your update on this!

    Hugs,

    Lynette

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  6. I am reliving my own, similar experience through you, Dorothy. You've also validated everything I've been feeling, everything I've been saying through my fatherless blog and nonfiction book. I applaud you for being so honest with your feelings so publicly. It took me several years to be able to do that.

    Wishing you the best! Hugs!!!

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  7. Wow, get that book published and let's go on Lifetime. I'm serious!

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  8. Wow! That's an amazing story! I wish you much love and happiness in your quest to reunite with your dad.

    Btw, thanks for visiting and linking to me! Much appreciated!

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