Friday, November 21, 2014

Finding my father

My father is listed on my birth certificate as "unknown,"  And the only person who could have told me something about him, my mother, died in a car accident when I was an infant.

No one knew my father's name and it seemed impossible that I would ever find him.
But that didn't stop me from searching.  

I had reason to believe he was an Air Force Officer, and so I formed an image of him as a jet pilot. Tall and handsome. A hero.  I imagined him on holidays, sitting at the head of a table in a tastefully furnished suburban home, maybe somewhere in California, surrounded by his loving wife and his grown children (my siblings) all with interesting careers and hobbies. 

I searched for eight years, but didn't find him, and came to terms with that fact.
I grieved for my unknown father and moved on. 

But then everything changed as the result of the increasing popularity of DNA tests.  So many people have taken these tests - in the interest of genealogy or just out of curiosity - that it is now fairly easy to find biological relatives this way.

As the result of several DNA tests, and some determined detective work,  I finally learned the name of my father last month.

Ted Hadley died in 1990, but I have learned a lot about him from my newly-found paternal relatives.  I have been given many photographs and a DVD of his home movies.  So, even though I will never meet him, I feel like I know him a little.

I am extraordinarily amazed by all this, and yet it is such an ordinary thing:  to know my father's name. 

As it turned out, my father was not a jet pilot.  Not a hero.  And not what you'd call a family man.  But he sure was handsome.  Also hard-working.  And fun-loving.  "He liked being the center of attention," my  half-sister recently told me.   

This is a photo of Ted Hadley in his costume for a children's television show that 
was broadcast in LasVegas in the early 1950s.

1 comment:

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...
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