This Piece Got Me Accepted into the Institute of Children’s Literature Course
In November of 1991 our house had been burned. We were unable to live in it so we had to stay at a hotel. We lived in this hotel for approximately three months.
One evening I was upset because I wanted to go to my hometown to visit my great-grandmother. My great-grandmother lived nearly three hours away and I was feeling pity for myself, because I had to work the next day. See I was 17 at the time, my house had been set on fire deliberately and I still had to work!! I remember being very upset with my Boss because he didn’t give me any sympathy. I felt at the time that I had been going through enough.
I was on my way to go to some friend’s house when I decided to stop at the counter and talk to the young, good looking gentleman behind the counter.
I decided to ask him what he would do if he were me. Would he quit his job, call in sick or not show up for work? I don’t remember what his response was, but I do remember the rest of the conversation.
He noticed that I wore a red and black Letterman’s jacket all the time with the inscription “Giessen Germany” on the back of it. It prompted him to ask the question: “Were you ever in Germany?’ I replied: “Yes, I lived there for ten years.” He said: “How come you lived there so long?”
“Because my step-dad was in the military and he got stationed there that long.”
Joe replied: “I was in Germany for a short time. Did you like it there?”
“I loved it there”, I replied.
“I liked it there too. I noticed you said that you lived there with your step-dad. Does that mean that you were adopted?”
I answered, “Yes, I was adopted when I was around two years old. I originally lived in Marshfield, Wisconsin but I went to Texas at around the age of two and went to Germany when I was five.”
Joe stated then that he was adopted also. He had just recently found his real father. Rather solemnly I said: “I haven’t found my real father yet. I once spoke to his parents but they wouldn’t give me any information about him. Without his social security number I won’t know where to find him.”
Joe then said rather energetically: “My real father was from the Marshfield area. Maybe you would know him?”
“I may,” I said, rather doubtful since I had spent ten years in Germany. I came back to live with my mother when I was 15, but I lived in Madison and only went to Marshfield once in awhile to visit relatives on my mother’s side of the family. I figured he could give it a shot anyway. Who Knows….
“His name is Paul Beyel.”
“Paul Beyel”, I said, “with the middle initial A, but no one knew what it stood for?….And you have a brother or a sister or two brothers or two sisters…..no, one had to be a girl because they caller her Dee-Dee.”
Rather shocked Joe replied: “Yes, her name is Diane.”
I then stated: “Get over here and give me a hug…You’re my brother!”
After talking with Joe for a little while I called my Mom , who was at the friend’s house I was going to see, and relayed the news to her. She didn’t believe me that I had just found my brother at the very hotel we were living at! She asked Joe all sorts of questions and when I got back on the phone she exclaimed: “You are right it is him!”
Joe had stated that he just found his real father. I knew we had different mothers but we shared the same father. So this meant that if he found his father then I would have found my real father too! Immediately I asked for my father’s number and address. He had the phone number with him. This meant that I could go upstairs to my hotel room and dial that number and be connected to my biological father!!
I flew up the stairs, praying the whole time that he be home. All I needed now was to be able to be in touch with him after all these years, and no one answer the phone!
With hands trembling I dialed his number. It seemed like the phone rang for forever. Then suddenly: “Hello.”
“Hi”, I said, “Do you know who this is? It’s your daughter Katrina.”
He was shocked to hear from me after all these years. But he was as happy as I was! He said he knew he would find me but it had to be after I was 18, because of the adoption regulations. But I was so thankful that my father wasn’t disappointed to hear from me. It was only since I was the age of 14 that I realized that I was adopted. It was a great shock to me. Then I had worried that my real father didn’t love me. Maybe he gave me up because he didn’t like me or for some reason like that. But he didn’t. He loved me.
It was difficult times back then. He was laid off his job, my mother and I moved to Texas with what was to be my step-dad. My real father had no contact with me and no job. He had three other kids to support. My step-dad was in the military. The military performed my much needed open heart surgery and paid for it. That could only have happened if I was the dependent of someone in the military! The way I see it, my real father knew what sacrifice really was.
A few days after I found him he sent me flowers to my job. The very job I was mad at, for not letting me go see my great-grandmother!
When I look back I say a lot of if only’s….
If only it had been a couple months before or after…Joe wouldn’t have been employed there. If only we wouldn’t have had the fire…I never would have been in that hotel at the right time. If only I had called in sick to go see my great-grandmother…I wouldn’t have talked to Joe.
See, life is full of what-if’s….But I’m glad I didn’t use those what if’s at that time because otherwise I would be saying what if….Now!