I woke up this morning remembering going to church with my dad after my mom died. Growing up, my dad never went to church with us. He worked a lot, often double shifts at Standard Oil Refinery in El Paso Texas. After us kids left home, he started going to keep my mom company. Somehow it fed something in him that he continued to go after he lost her.
I don’t know what caused this photo to be taken or how it ended up in the possession of my dad’s original mother. I am intrigued by what appear to be several bed frames in the background. My dad was born in a Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers in San Diego California. After he was born, his mother was hired as a helper by the Salvation Army and transferred to El Paso Texas. It may be that my dad’s adoptive mother took him to visit her there. It may be that the look on his face is a disturbed recognition of his own mother. I’ll never know.
I know that by this point, he had been adopted for the first time. He would be adopted a second time after my Granny kicked her first husband, an abusive alcoholic, out of her home and then married a WWII veteran. So my dad was already 8 years old when he was adopted for the second time and had 2/3s of his name changed – again.
My dad looks healthy but not entirely happy here. I continue to wonder what that expression on his face means. It is serious and perhaps puzzled.
My dad simply accepted his adoption and never showed any interest in knowing about his original family. He cautioned my adoptee mom when she was seeking a reunion for herself that she might be opening up a can of worms. I think this epitomizes his perspective. Maybe he was afraid of learning the truth. I know he loved and cared for his adoptive parents.
It is a shame he didn’t know more about his origins, origins that I am fortunate to know now. He was so much like his Danish fisherman father and they would have had a great time in a boat out on the ocean doing what came naturally to both of them.