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My Life in 20 #Memories

My Baptismal Dress, Mama and Black Pats – Memories

 


My Life Told In 20 Memories Over 47 Years

 
I read about a different kind of storytelling called list writing so I thought I would try it. They say to think of a topic and list as many thoughts as you can. I did and ended up with 20, a perfectly round number. Let me know how I did. My life told in 20 memories over 47 years leads to the truth about my mere existence and a conversation with my mother.

I remember/I was told….

 

I was born in 1962 in York County, S.C. to a teenage girl out of wedlock.

A small town bares secrets. My name was once Adams turned to Best but could have been McClure. I hear they all lived on the same side of the railroad tracks, the McClure’s and the Adams. I use to see those tracks when me a mama walked to town to shop in Clover, S.C.

My grandparents love sustained me in my first 5 years of life. Back in Clover it was granddaddy, mama and me. Grandparents raised the children back then as some do today.

Memories? I have very little recollection of my life prior to age 5. I remember black patent leather shoes; walking to town with mama; attending Sunday school and vacation bible school in the summertime where we played Ring Around the Rosey at the AME church

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The cat licked my pacifier. What a very random first memory. Ah yes, Mama’s neighbor and friend Miss Cora’s cat licked my pacifier and I never ever sucked another again because, of course, I thought her cat licked every last pacifier in the world.

I remember that my mother was in college. I went to visit her one time. I remember my kinky hair being combed in her dorm room. OUCH, that hurt. I don’t recall why I was there.

My mother met her future husband and my future dad, adopted dad or step dad in that college named Barber Scocia in Concord, N.C.  I didn’t know the difference back then. It was a secret anyway. That dad was supposed to be the only one. Or at least that was the plan.

They got married after college. I know because I saw a picture of the happy couple. My mother in a blue dress was hugged up to the 6’3″ slim man in a suit in mama and granddaddy’s dining room. It was their reception I guess.

After the marriage deals were sealed and so were the adoption papers. That was when my name changed from Adams to Best. As I said before, It was all a secret anyway back then. All I know is that I left my lifeline and joined the newly married couple. Unhappily as I remember it.

My brain was frozen in time. Lord I missed my grandma (mama). My brain never allowed me to address my new parents by that passionate name mama and daddy. I had always called them by their first names. I remember that since we were a family, they wanted me to call them what I called Mama and granddaddy. The brain can’t switch on and off like a light so I called them nothing. I just started talking like I do today.   It was a neurological disorder so the doc said. A blockage of the brain they call it. A wall never penetrated. My brain would only let my mouth say mama and granddaddy and since I didn’t have them any longer, the wall turned to brick. It was a dead end and so today I still just start talking.

My new life in Atlanta began in the first grade. I attended St. Anthony’s Catholic school where the nuns took the ruler to my hands on a regular basis (corporal punishment was okay in the 60s). My conduct grades were always a D-. Nothing more, nothing less. I’ll never forget it.  From there I became a military brat moving to Kentucky, Germany, Texas and back to Atlanta.

I’m a pre-teen now. My uncle Bob almost told me that family secret. He said, “we need to talk one day”. One day never came and one day down the road I asked him what that thing was he wanted to say. He responded, “I don’t remember”. Today looking back, I know it was the family secret. He didn’t live long enough to see me find the truth. I also realized that he thought better of spilling the beans. Ohhhh, that was a no-no among families back in the day.

In my senior year in high school the divorce decree was sitting there in the closet. I happened upon it when my parents broke up. The words, “And the adopted daughter of Edward J. Best.” confirmed everything in that very sentence. Everything I had thought but was never told. In that moment, my life changed forever.

After graduation I left home like a thief in the night never to return. I convinced myself that living on the edge with no plans of survival was the lessor of evils that awaited me at home. I use to tell my daughter most times when she left the house, “don’t do anything life threatening today”. I realize now that I said those words to her because I did just that.

The secret had two parts of which I only had knowledge of one until much later in life. I found I was adopted at 17 but would be 47 before I knew that my last name could have been McClure.

I often searched for my biological father but that brick wall called sealed adoption surfaced every time.

FINALLY, the truth came in my mid-forties thanks to my first cousin. Cousins are like the siblings you never had.

The Hard Conversations followed. With big reveals such as mine means big conversations with those whose lives will forever change in the blink of eye because I know who exactly my biological father is. I know why I have those dark circles under my eyes and why I have high cholesterol.

Confronting my mother was rather scary. After all, I feared her all of my life. My mother feels justified and has no regrets. She wanted a better life for me. She wanted a father for me. She wanted a happy family. “She”

A father’s love is unconditional. My final conversation about this adoption matter was with my father on Martin Luther King day, 2009. The father that raised me; the one that never ever disowned me; the one that signed for me back then. He waited patiently as I met my biological father not knowing if he would lose a daughter. He’s not my stepfather, he’s my father signed, unsealed and delivered, EJB, JR.

It’s your turn. What is the title of your list? Write it as a journal entry or if you blog, post about it and let me know in comment section or pingback to this post. I’d love to see it. Inspiration: The Daily Post Writing Challenge: List Lesson