Home > Uncategorized > A Season In Hell: My Medical Nightmare – Part 8

A Season In Hell: My Medical Nightmare – Part 8

By Don Millard

Homeward Bound, again? Not really.

Portrait Of My Birth Mother: Junelle Anne Wichael

When I got back to Connecticut I had a place to stay. I stayed with an old high school friend of mine and his wife, who was expecting. I’d stayed with them and paid them rent during the last two months before Christmas after my crazy landlady, I kid you not, accused me of stealing some of her diarrhea pills one Sunday night. Apparently, her diarrhea pills were highly sought after and had a street value I didn’t know about. Brown market?

Shortly after I began staying with my friend again, he and his wife left for Florida for vacation. I took advantage of this solitude to work on the final draft of the sarcastic novella I’d written the summer my Mom died in 1986. My little novel is called ‘REBEL WITH A CAUSE: The Shocking Story Of A Young Man Who Gave Humanity The Finger!’ It’s the story of a young guy who vents his spleen to a psychiatrist about what pisses him off about people and life. I know this may come as a shock, but the book is a wee bit autobiographical.

Amy and I had kept in touch by phone since I’d come back to Connecticut and about a month later she called to tell me that she’d met someone and they were moving in together in a week. Although this kind of stunned and hurt me, I pretended like it didn’t bother me a bit and said I was still her friend, blah, blah, blah.

It was during all of this that I made one of the hardest decisions of my life. I say that because it was a decision I knew I couldn’t go back on if I didn’t like the results. Consequently, it was a decision I’d wrestled with for the last few years, but now the time seemed right. So, I decided once and for all, to try to find my birth mother, the woman who’d given birth to me on March 14th, 1965 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Since I hadn’t been able to solve my medical mystery, I would now try to solve the ultimate mystery of my life: my adoption.

Once I made up my mind to find my Mother, I wrote this poem the same night:

Though I lived within you

I have lived without you

How I wish you knew

What a loving home I was brought into

You gave me life

You gave me breath

You chose life over death

And no matter what you went through

I am still part of you

Do you sometimes wonder where I am

Where I’ve been

What I’ve seen

And everything in between?

For I am a tree without roots

A ship without an anchor

Few can fathom the fickle hand of fate

How I hope I’m not too late

If you’re out there, say a prayer

How I hope you’re still there

For ours is a bond you can never smother

I will find you, Mother

I wrote The Children’s Home Society of Virginia, the agency that had handled my adoption, and asked them to give me what they called “non-identifying information.” There was such a void, and I was hungry for even the tiniest detail; Was she kind? Was she funny? Was she smart? Was she an artist? Was she pretty? Who was she? Who was I?

The adoption agency would later send me my “heritage summary”, which I poured over and tried to make meaning out of the most mundane of details. This is what they had to say about my birth mother at the time of my adoption:

“Your birth mother was 5’2″ tall and weighed 105 pounds. She had good taste in clothes and preferred soft colors. She had a medium olive complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. She was described as attractive, withdrawn, and someone who kept her problems to herself.”

One thing I didn’t tell the adoption agency was that I knew my birth name and had known it ever since the fall of 1988. Just before moving to Florida, my Dad and I had come across a letter in a safety deposit box from the lawyer who handled my adoption. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the first sentence of the letter, which said: “I represent Mr. and Mrs. Donald Bruce Millard who adopted a male infant named Terry Lee Wichael who they named Donald Bruce Millard, Jr.”

Whoa.

Terry Lee Wichael? I can’t really express how strange it was to see this name and realize that was once ME. I hate to say it, but my first reaction to seeing my birth name was that it made me sound like a serial killer. “Terry Lee Wichael is set to be executed tonight.” When I saw my name, I couldn’t help but think that if not for a simple twist of fate, I’d probably be driving a pick up truck with a gun rack. Hell, I probably would’ve even chewed tobacco! Oh, wait.

When we moved into our new house in Florida, I put this stunning document in a drawer all by itself. I told myself that when the time was right and I felt I was ready, I’d act on this. Well, the time felt right and I was ready.

Wichael? What kind of a name was that, anyway? I’d certainly never seen or heard it before and wondered if it was a rare name. I was sure glad it wasn’t Smith. I enlisted a good friend of mine who lived in New Haven to go to the Yale Library and see just how rare this Wichael name might be. At the time, the Yale Library housed pretty much every phone book from every major American city.

A few days later my friend reported back to me that he hadn’t been able to find even ONE Wichael listed in ANY city in America! Any city, that is, except for the Harrisonburg, Virginia area where I was born! He xeroxed that page of the Virginia phone book and when he gave it to me he said I was probably related to every one of those people listed. As I held the piece of paper in my trembling hands, I too realized that the 8 Wichaels listed there were probably all related to me. Me, an adoptee and an only child who never felt connected to anything and who always wondered if he looked like another soul on this Earth. As far as we could tell, these 8 Wichaels listed were the only ones listed in the entire country, and that was a heady thought!

I must have stared at this page of the phone book every day for a month. Part of me just wanted to pick up the phone and start dialing, while another part of me was afraid of what I might find. Had my adoption been a secret? How many Wichaels even knew about it? Was I a child of rape? Would this ruin my mother’s present day life? If she was married, did her husband know that she’d given me away? These kinds of questions haunted me and gave me pause every time I was tempted to pick up the phone. After all, the adoption agency had told me that my birth parents had been very young and weren’t married at the time of my adoption. But, for all I knew, that was probably the same story they tell every adoptee who requests what they call “non-identifying information.”

In July I left Connecticut to visit a kindred spirit in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Pete Duchesne had been one of my best friends since we met as pimply freshmen in college in 1983. We had kept in touch off and on ever since and I trusted his judgement over just about any one’s. When I told Pete about my dilemma, he said: “Don, I know you always want to do everything the right way, but I’d just call.”

That was good enough for me.

So, one warm Friday evening, fortified by a stiff drink or three, I decided to do just that.

I chose to call the very first Wichael listed, a woman. I might even be calling my Mom, I thought. As a reluctant telemarketer, I’d done some cold calling in my day, but this was ridiculous.

My whole body started shaking when I heard a woman’s voice say hello on the other end of the line. Trying my best to keep my voice steady, I attempted to explain my situation as succinctly as I could. The woman was very nice and sympathetic to my cause, but explained that she wasn’t really a Wichael; she’d been married to one but was divorced now. She said she was sorry she couldn’t help me and wished me luck with my search.

Well, shit! I’ve got one more call left in me, I thought, as I looked down at the remaining unsuspecting Wichaels on my page.

As I looked down at the candidates for the thousandth time, I kept coming back to one name in particular, the name my gut had told me to call in the first place. I can’t explain it, but something told me that “H Frank Wichael” was the man to call about this.

Working up my courage one last time, I dialed the number (and yes, it was a dial phone). Even though his name was listed as “H Frank” I was pretty sure he went by Frank. I certainly wasn’t going to say “May I speak with H, please?” Sure enough, a woman answered this phone, too, and I did my very best to sound as casual as I could while nearly having a heart attack at the same time when I said: “May I speak with Frank, please?”

To my utter relief, this woman didn’t say, “Who’s calling, please?” What would I have said to that? Terry Lee Wichael?

“Just a minute, please,” she said pleasantly.

While I waited for “H” to come to the phone, I thought I’d go insane. Or maybe I was already?

“Hello?” said a warm, friendly sounding Southern voice and I felt comfortable instantly.

I told Frank my situation; of how I’d been adopted; of how my original birth name had been Terry Lee Wichael and that I’d been born in 1965 in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

“Where are you calling me from?” he asked.

“New Hampshire,” I replied.

“New Hampshire?” he said incredulously. “You’re in the wrong part of the country, boy,” he said, laughing.

“I know,” I replied.

I couldn’t believe how well the call was going or how much I was already enjoying talking to this H. Frank Wichael. He told me very quickly that I was pronouncing Wichael wrong. He explained to me that it was pronounced like “Michael” but with a W. After learning how to pronounce my last night properly, I wondered if there was anybody named Michael Wichael.

Frank asked me all sorts of questions and seemed genuinely intrigued. When I told him I had blue eyes, he sounded shocked and said:

“BLUE EYES? All the Wichaels have brown eyes!”

All my life I was glad that I had blue eyes, but now I kind of wished I had brown eyes, since this was such a Wichael trait, apparently.

I bet I talked to H Frank Wichael for about an hour that night. When I mentioned that I was likely to be returning to Florida soon and would be passing through Virginia, he said: “Stop by.”

Stop by? Um, okay.

I was floored by his warmth, humor and hospitality in the span of just this phone call. I sure hoped I was related to HIM.

In preparation for my return to Florida, I stayed in New Hampshire with my college buddy Pete and picked up a temporary job working the graveyard shift in a factory. The only thing I remember about it now is that we had to pack glue sticks in a box while trying not to fall asleep.

About a month later, I drove back to Connecticut, gathered up my Van Gogh’s and headed South toward Florida by way of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, the land of my birth as well as the scene of the original mystery of my life. Who was I, anyway? Twenty eight years later, it was time for Don Millard to meet Terry Lee Wichael.

As the miles rolled by, my nervousness and excitement grew every time I saw a sign that told me I was getting closer and closer to Harrisonburg, the city of my birth. I had been adopted and lived in Virginia for the few years of my life, but I had no memory of Virginia because my parents moved back to Connecticut before I was even in kindergarten. We’d lived in northern Virginia, far from Harrisonburg, so this was the first time I was really back in this area since, well, since I’d been given up for adoption. In a way, I was going back from whence I came.

As I thought about it all, I had a good feeling about H. Frank Wichael. Though I’d only spoken with him on the phone, something told me he was going to help me in my quest to find my mother. I was already a confirmed agnostic by this time, but in this one tiny corner of my life I had faith that it would all work out.

The landscape got even prettier as I entered the Shenandoah Valley, that gorgeous and fertile  region that stretches for 200 miles across the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains in western Virginia and two counties in West Virginia. The rolling hills and panoramic vistas even reminded me a little bit of Ireland. Hillbillies get all the pretty country.

During our study of the Civil War in high school, I defended the South in my AP history class. I defended the South by pointing out that if the North’s economy had been based on agriculture, THEY would’ve been the ones with slaves. Upon hearing this, one of my Yankee classmates asked me:

“What? Were you born in the South?”

“Actually, I was,” I told him with a smile. Loving history the way I do, I’ve always been proud to have been born in such a beautiful and historic state. Still am.

When I got into the city of Harrisonburg, I wondered how close I was to Rockingham Memorial Hospital, the hospital where I’d come into this world. I was hungry from the long drive and didn’t want to confront my past on an empty stomach, so I stopped at a Pizza Hut. I also stopped here because I needed a little bit of time to collect my thoughts, take a deep breath, and try to relax for a moment before I called Frank Wichael to let him know good ol’ Terry Lee was in town.

While I sat there eating one of their custom shitty pizzas, I thought about how this might be my last supper as an adoptee who didn’t know anything about his birth family and how I couldn’t undo any of this now if I didn’t like what I found here. It was a heady thought.

As I left Pizza Hut, I seem to remember that it was one of those rare occasions where I passed the men’s room without having to immediately extrude the pizza I’d just eaten.

INTERMISSION

 You are now about half way through Part 8. Please take this time to stretch your legs, go to the bathroom or visit the Snack Bar.

It was time to find a pay phone and call Frank Wichael. Finding a pay phone in 1993 wasn’t very hard, as back then they were as plentiful as satellite dishes in West Virginia. Come to think of it, I believe the state flower of West Virginia is a satellite dish. Or maybe it’s a gun now.

Speaking of guns, they were just about the first things I saw when I walked into the local supermarket in Frank’s little town of Bridgewater before called him. Just one step in this store and you knew were South of the Mason-Dixon line. The rifles were hanging on the wall just as matter of factly as tomatoes in the produce aisle. Talk about guns and butter. Yeah, I’m going to blend in here, I thought. Growing up, I’d done a little bit of fishing here and there, but that was about it. I’m no hunter. The only thing I’ve ever hunted is the remote. Maybe I should have mounted that.

I called Frank from the pay phone at the local Guns & Ammo IGA and told him where I was. He already knew I was supposed to be getting into the area sometime that day, a Saturday. I figured the weekend was the best time to pester him about the mystery of my birth and adoption. Frank told me I wasn’t very far from his house, but gave me directions to meet him in the parking lot of an old general store nearby as it would be easier to find for a city slicker unfamiliar with the area. Hanging up the phone, I repeated Frank’s directions over and over in my head as I got back into my car.

As I drove to meet Frank, I was nervous and excited and wondered if this all was really real. This seemed like something out of movie rather than real life. But right now my biggest fear was getting lost and that’s exactly what happened. When it comes to getting lost, I’m an expert. Christopher Columbus ain’t got nothing on me. Sure enough, I saw no sign of the old store that Frank had talked about as I went down one country road after another. I was so close and yet I might as well have been in Cincinnati. Frustrated, I finally admitted defeat and drove back to town. I promptly called Frank from a different pay phone on Main Street. I felt like an idiot. Frank’s wife answered the phone when I called, and said Frank had just got back to the house.

“He thought you chickened out,” she said.

“No!” I replied. “I got lost. I’m still here!”

This time, she gave me directions and said Frank would stay at the store until I showed up. Her directions must have been better than her husband’s because I found the old store with no trouble on this go around. As soon as I pulled into the dirt parking lot, a beat up greenish blue pick up truck appeared from behind the abandoned store and pulled up next to me. We both got out of our vehicles. Frank looked to be about in early fifties. He had the complexion of someone who spent a lot of time outside and had a full head of gray hair. “Just because there’s snow on the mountain top doesn’t mean there ain’t a fire in the furnace,” I’d hear him say later.

“Frank Wichael,” he said with a smile, putting out his hand.

“Don Millard,” I said, shaking his hand.

“Just follow me back to the house,” he said, as he got back in his truck.

As I followed Frank Wichael that late afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice the irony of it all. Here I was–the quintessential Connecticut Yankee–following a Southern man in a beat up old pick up truck down a country road to find my roots. I felt like I was leaving the present behind and passing through a time portal to my past. It was like I was entering a different dimension of time and space with Rod Serling riding shotgun.

Frank Wichael's Yard And Satellite Dish.

We couldn’t have driven but a mile or two when suddenly we were pulling into a long gravel  driveway. My little car suddenly shook as it went over something I’d find out later was a cattle guard. I didn’t know what the hell it was when I drove over it and it startled me. Frank had a handsome brick house, a sprawling yard, and a giant satellite dish. I parked near the house on the grass near the wooden fence. When I got out of my car, I made sure to leave my cigarettes in the car because I didn’t want Frank to know I was addicted to nicotine.

    Frank showed me around his house very briefly. He seemed to be the only one home now. Then, putting on a sweatshirt, he said:

“I’m goin’ to a cookout. There’s gonna be a lot of Wichaels there. You wanna go?”

“Okay,” I said.

“Let’s go,” he said.

So, just a few minutes later, I climbed into Frank’s truck and off we went. As we were driving, I

The Long And Winding Road To Frank Wichael's House.

wanted to ask him right then and there if he knew who my mother was, but I held my tongue. I trusted Frank and was waiting for him to tell me what he knew about it all. Already, just based on Frank, I was hoping it was my Mother who was a Wichael.

On the short drive over to the cookout, Frank told me that the Wichael name was quite rare and that there wasn’t many of us around. He said the only Wichaels he knew of were all from this pocket of the Shenandoah Valley.

Almost right after he finished telling me this, we pulled into a driveway full of cars. This must be the cookout, I thought. As we got out and walked toward everyone gathered in the front yard of yet another handsome brick house, I was nervous as well as curious as to how Frank would introduce me, or even explain me.

There was a crowd of people in the front yard; some were standing around and talking while others were already seated at picnic table. I felt like all eyes were on me as I waited for Frank to say something. Frank introduced me to the group by saying my name was Don. He didn’t mention anything about my adoption. But then he said three words that changed my life by adding: “He’s a Wichael.”

I almost burst into tears when he said this. He said it so matter of factly, as if it was as undeniable a truth as gravity.

It’s very hard to describe just how much this meant to me. To never know you, really, who you were growing up and never anyone who was actually related to you; to be adopted and an only child wondering if you even looked like someone else; to never know if you had your mother’s eyes or your father’s chin. Life is hard enough without having to go through it not knowing who you really are. To not know any of this all your life and then suddenly be introduced with the words “He’s a Wichael” changed all of that forever. Even though I didn’t know anything more than that at this moment, it was already enough. Everything was different now. I had found my anchor. I was a Wichael.

As the sun was setting, I could see the Blue Ridge mountains one side of me and the Allegheny mountains on the other. I was glad to have been born in such a beautiful spot, nestled in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

As I looked around at the younger faces of those at this cookout, I noticed that some of them looked like me and I got a bit paranoid. I started to worry that maybe everyone knew who was my mother was except me. I also wondered how many of these people I was related to. But again, I trusted Frank. That being said, I still didn’t mingle too much, however, because I was afraid somebody would ask me questions I couldn’t answer. You know, questions like “Who’s your mother?”

Although I chose to remain somewhat aloof, most everyone there seemed to accept Frank’s introduction at face value and looked at me as just another Wichael. Frank also personally introduced me to his two brothers, James and Paul. Paul, the oldest of the three, had a full white beard, but underneath his face looked very red. As if he could tell what I was thinking, Frank said to me quietly “He was in a fire.”

Another memorable moment came for me when Frank’s wife, Sharon, said to a group of people: “You know, we’ve always said that Brandon was the first Wichael to have blue eyes,” she said, pointing to young man who looked about 20 and who resembled me. “We can’t saw that anymore.” And then, looking at me, she said, “You’re the first Wichael to have blue eyes.”

Man, I thought, Frank wasn’t kidding about that whole “all the Wichaels have brown eyes” thing!

So, I was not only a Wichael, I was the first Wichael to have blue eyes. This was MY heritage and no one else’s! I felt my blue eyes getting moist again.

After the cookout I rode back with Frank back to the house of Wichael. Since it was starting to get late, I told him I’d see again tomorrow before I left for Florida.

“Have you got a place to stay?” Frank asked as I was walking out the door and into the Southern night.

“Yeah,” I lied.

I didn’t have a place to stay, but I didn’t want Frank to know that. I didn’t want him to know that I was trying to save every dollar I could for the remaining drive back to Florida. I also didn’t want Frank to think I was trying to lay claim to anything except my heritage and finding my mother.

So, I said good night to Frank Wichael…

I ended up spending most of the night driving around the Harrisonburg area and smoking. I wanted to tell everyone I ran into that I was a Wichael. Even if I’d had a place to stay that night, I doubt I would’ve got much sleep, anyway, while I tried to take in what I had seen and heard. Still, I was happy

Driving to Frank Wichael's on Sunday morning.

when the dawn came. I knew country people usually get up pretty early, so I had no qualms about showing up again at Frank’s door bright and early on a Sunday morning. When I pulled into Frank’s driveway that morning, I made sure to leave my cigarettes in the car once again. Looking back on it, it was kind of silly of me not to want Frank to know I smoked. After what I had been through, it was a miracle I wasn’t on heroin.

I arrived at Frank’s just in time for a hearty country breakfast that would clog an artery.

Frank and I talked some more after breakfast. He had a good sense of humor and a lot of fun about him, even in the morning. His wife, Sharon, was a Literature professor at the local college. When I asked him how he and his met, he said, “Drunk.” When I asked him if there were any Wichaels who drew or painted, he said he didn’t know of any, but then mentioned that his sister had gone to the Peabody School of Music in Baltimore on a piano scholarship. That was good enough for me. Still, I longed to just break down and just ask him if he knew who was my mother. I felt that if he didn’t know, he had a pretty good idea, but was saying anything because there may have been some delicate variables involved. Again, my greatest fear was that he was going to tell me that my mother was dead. Anything, anything but that, I prayed.

Frank and his wife had two children, Craig, and a daughter, Shay, both of whom were in college. I didn’t get a really good look at Craig at the cookout the night before but now when I saw his face in the light of day, I was stunned. Stunned, because he looked just like me when I was in high school! It was uncanny and a little unsettling. It was like looking at the ghost of myself from high school past. This was getting heavy.

I told Frank I had something to show him and walked back out to my car to retrieve an old photo album that held, among other things, some pictures of me when I was a kid. As I was showing a picture of me sitting on a sofa at around age 3 or 4, Frank looked at this photo especially close. Then he said to me,

“I’ve got something to show you.”

He promptly went back into another room and came back with a photo album of his own. He flipped through it until he found the page he was looking for. “Look at that,” he said, handing he his photo album. I looked and saw a picture of his son Craig sitting on the couch. He couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 himself. The photo was nearly identical to the one I’d just showed him! Right down to even the facial expression. Frank laughed heartily as he saw how blown away I was by this. I was speechless. In the photos Craig and I not only looked liked brothers, but twins. We had to be, at the very least, cousins. But, again, I didn’t press Frank for the details.

“You can have that,” Frank told me, taking the photo of his son out of the album and handing it to me.

When I was talking to Sharon, she told me: “Frank and Craig love history. They always answer all the history questions on Jeopardy.”

“So do I,” I replied.

I would find out later that Sharon thought Frank was my father because, she said, we had the same personality and humor. Right after I left that Sunday afternoon, I would also find out, she came up to Frank and said, “I think you have some explaining to do.”

I had picked up a disposable camera the day before at the Guns & Ammo IGA with the hopes that things would go well and I’d want to take pictures. Well, I certainly did now. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I asked Frank if we could get a few shots of us together. Here are two pictures taken on that amazing day:

Frank Wichael, Craig Wichael and Terry Lee Wichael.

Craig Wichael and Me.

When we were taking pictures, I noticed a red and black 1965 Ford Mustang convertible in a special garage nearby. It was Craig’s. This was so weird because I’d owned a yellow and black 1965 Ford mustang convertible myself when I first lived in Florida. I loved the car but had to sell after I got sick. It was yet another casualty of horrible illness.

It was now afternoon and time to say my goodbyes to the Wichaels. As I was doing so, Frank looked at my photos again and picked a large black and white photo of me when I was about 5.

“Is it okay if I hold on to this for now?” he asked.

“Sure,” I replied.

I was excited that he wanted to keep one of my photos for now because I took this to confirm my belief that he knew or had a pretty good idea who my mother was. He told me to be patient and that he’d be in touch soon. This, too, was good enough for me, except for the patient part.

As I drove away from Frank’s house that memorable Sunday afternoon, I felt like I finally knew who I was for the first time in my life. I felt like I’d found a piece of myself that had always been missing. I finally had a name and a heritage of my own to take pride in. For the first time in my 28 years, I finally felt like I was connected to something. I who so loved history finally had a history.

I was also happy that the Wichael name was so rare. It made me feel special, like I was part of a select club that had only a few members. Club Wichael.

I took the drive back to Florida nice and easy, even stopping at motels for the night. When I got back into the Cape Coral area, I drove straight to the Edison Mall in Ft. Myers to my pictures developed in an hour. It was one of the longest hours of my life. I was half expecting them to tell me that the camera had malfunctioned. It was my first experience with a disposable camera, so I had nothing to go by. When they handed me the photos, I was happy with the way they came out and still couldn’t get over the resemblances.

I went back to have some enlargements made of two pictures in particular at a different store the very next day. As I told the woman behind the counter what shots I wanted to enlarge, she glanced at one of the photos and said, “Looks like you had a reunion.”

A few weeks after getting back to Florida, I decided to try and get my medical records from the hospital I was born at in Harrisonburg. I knew my birth name and that I was a Wichael, but I still didn’t have any medical history. Considering my medical nightmare, this seemed almost criminal. My family thought this was a good idea as well. All of that was true, but the real reason I was writing for my medical records was because I had this crazy idea that somehow, someway my mother’s name would be revealed on one of those pages by accident or some other such miracle. It had been nearly a month since I’d visited the Wichaels and I hadn’t heard a peep out of Frank.

Therefore, I sent a letter to Rockingham Memorial Hospital and asked for my medical records. I had to give them all the necessary information, such as the exact time and date of my birth and well as get it notarized. I took it a step further and even put my birth name on there. I wanted them to see that I knew my birth name in the hopes that they might think there was no point in hiding my mother’s identity anymore, even though they had to by law. That was my theory, anyway.

About two weeks later an envelope arrived for me from Rockingham Memorial Hospital.

I tore the envelope open like I was Charlie Bucket looking for a golden ticket. My hopes faded very quickly, however, as I scanned the 11 pages and saw that something was blacked out on nearly every page. My birth records looked like a CIA file or George W. Bush’s military record. I also noticed that I’d been delivered with forceps. I was brought into this world by an instrument that looks like it belongs on a salad bar.

Disappointed, I scrutinized every page once again, as if doing so would make my Mother’s name magically appear. Well, I thought, it had been worth a try, but I’d been foolish to think I’d discover my mother’s identity from these redacted records.

And then I saw something.

I looked again at the front page of my records and saw that the hospital had made a copy of my original letter of request. I hadn’t really looked at it first because I recognized that it was my cover letter. But now, suddenly, I noticed that there appeared to be something handwritten in upper right hand corner that trailed off the page. I knew this wasn’t my writing, as my letter was typewritten. Excited, I brought the paper closer to my eyes and looked closely at what was written. I couldn’t believe what I saw. It read:

‘Junelle Anne Wichael  Moth.’

So there it was! My Mother’s name! Obviously, the ‘M-o-t-h’ that trailed off the page spelled MOTHER. It looked as though, for whatever reason, someone had written down my Mother’s maiden name on a piece of paper, not realizing that it transferred onto my request letter! What were the odds of this happening??

Just as I had hoped, my Mother was a Wichael.

Junelle Anne Wichael.

As I looked at it over and over again, I thought it was just about the most beautiful name I’d ever heard.

Junelle Anne Wichael.

My Mother.

As I stood there stunned and happy, I was hit with a sobering thought. Was she still alive? And, if so, would she want to know me?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I married a Wichael in Connecticut named Don. His brother’s name is Michael…I am NOT making this up! What a wonderful moment to have experienced

  2. January 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Bravo, Don. I love this. And I love Frank.

  3. January 10, 2012 at 6:29 am

    It’s 5:25am, which is really late to go to bed even by my peculiar standards, but I had to read Part 8 NOW.

    This might rank among the great written serials, Don. Sell the movie rights dearly!

  4. January 10, 2012 at 3:26 am

    I always wonder why each part of your story is so gripping. Once I start reading, I can’t stop until the end. It’s a life journey full of pains, excitement, and wonder. I’m astonished by your good memory and vivid descriptions of interesting details. (I wonder if you keep a diary) Well, it may not be so unusual to search for one’s identity, for everybody wants to know who he/she is..however what makes this part more exciting is delightful details such as a poem on your mother, your defending the south in a history class, Craig’s face just like yours, and “Club Wichael” which well expresses a sense of belonging, etc… I hope by this comment I can give a satisfactory explanation of why I get more and more addicted to your story. Thank you for giving me great pleasure of reading!

  5. Sharon Lee
    January 9, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Please go on with your story. I’m totally hooked!

  6. January 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I’ve been reading for the last hour. Breathtaking.

    Peace?

    Sher

  7. Della Lee
    January 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I really want to read the rest of your story. Really want to.

  8. January 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Beautiful, Don, Really.

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