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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Father and Son Reunited 2

Los Angeles Skyline

My mother had maintained a well-kept secret for 7 years since the separation and divorce between her and my father.  The secret was simply that she kept in touch with my father’s mother by mail no matter where we lived.  My grandmother had always loved my mother like a daughter, and not just as another daughter-in-law.  My mother maintained her secret by paying for a Post Office Box at the local Post Office.  However, we lived 15 miles out of town, she could only check it when we went shopping on the weekends.  For whatever reason we skipped one Saturday without going to town, and my mother was afraid (I assume) that the small box would be overloaded.  She asked me to go check the box during my lunch hour from school which was only about 4 blocks away from the Post Office.
I went to check the mail for her and found lots of mail including a couple of letters from California one with my grandmother’s name and one from my father’s sister.  I wasn’t sneaky (just curious) so I secretly wrote my grandmother’s name and address down.  When I arrived home I gave my mother the stack of envelops, and she asked me if I recognized any of the names on the envelopes, so I casually mentioned that I was so rushed that I didn’t even bother to look at the envelopes.  The very next day I wrote and mailed a letter to my grandmother, explaining that I would like to have a picture of my father and his address.

Long story short, my father and I made contact and plans for the trip to visit him in California.  Once I transferred buses in San Francisco the trip was very safe but exciting at the same time.  We traveled through San Jose, and Santa Cruz along Pacific Highway 1.  Before I even set foot on the beach I fell in love with California.  By the time I arrived in Los Angeles, I was very impressed with everything California especially the City of Los Angeles skyline. 
The bus arrived ahead of schedule so I was going to have about a 40 minute wait before my father was expecting me.  I rented a locker and stored my two suitcases so I could walk around the block to check out the scenery (first exposure to California girls).  The bus station was located on 7th street, so I was in the central area of Los Angeles.  By the time my father arrived I was already inside the station, and my suitcases were still in the locker.  My father walked in looking from side to side, looked at me as he walked by and acknowledged me with a nod of his head.  I was a little disappointed but then remembered that I had one of his recent pictures, but he didn’t have one of me.  About the third time he walked by me I said; “Father are you looking for me?”  He stared at me for a long minute and then he gave me a longer hug, and said, “I was looking for a little boy.”

We drove away from the bus station and the first thing he asked was if I was hungry.  With my positive response he suggested one of his favorite places for lunch.  He offered to introduce me to one of his favorite sandwiches, so he ordered us a Hot Pastrami (my first ever).  Definitely the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve never had another Pastrami as good as that one.  We spent a couple of hours talking about my life and his life just as a way of catching up.
We arrived at his home around 5:30 with all the traffic grid lock, and he introduced me to his wife and my little sister and two brothers.  His wife was very nice and loving she had been anxiously and nervously waiting all day for my arrival.  The children addressed me as their big brother.  My little sister was 10 years younger than me and the boys were 5 and 3 years old.  We had a long conversation followed by dinner, and more conversation.  My father was anxious to show me something.  He went to a storage area of the house and brought out a box with many neatly stacked envelopes.

My father was eager to prove that he had not walked out on us.  The envelopes were filled with hand written letter and money orders that he had mailed to my mother at addresses that I recognized but the envelopes were stamped “Return to Sender.”  He had been trying to support us since soon after we moved to Texas, but my mother was way too proud to accept his help.  There will have to be a part three to this post, stay tuned, more on the way.  The best is yet to come…

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