Going Home

Grandma Kc wrote this on August 24th, 2014 34 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

It all started when I found out that the USARSA National Championships (skating) would take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I decided to go. It was early in 1970 and I was twenty with a full time job working at the telephone company and living with my best friend. I could buy my own ticket and she couldn’t stop me. I wasn’t going to compete; I was going so that I could see my Dad and the rest of my family. My excuse for going was to support my teammates but mostly – I was going to see my Dad.

It had been 8 years. For all those years, my mother had nothing but bad things to say about my Dad. It was easier when I was younger, you are supposed to believe everything your mother tells you but as I got older, I just didn’t remember him being the evil person she portrayed him to be and I wanted to go back and see for myself. Telling her took all the courage I could muster. She was sure he wouldn’t want to see me. He didn’t know yet that I was coming. She demanded I call him right then, from her apartment. She believed her own lies and she was just certain he wouldn’t want to see me and she could say, “I told you so”.

I called on a Sunday afternoon and remember telling who ever answered the phone that I wanted to speak to Glen, “to tell him that it was Kathy, his daughter”. We both cried on the phone and he told me he had a new wife and two kids! He would hear nothing of me staying at the motel; they would pick me up at the airport.

I didn’t think the day would ever come. I took the red-eye out of Los Angeles and arrived at 6 AM Detroit time. I had told him when my plane would arrive but somehow forgot to tell him which airlines and of course, there were two planes arriving from LAX at about the same time. Daddy told me later that he had a friend from the State Police try and check manifests but since I had flown student stand by I wasn’t on it!

He picked the wrong terminal. I remember getting off the plane and he wasn’t there. I wandered through the terminals to the ticket counters and sat down at a pay phone to try to call him. There was no answer. I turned and looked up and there he stood with his back to me. I will never forget that moment. I would have known him anywhere from his ears! Daddy had big ears! He had come! For a few moments there, I let her put doubt in my mind but she was wrong.

We walked to the escalator and he introduced me to his new wife and my new sister and brother. There was immediate warmth and excitement. Mom Number 2, as I think I will call her welcomed me into her home and her heart. She is the kind of Mom I had always wanted and never had. I gained a little brother, something I’d never had either. John was 8 and a typical little boy. Sandy was 12 and from the moment the two of us met, we bonded. We had so much fun together and still do. This was going to be the kind of family I had never had. It is probably the best gift my Dad ever gave me – and still is. Buying that plane ticket to Michigan was certainly one of the smartest things I ever did. It was a wonderful vacation filled with family, food and lots of stories. Aunts, uncles and cousins came to visit and we went to see them.

Remember when we were younger and had to sit through slide shows of someone’s vacation? Well, you get to sit through a slide show, I think it is the easiest way to share it all. It was wonderful!

You can click the pictures to go to larger view.

34 thoughts on “Going Home

  1. Launna

    Kc… I’m so happy that you have this wonderful memory… it’s sad what your mother tried so hard to destroy your relationship with your dad… I’m glad she failed.

    My step mother tried to discredit my mother in my eyes for nearly 10 years… she failed, I met my mother and loved her. The truth always comes out ;-)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Launna, the truth is my mother tried to destroy any relationship I had with anyone. She didn’t believe I could love her and love anybody else at the same time. This included family. She drove a wedge between me and my real sister. I am so glad that you didn’t let your step mother get in the way of your relationship with your mother!

      Reply
  2. Joy @ Yesterfood

    Kc, I love this story. Reconnecting with your dad- what a beautiful miracle, and you made it happen! I want to stand up and cheer for 20 year old Kc! :) Thanks for sharing you wonderful pictures and wonderful story!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      That trip couldn’t have turned out any better! It was a fairy tale come true and I am so glad I got all of them back.

      Reply
  3. Stephanie Faris

    I love your pictures. Looks like SO much fun! Were you a figure skater? I took ice skating lessons when I was in my early 20s for fun. It was right before the Nancy Kerrigan scandal…so about a year after I started, the ice rink filled up with all these people who wanted to learn to ice skate because of the scandal. Odd. Well, it could have been because of the Olympics, too…

    Reply
  4. Sandy

    Dad was so thrilled that you were coming home! And Mom, John & I were so excited to meet you! I always wanted a big sister, & you were perfect then & still are today. I am so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for being brave & following your heart .. & coming home to us!

    Reply
  5. KImberly

    Have mercy, I cannot wrap my mind around having been a parent for twelve years, then having the child disappear for eight years. This only brings about five hundred questions to my mind. I’m guessing your parents are gone now. I’m glad you made the effort, found such a welcoming situation. So glad you somehow seemed to escape that type of mothering, and clearly, it didn’t just skip a generation either. You were awfully cute.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Yes, they are both gone. I wasn’t the best parent when Jenna was younger but I think I have gotten better over the years and she is a wonderful Mom! Amara will probably be better than both of us. I have had some good role models but I think I am a better Grandma than anything else. I’m glad I made the effort, too because even though Daddy is gone Mom #2 still lives in Jonesville and is still my favorite Mom!

      Reply
  6. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Oh, my heart dropped reading your dad wasn’t there at the airport, thinking how that must have felt to you. Then HOORAY!!! What a wonderful trip for you. I’m so glad you made that trip and even more glad that your mother was absolutely wrong. Truly a wonderful gift you share with all those loved ones in those marvelous photos. Thank you so much for sharing. You’ve made my heart smile!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      If there was one thing I could do it would be to reach out to all those parents going through divorces and tell them not to take it out on the children. I missed out on so much.

      Reply
  7. Vicki @ Grams Made It

    What a treasure trove of memories and photos. I’m so glad this turned out to be a happy memory. It’s great that you managed to reconnect with your Dad in spite of your Mom. Your Mom #2′s hair is epic.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I loved her hair like that and she always dressed so cute with shoes and purses to match every outfit. Daddy loved to buy her clothes. She is a great lady and I am so glad I still have her!

      Reply
  8. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    What a wonderful post with such a happy ending, and the photos were great. You must have worked some magic to make such a wonderful slide show. Your dad was a handsome man, and I remember sitting at the hair salon getting one of those big hairdos. Being an only child with a dad who left I wish I had found a sister and brother to be part of my life. This was a fairy tale happy ending, and I’m glad it was yours to tell. :-)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      My Dad really was handsome wasn’t he? He was so proud that he could still get into his Navy uniform and march in the parade until he got so ill. He was very proud of his figure! SOOOO glad I got his genes and not my mothers!

      Reply
  9. Joyce

    I loved reading this glimpse of your life, seeing the things that have made you the loving person you are today. I love your spunk and the courage it took to make the call to your dad and then travel to reconnect. What a blessing it proved to be for all of you!
    Seeing the hairstyles, clothes and flashcubes of yesterday was so much fun. I remember it all! You have always been such a cutie and I clearly see Jenna and Amara in you! To think I was right there in Grand Rapids while you paid your visit to the skating event…..so near and yet so far…….!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I was looking through old pictures of Jenna the other day and I can’t get over how much Amara looks like her! I forget! And we all look like Daddy. I really have to get around to doing a morph picture of the 4 of us — we all have the same smile!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I am so glad I went back, too! Cousins are one of the best parts of family that you can have and I got all of mine back! I am so glad we live in the internet age as it makes it easier to stay in contact with all of them.

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It is fun to look back! I loved my blond hair — I don’t think I had told Dad about it and he was pretty surprised when he picked me up. But those roots sure were a pain!

      Reply
  10. Connie

    What a beautiful story! I’m so glad you got to have the family you long for after all. Your father was so handsome and looks like such a great person. And yes! Amara does look very much like her grandma too!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Going home was one of the smartest things this girl ever did. My Dad really was the best and I always thought he was very handsome, too. He was so proud of the fact that at 55 he could still wear his Navy uniform. I do miss him.

      Reply
  11. Lux Ganzon

    Ah, i love old photos. You know I also like to reminisce childhood memories. For me, as long as you haven’t been seriously ill or abused as a child, you had wonderful childhood. Not everyone else are as lucky. ;)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      My real mother never physically abused me but you can do a lot of damage to a child without ever raising a hand to them. I joke that I survived in spite of my mother. In many ways my real sister did not fare as well.

      Reply
  12. Lux Ganzon

    A colorful childhood. All those trials we went through from childhood made us into the beautiful people we are today. I went thru a loooot too being a middle child. I’d like to claim that I turned out okay. :)

    Have a wonderful week!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I like to think that I turned out OK, too. My real sister didn’t do as well. We turned out very differently. She blamed my mother for all of her failures and really used her as an excuse to fail. I outgrew blaming it on mom.

      Reply
  13. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti

    What a nice story! I’m so glad you were able to reunite with your Dad and that his second family loved you. Divorce is so hard on children–especially those caught in the middle of hurt feelings.

    PS: I bought the berries to make the Elmo face from Costco. I box of raspberries and one of blackberries. They came to under $10. Not bad for a healthy dessert! My grand kids love berries so I often splurge to buy them for them.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I am so glad I got a chance to reconnect with them and for getting a second chance with all of my relatives – especially my grandparents. I think not having them in my childhood is part of what makes being a good Grandma to Amara so important. I’m making up for some of what I didn’t have!

      I think your Costco has better prices than ours does – at least at the moment. I love that you stock up on them for the grand kids! I’ve been known to splurge on pomegranates which are one of Amara’s favorites and there are always apples and oranges in a bowl. I don’t know that we’ve ever had a sleepover when she didn’t raid that bowl. It is what makes us good grandmas. We’re prepared.

      Reply

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