So, I spent nearly 18 years of my life oblivious to my adoption. I think that the rest of the family was oblivious as well. I looked a lot like Henry, and people mostly just forgot about it; until, that is, they had to tell me. Before attending college I applied to Western Electric for my first full-time job and was asked to supply a birth certificate.
"No problem," I said, "I'll just go home and ask Mom for it right now, and get back to you."
It wasn't that easy. Henry and Bunnie were shocked! That night, Henry took me aside and began telling me the story of my early life. It was my turn to be shocked. I began looking back on my relationship with Berniece; how she had always wanted to mother me during her infrequent visits to Kansas City and the way she always remembered my birthday and Christmas, even though she was not otherwise close and lived hundreds of miles away.
Beginning the following September, 1953, I spent about six months living with Berniece while I attended a small college in Springfield, Ill. I got to know Berniece and her husband, Fred. Brother Jim and sister Marvel lived nearby, and Dorothy came often to visit. Everyone seemed curious to know what I was really like, and I was certainly curious about my newly found family. I enjoyed the attention and the experience but never felt quite at home there. It was as if I was betraying my real home with Henry and Bunnie. I also lived with Marvel and her three little boys during the spring months of 1954. Again, while I had known Marvel all my life, I couldn't quite think of her as my sister at that time.