ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday (perhaps)

I got a bit of a kick out of all of the many email notifications I received alerting me to the cavalcade of birthday well-wishing on my Facebook, uh, on my “wall.”

They always celebrated my birthday on September the 19th as I was growing up. But after my mom passed away and we started sifting through her documents, after my daughter’s genealogic endeavors hooked me up with long lost cousins in Colorado and California and after reviewing the many news clippings from the kidnapping days that said daughter managed to dredge up from the archives, I found that about half of what my mom told me about my seemingly fictional father’s side of the family were complete fabrications meant to put the quick kibosh to my natural curiosity about the missing fragments of my life.

Here’s an example: Supposedly, my name is Mark Matthew. But those ancient news clippings from the Florida newspapers listed my name as being Mark Joseph. According to mom, my dad wanted to name me Ugak after some Russian. Nope, that's not a typo. Ugak. True story.

For that matter, I’ve never seen my birth certificate. So, you got me as to what birth name was actually affixed to me. I’ve always believed that I was born where my mom told me I was born, in Endicott, New York, only because my long-lost dad did work at the IBM facility in Oswego.

The only problem is, he ran off with me to Florida in very early 1961, got in a heap of trouble with the law as a result (interstate kidnapping), and was never heard from again after my mom whisked me out of a Florida courtroom for the trip to my grandparent’s home here in Wilkes-Barre.

She also said he was working in Pinellas County, Florida, for a defense contractor at that time. Yet, I have in my possession an IBM newsletter from 1961 announcing that he was made a senior design engineer on a guided-missile project at Oswego.

So which was it? Was he working for IBM, or Minneapolis-Honeywell via NASA in 1961?

She told me the reason for their divorce was my dad’s wandering eye. She told me he had a girlfriend named Martha. But as those old news clippings prove, she left out the part about my having lived with Martha for some 16 months when I was that on-the-run toddler. Essentially, Martha was my surrogate mother for damn near a year and a half. That would explain why my mom seethed at the very mention of that woman, I suppose.

When she was younger, mom told me that my dad’s parents--my other grandparents--wanted nothing to do with her. The inference by extension was that they wanted nothing to do with me. So as I was growing up, I never bothered to pick up a telephone.

But when my daughter managed to reunite me with those aforementioned long-lost cousins from over there by the tsunamis, they were generally excited to have found me after the passage of so many, many years.

My point?

My point is this: September the 19th may or may not be my actual date of birth. I may or may not have been born in New York state. Further, my name may or may not be Mark Matthew, Mark Joseph or Ugak Jiggy. And my father, as well as his extended side of the family, may or may not have been ogres.

At this late date, it obviously doesn’t matter.

I just thought it was an absolute hoot to receive so many birthday well-wishes while I have a multitude of reasons to doubt everything I’ve ever been told as to my pre-formative years.

But, thanks.


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