IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW: A CHRONICLE OF IDENTITY AND ADOPTION
When Michael Mewshaw receives a call from a stranger who says she has reason to believe he is her biological father, Mewshaw realizes he has been half dreading, half hoping for this to happen for over thirty years. Just like the young woman who wants to find the last piece to the puzzle of her life, he thinks it’s possible that in the same process he will discover the answer to questions that have plagued him for decades. But first he has to make sure that she is who she claims to be.
In this fascinating memoir, Mewhsaw confronts his own past, the chaos of his family, and complicated memories of the woman he once loved who went on to success as an ambassador, Under Secretary of State and a member of one of America’s most influential families. His unusual role in the baby’s birth, her adoption and, now, her search for her biological parents sets the stage for a revealing personal odyssey that offers a quest for identity and a journey of discovery, an obsession with recapturing the past and righting old wrongs, the constant potential for disappointment balanced against the possibility of redemption. As he finds his old flame and her old lover, rediscovering who he was and who he has become, he finds his life enriched in the process.
$23.95 us / $28.95 C | Hardcover Memoir | 6x9 | 240 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60953-114-0 | Carton Quantity: 24
In California, where it was mid-morning, Amy answered the phone at work. I had hoped to ring her at a home number. It wasn’t just that I preferred to speak to her in privacy. I liked to imagine her as a mother in a domestic setting, fulfilled, secure. Yet even in an office, with colleagues nearby, she sounded friendly and relaxed, and assured me that this was a good time to talk. After a bit of preliminary throat clearing – profuse thanks for calling, apologies for probing – she got down to her questions.
“Have you ever lived in LA?” she asked.
“Yes. A long time ago.”
“In 1964? I was born on Christmas Eve that year.”
“Yes, I was in California then.”
“I know this is awfully sudden and may come as a shock, but I have reason to believe you’re my biological father.”
“An hour ago you told my half-sister you believed she was your mother.”
“I’m not so sure about that.”
“How sure are you about me?”
Amy didn’t answer directly. Perhaps my question struck her as aggressive, and she wanted to avoid any hint of confrontation. Every bit as sweet and lovely as Karen had described her, she volunteered information about herself. She told me she had been born at California Lutheran Hospital. She named the doctor who delivered her and specified the time of her delivery and her birth weight. The Children’s Home Society of California, she said, had handled her adoption and she had grown up in the Valley. Now in her early thirties, she had had a first marriage that didn’t last. It looked likely she would marry again soon, and since she hoped to have kids, she needed to learn about her family and their medical history.
“That’s my primary motivation,” Amy said. “I’m not looking for somebody to be my parent. I had a wonderful mother and father and a happy childhood. I don’t want to barge into anybody else’s life or upset you and your family. I’m not expecting a public acknowledgement of paternity. I’d just like to meet you and find my mother, but if that’s not possible, I’ll be satisfied with some background information and a medical history.”
When I asked Amy what she looked like, she said, “I’m five feet seven and weigh a hundred and twenty eight pounds. My hair’s straight and dark brown, and my eyes are brown too.”
“Tell him you resemble Sandra Bullock,” someone at her end shouted.
Amy laughed. “That’s on a good day and in good light. But you get the picture.”
Indeed, it was a picture deeply familiar to me. Still, I hesitated to admit this or anything else.