It was around a year ago that I received a genetic test to trace my ancestry and I was intrigued to uncover the different races contained in my genetics. I knew that my Puerto Rican heritage contained in different variations a mix of Taino, Spanish and African; I was particularly curious to know how these genes were distributed. People from other countries have often expressed an interest in our what is the Puertorrican racial heritage.
The test kit lay unused for some time. I was eager but perhaps hesitant to move forward; days turned into weeks, weeks into months until last December everything ran to plan.
The process took around six weeks and the results, once I received them, allowed me to build the family tree; to build the tree I used www.ancestry.com. I was lucky in that I already had some information passed to me by my paternal-grandparents from our nightly conversations about their childhood, parents and siblings. However, there was not much, if any, information from my mother’s side of the tree.
As you create your family tree in ancestry.com, there are “flags” called hints about the people that are listed in the tree. These hints are well worth investigating further to see if the name listed is accurate as it usually includes information from censuses, wedding certificates, birth certificates, death certificates etc. In addition, it can also be a source of information which can help you reconcile with someone else who has built another family tree and has included one of the members of your tree.
It was in pursuit of this new aventure investigating “my history” before I was here that I came across a reference to my father.
My father passed away in 1971 and I was just a baby, at that time; I know so little about my father. I have seen some photos, heard stories and received the opinions from my family members; among them was that he was my grandmother’s (his mother) favorite son. He had the best body, was the most attractive, he liked to be well dressed, he was mild mannered, left handed and vice-president of the Scorpions.
Still, it is difficult to visualize my dad as a member of gang in New York., specially when I heard many good things about him. Maybe, it is easier to emphasize the good in people when they are not among us anymore. He did not live long enough to leave more memories.
During this journey, I found out that someone else have created my family tree. My name was not in the tree therefore this person did not know about me but this person included a photo of my father. This caught my attention. He did not look similar to the other pictures I have seen of him, but there are not many photos about my father.
This person met my dad but, her name did not ring a bell. Initially, I thought that she could be one of my fathers cousins but I was not able to trace her last name to last names related to grandaunts and granduncles. I decided to contact this person.
My first communication was somehow direct. Did you know my father? I just asked and let her know that I was not sure because the photo she has uploaded, it does not look like him. I also clarify some mistakes regarding about the old aunt that I have left.
She answered less than an hour after I sent the short email. I was quite surprise. Obviously she has doubts when someone asked her about the person who she met fifty years ago. It was personal. It was the past that was somehow showing up to her present for a moment.
She answered with doubt. She met my father in 1960 when she was 15 years old . She named him “Lefty: which was the nickname for him in the neighborhood because he was left handed. This was not his nickname in the family “Ito”. It was a nickname by his older sister because at some point he was the little one, until my last aunt was borne.
I was curious about this lady and how she knew my family. How close of a friend she was of my dad or my grandparents. Maybe they were classmates. He name was never mentioned in my house. He last name was not familiar either
I felt a mosquito net of compasión and surprise when I received her second email. I was able to see that experience with a blurry shade of years that has passed. I was able to see but it was not able to touch me. At least not ow it touched her.
It turned out that they dated. She mentioned that she was very fond of him, she knew my grandparents, that he died young but did not know that he had a child. They lost contact after the relationship finish. I answered back, confirming that it was the same person and that I am his only daughter. At that moment her tone changed.
This time she answered with melancholy and it reflect certain emotion that hid something special. It was in tis last email that she let me know that more than being fond of him, she considered her first true love. That it was a pity that I was not able to meet hi and with this brief email, she said goodbye saying: Best regards from someone who might have been your mom.
It was peculiar meeting a girlfriend (I mean ex) from the father I did not meet, but at the same time fascinating knowing other people besides my family who remember him.
We think about love stories and maybe we hear our own parents love stories. I imagine it is fascinating the bond that is created when our parents tell us the stories of past loves. I learned about one as a result of fate. Maybe to close a chapter or maybe to open another. Maybe it was to find an answer or maybe to generate more questions. Time mil tell but, I think that it will be something for rather for me. There are loves and there is love. There are some that finish with a sweet affection, other that becomes a far memory, some unrequited and others with disappointment. There are some that end and others that transform themselves in many forms of it. However, death changes many things. After death what is left of that romantic love is inside one and not inside two people. It is not a shared story anymore, it is only in just one, and not two. She is able to tell this story because he is not here anymore. And this is and will be part of her story to tell to the daughter of her first great love, thanks to Ancestry.com.