Finding my Father

Louis Charles Muller; my long lost Father from a distant past. A past cast in black and white with blurred images, distorted memories, a forgotten family dissolved only to be “discovered” once again. In this age of the “empowered consumer” with information retrieval at our fingertips, I guess its really not that hard to “discover” your heritage anymore…

Perhaps I just decided consciously or subconsciously to leave the past to those that had something to look for. I didn’t know my Dad, and my late Mother said little of what happened and why I should pursue the man that went away.

Yet as fate would have it, as my life creeps beyond the years he once lived, and I wonder what the future holds for me, a family tree grows in my backyard.

3 cousins “discovered” my blog, my last post on Mothers day, as they attempted to find an answer for themselves and their family members. To say it was a shock would be an understatement, although other friends and relatives have surfaced through various channels of the new media in the past few years.

But this one hit home, as my knowledge of the other side of my family tree was as barren as the ideas coming from Washington. Like a Google search that reveals hidden secrets, in one afternoon I came to know my biological Father. I also discovered a family I didn’t know I had.

Over the mountain from my birthplace, a little north east on the upper banks of the mighty Hudson lies the Grandmother I never knew, and a sister who died before birth. According to my new found family, she is buried along with her with no mention on the tombstone…

I do recall my Mother mentioning many years ago that I would have had a sister, but to find her now thanks to my Cousins from Corinth, NY was moving. Thanks Andrea, Colleen, and “Olive”, I will never forget this day and your efforts to find me so I could find a part of my past…

It’s often said that the human condition is meant to be shared and that we all long to “belong”. After so many years “discovering” things on my own, and attempting to connect with the next best thing, it’s beyond words to have connected with such beautiful people, my people….

This life is a journey and it has taken me away from my “home” more than once only to return again. Many times during my trek across the landscape of marketing and sales, travels in search of success and purpose, I have felt very alone. My heritage was often a passing thought, an objection I handled with distraction, more for myself than my “prospect”…

I learned more in one afternoon than in the 40 plus years of denial and dismissal that was my Father. He was in the Navy, and served in World War II and the Korean War. He had a Sister and a Brother, and I am of German descent.  Guess I can stop assuming that I have an Italian bloodline as much as I love their food.

As well, my Father loved to dance, and would dance with his Sister in local contests back when dancing was more than just jumping around. The pictures I observed of him as a young man back in the great generation of our country, will remain with me the rest of my days. Like my Mother, she could entertain, she could sing, she could sell it. My Father, God rest his soul, well the man could dance…

His dance on this earth may have been cut short, and he may have often been wrong, but as I drove across the bridge and down the mountain, I remembered a favorite song. I saw the artist live long ago before he composed this tune, before he died and wrote about his late Father, wishing he had one more chance, just one more dance…

“Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around ‘til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never, ever end
How I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again”  
-Luther Vandross, Dance with my Father, 2003

Here’s to my cousins from Corinth, and my sincere appreciation for reaching out and finding me. Rest in peace Father, and I hope you’re still dancing in heaven…