Unforseen Stranger

Synopsis: The tale of a young woman, Terri Vance, in search of her family, whom she has never known. All she has are stories, old photographs and the hope that there is someone alive who can reaffirm her belief that she has one living relative still alive.

September 6, 2011

Dear Diary, I know what you're thinking. Usually I don't leap into road trips, but after hearing a story that my surrogate mother told me about my birth mother and father, I had to start my search in figuring out who I truly am. All I have are some old black and white photos and a story that I am unsure of is true or false. There are knots in my stomach as I write these very words and I'm not certain if driving all the way to Chicago is going to solve anything or not. I feel lost, as if a black whole is eating me alive. The only way I can stop this hopeless feeling from expanding is continuing this trip. I mustn't let my nerves get the best of me. My sister, Bernadette, supports me whole-heartedly, as do my husband, Peter and my wonderful son, Bernard. Bernie would want me to fight the good fight and not give up. So, for his cause and for the sake of discovery, I press on, even though it seems my unease just won't let up.

September 11, 2011

10 years since the fall of the Twin Towers and I can't help but feel bogged down by depression and a feeling of overwhelming sorrow. It's like a dark cloud is overshadowing my trip to Chicago. It's been a lengthy drive from South Dakota, but there haven't been any unforseen circumstances thus far. I've eaten at some really unusual restaurants I have never heard of, let alone knew existed in this great United States. I've been taking photographs the entire time and saving them on my travelling labtop, lovingly called Tutti, after a courtesy aunt.

It's a bit dark and overcast today. The rain hasn't seemed to lighten and it makes driving a bit of a challenge. I'll be happy as soon as I can find a motel I can bed in. This is going to be a lengthy road trip, but the sooner I can talk to Yvonne in Chicago, the better off I will be.

September 17, 2011

Thank the stars ! I've arrived at Chicago at last. Yvonne and her husband, Mac, have gone out of their way to make me feel at home. Their daughter, Dinah, is in college, and no longer at home, so these two are empty nesters with a couple cats and a huge Samoyed. First I thought the dog was going to eat me whole when I came to to the door, but Bruce (that's the dog's name) was really a dear and extremely friendly. The cats, a black one named Hawthorne and a tabby cat named Elliot, were rather loving as well. So far, I have felt nothing but welcomed and the puzzle pieces are beginning to fit together. Thing is, I still have questions, and it doesn't seem that I have enough answers for them all.

September 18, 2011

Chicago is immense. Yvonne and Mac are showing me everything I could possibly want to see, and I'm documenting every moment on camera for posterity so I don't forget anything in case I am remiss in writing it here in my diary. At first, I wasn't sure how Mac and Yvonne were going to react to me, but the more I got to know them I felt more assured that I was indeed a member of this family.

I didn't even regret not being informed of my true last name until I was a teenager. True, it made me go through some times where I was angry with God and I went through some rebellious times, but now I felt completely whole.

Whatever depression I had experienced, its hold on me had disipated.

September 19, 2011

I know that my daughter Desi would've adored this trip to Chicago but she's been too busy with her work and couldn't accompany me this time, but when I get the chance, I'm going to see whether Yvonne and Mac would want to come out to the Dakotas and stay awhile. After all, everyone has places they've never seen before and for me, it's the Midwest. I may do a bit of a sidetrip before I return to my hometown. For now I'm enjoying all the entertainment, history and food I am receiving from my host and hostess. They've been nothing but kind to me and I feel a bit more open toward them. It's a pity that Frank, my husband, couldn't be here to witness all of this. He died of lung cancer years ago. I tried coaxing him to stop, but the addiction to nicoteen was too much of a pull for him to give it up. He had always told me, 'Terri, I think your relatives are still living, somewhere. You've got to get to the bottom of this before you die or you'll regret it forever. Life's an adventure, baby. Remember that.' And I never forgot his words. I had forgotten to live in former days and it wasn't until I started experiencing the world that I was reminded that the adventure is in exploration.

September 20, 2011

I didn't want to be too much of a burden on Mac and Yvonne. I felt like they had gone out of their way to entertain me and I was being spoiled with their stupendous cooking, which is far better than my mediocre efforts in the kitchen at home. I admit, I was getting used to being fed by other people, but I knew I had to return home since I had a pet Macaw, Rainbow, who would be missing me at home. She happens to get separation anxiety and I wasn't about to have her tearing up the house if she was able to unlock her cage as she sometimes did when she was feeling particularly rebellious. So, I thanked my hosts for their information, especially in showing me where dad lived. I learned that I could have possible links with Capone, though they are distant. It's sort of interesting that I could be heir with the most notorious gangster that ever lived. Nevertheless, I felt relieved that I had more than I left with, and I even got a souvenier. It was a letter opener, pristine although used repeatedly, and made of silver. At the top of it were a herd of mustangs. I had been told that my dad was a bit of a silversmith and crafstman and in his spare time, he had made this for his wife for their anniversary. She treasured it and used it daily to open her mail. I know that I too will keep this close to my heart. Someday, I will be able to see Yvonne and Mac again. For now, I will keep up to date with them by email, call them by phone and let them know I am thinking of them. Their kindness has forever touched my heart and will never leave me all the days of my life.

From the diaries of Terri Vance

To be updated on the upcoming Family Reunion in 2012