Pages

December 5, 2006

A Voice from the Past

Let me preface this post by telling you a little about my older brother Bill:

Bill was the "black sheep" of the family, he was the oldest of four boys and was constantly bucking the system and questioning the authority of our parents. He moved out when he was 17. The three other boys saw how our parents reacted to Bill's attitude and outlook and kept most of those adolescent urges to defy them, bottled up. Before Bill and I had a huge falling out (when I was about 23), I went to visit he and his wife in California. There are a few things that stand out in my memories of the visit. His wife was pregnant and very accommodating/friendly, they had a St. Bernard for a pet, and my brother seemed happy. About a year after that visit, Bill picked up and moved back to Florida, for whatever reasons, without his wife or son.

Fast forward - 20 years...

Bill has had a real problem with substance abuse for a number of years and calls me to let me know he has had a quadruple bi-pass, he is 42. I chalk it all up to years of abusing his body, and pay no mind. Three years later he dies of a heart attack, alone, in his place of work... He was 45.

Fast forward - 7 years (to present day)...

I am googling last week on my niece's name. She is the one I have referred to in the past, the one that founded One World Youth Project, and attends Georgetown University. There are always interesting articles about her when I google her name. Anyway, in addition to her name, an article from the Sacramento Business Journal comes up with a name I hadn't heard in years; Bill's son's name. Thinking it was probably a fluke, after I read the article, I did a quick white pages search on him, came up with nothing, and dismissed it. A couple days later I begin to wonder if this was really him. I mean surely his mom remarried and her new husband changed his surname? I went to the business website that the article referred to and searched for the location it said he had opened. I got an address and phone number and keep it in my pocket for a day. What if this wasn't him? What if it was? What if he wanted nothing to do with his fathers family? Do I really want to open up this can of worms? Too much thinking was going on (it's a scary thing when I think too much) so I called...

A voice came on and announced the name of the business, and the man asked how he could help me. I asked to speak with Adam. "This is Adam", he said. I introduced myself as Tom and asked if he was with a customer, so as not to really interrupt his business, he said he was. I then asked him if his Mom's name was Kim, and Father's Bill? He said yes to both. I then told him that I spelled my last name the same way that he did, and gave him my cell number if he was interested in calling me back and talking...

He called back about 15 minutes later, I told him who I was (his uncle). He was so receptive to hearing from me, so polite, and so respectful (things he must have gotten from his Mother). We talked a few times that day (in between his customers and mine) and vowed to keep in touch, which we have. His Mom has emailed me after she learned that I had made contact. They were unaware that Bill had passed away, and apparently Adam was upset by that.

Taking chances seems to be a common thread in the fabric of "My New Life". Meeting Jim, I took a chance, now finding a long lost nephew? Chances are a good thing if you take them now and then...

More to follow on this...

Over and "Out" for today, from Toano, VA

2 comments:

Glenn said...

What a great story Tom! Good for you for reaching out!!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this story after doing yet another google search for Bill. I've read it so many times hoping the words of that one sentence would change, but they never do. Now that the shock and awe has passed, let me say how so sorry I am to hear of his passing. I know Bill had his problems, and family ties were strained, but to me he was my friend. We shared good times, bad times, and in-between times,and through it all we were friends. For a long time we were together daily, both at work and at his house. We shared a lot of stories, talks, rants, and raves, secrets, we bitched about women, work, family... the whole 9-yards, all the things that friends do. Through all this I probably knew more about the real Bill than you or your brothers did, and I liked what I saw in him. I introduced him to his now ex-wife Stacy. I knew when he was truthful and when he wansn't. I didn't care. He was my friend. We ultimatley drifted apart (but only geographically) when I moved off-Cape, and sadly, all my tries through the years at locating him failed. I wish I had known of his passing and had been able to say goodbye in person, but sadly that was not to be. Our time as friends was before internet and cell phones. So... for now, I just thought that you should hear that Bill wasn't all bad, and kindly allow me to use your blog to say goodbye to my wingman, my confidant, ships carpenter, tool pusher, drinking buddy, but most of all, someone whom I have, and will always call my friend... Bill Rimington. I will never forget you.

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving your Comments, I love them all: