Monday, November 21, 2011

Chapter 16 - Surprise Of A Lifetime

Hi everyone, Katie here.

Thanks for coming back for the next chapter! There's just a couple left and you won't want to miss a single word. Many of you have commented on how generous I am to loan my blog out to Glogirly and her story for so long. I know I'm generous, sweet, good-looking too. I'm a cat and that's just how I roll.

Ok, here we go!

But first, if you've missed my previous posts be sure to check out:
Searching For A Girl - Prologue
Chapter 1 - The Day After Mothers Day
Chapter 2 - So You Want To Be A Genealogist
Chapter 3 - Sam From Kansas
Chapter 4 - Four Hours
Chapter 5 - A, B, C
Chapter 6 - The Local Rite Aid
Chapter 7 - Dear Ms. Cotter,
Chapter 8 - A Gift
Chapter 9 - Questions + Answers + Questions
Chapter 10 - It's Your Aunt Dorothy
Chapter 11 - You Look Like Alice
Chapter 12 - Another Mother
Chapter 13 - The Little Pink House
Chapter 14 - Thank You
Chapter 15 - Jim

Ever since Glogirly uncovered the identities of her birth family, she had dreamed about hopping on a plane and showing up at someones doorstep. Surprise! There was just something so compelling about the element of surprise. Of course, she knew that approach was not in anyone's best interest.

Suddenly things changed though. With an open invitation up to Jim's family barbecue and Dorothy by her side, Glogirly was about to embark on the surprise of a lifetime. She wasn't just going to shock her uncle, but the whole family. Dorothy was almost giddy. Glogirly hoped her uncle had a strong heart.

About two miles up the winding road from the highway was the entrance to the Beecham Ranch. Through a cattle gate and up a steep dirt road, Glogirly could just barely make out a ranch style home off to her right. A bunch of large earth moving equipment was parked off to the the left at the base of a big gravel pit. Jim's son Craig ran that part of the family business. The first house they pulled up to was Craig's. Craig and his wife Angela had two boys and one girl. There was no telling if anyone would be at the house since the barbecue was up at Jim and Armi's home, just a little farther up the dirt road.

Dorothy pulled up next to Craig's house. She and Glogirly walked around back looking for anyone that might be there. The back of the house looked more like it was the front. The long ranch style home opened up to a crescent shaped patio area. It overlooked the rolling hills and deep valleys of the ranch property. Way down at the bottom, almost out of view, was the original house that Dorothy and Alice had grown up in. Glogirly's grandfather built the house himself and forged all the roads that wound throughout the area, up, down and around those beautiful hills.

The house that Craig's family now lived in was also where he grew up. Until just a few years prior, it had belonged to his parents, Jim and Armi. When they built a new home about a quarter mile up the road, Craig and his family moved in their old one. That's where they're raising their family today.

Dorothy opened up the sliding glass door from the patio into the kitchen. There was Craig. He was standing in the kitchen, just on the other side of the breakfast table, eating a grilled cheese sandwich. He was wearing a cowboy hat, boots and a big buckled belt. He was cutting his sandwich with a hunting knife and looked completely at home as a cowboy straight from the ranch. He was surprised to see Dorothy and motioned her in right away. He looked at Glogirly with a puzzled expression and before Dorothy could say a word, Glogirly walked over and introduced herself as Debbie and shook his hand. Then Dorothy said, "Craig, this is Debbie. She's your cousin." With her voice cracking and tears welling in her eyes, "She's Alice's daughter."

Craig's eyes opened wide and the knife and cheese sandwich dropped to the table with a thud. "No sh*t! Well get over here and let me give you a hug."

He welcomed her right into the family. Of course he wanted to know how on earth it was that she had found them. But they needed to get up to the big house to meet everyone else so Dorothy and Glogirly gave him the quick and abbreviated version of the story. He was shocked. Couldn't believe it. Wow.

They made their way up to Jim's house. Everyone was gathered on the patio and the barbecue was already fired up. Dorothy quietly pointed out to Glogirly where Jim and Armi were, then walked her right over to them.

Jim was sitting sideways on one of the picnic table benches in the sunshine. His arm was resting comfortably on the table and he looked right at home. He had on a well-worn western hat and work boots. He looked exactly as Dorothy had described him. Even at 80 years-old, he was no stranger to hard work. His hands were a working man's hands. Still there was something very distinguished about him. The rolling hills of the ranch made a beautiful backdrop to the patio. There were some sheep baahing in the distance.

Armi was standing not far behind. She had on a cotton shirt and dungarees. She was so tiny, not even 5' tall. Her hair was salt and pepper black. The lines in her face were expressive and she spoke with her hands. She was very animated. There was indeed something mysterious about her, maybe even a little intimidating. Dorothy had mentioned that she read palms and gave psychic readings from time to time. She actually looked the part.

As Dorothy walked Glogirly over to Jim, a few people looked their way, wondering who that must be with her. Jim's face lit up when he saw Dorothy. "Well, look who's here!"

"Jim, I'd like you to meet Debbie." Dorothy was already choked up and had a hard time finishing. "Debbie is Alice's daughter."

Jim got right up off of the bench. "Well I'll be...well come on over here and let me give you a hug." No handshakes were necessary. "Welcome to the family."

TOP LEFT: Jim, completely in his element
TOP RIGHT: Armi's Psychic Readings
LOWER LEFT: Craig and Jim
LOWER RIGHT: Armi and Glogirly

The buzz was spreading and everyone was coming over to see what all the fuss was. It was the surprise of a lifetime. Glogirly must have told the story of her search twenty times. Each time, everyone was riveted. When they found out how little information Glogirly had to go on, not even a name, they just shook their heads in amazement. You went through all that to find US? Well we hope you're not too disappointed!

A few even told Glogirly she had a future as a private detective.

Jim's wife, Armi, even got in on the excitement. She couldn't stop hugging Glogirly. Each time she did, her head would fit just perfectly underneath Glogirly's chin. Armi was warm and inviting. She kept saying that Glogirly must look like her father because she didn't much look like the Beecham's.

Alice & Glogirly

Everyone else though saw the resemblance. Glogirly had her mother's eyes, her cheeks and her smile. They had the same fair skin.

As the excitement was calming, Craig's wife Angela showed up. A genealogy buff, she was fascinated. She wanted to hear every single detail. Her eyes would open wide and she'd cover her mouth with her hands as Glogirly walked her through the steps of her search. Angela was fascinated and couldn't stop asking questions.

The Beecham's had welcomed Glogirly into the family with arms opened wide. They made her promise to come back and come back often. Glogirly told them all about her Gloman and they were anxious to meet him. It was Armi that took hold of her hands, looked right into her eyes and said, "I know you already have a family that loves you, dear. But you can never have too much family. We're your family now too."

It was quite a kick for Glogirly. She'll never forget the expressions on her family's faces as they realized who she was. It took many of them a few seconds to register everything. After all, they hadn't even thought about Alice and the baby she gave up for years. It was like running into a very old friend and slowly recalling the memories one at a time. For some it happened in slow motion.

It was quite a day. And for many, the surprise of a lifetime. 

Click HERE for Chapter 17 - Beloved Mother and Sister


  1. I honestly think you need to turn this into a BOOK! I am NOT kidding!

  2. How wonderful! What a riveting story, and so wonderful how they immediately welcomed you so enthusiastically.

  3. Wow, your story gets getting more and more awesome!

  4. I love it. Is the next chapter when Gloman meets them on the next visit? It seems like there should be more than a few chapters left but I guess I'm nosy. HAH!

  5. I just love the way this is turning out. Thank you so much for your kind words about Emma. I really appreciate knowing that I have so many thoughtful friends.

  6. Oh, thank Goodness that want alright...I was imagining the worst and it was the EXACT opposite! WHEEEEE!!!!

  7. very cool..we see the same cheeks
    Benny & Lily

  8. I hope this isn't the end of the story!

  9. "you can never have too much family" That's the most welcoming thing any one could say!!

    I love this story and the descriptions are so good you feel you're actually there! I have such a lump in my throat :) x

  10. Wow! It's wonderful that everyone accepted you without any reservations. That's the true meaning of family.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. In this day and age it is refreshing to read something so personal and with happy results.

  12. It's just so wonderful when you are welcomed back into such a loving family. It happened to me recently so the tears of joy just keep coming as I eagerly read each chapter.

  13. This has been an incredible journey and I'm so happy you shared it with us. Amazing story and with a happy ending too.

  14. We wanted to stop by and thank you for visiting & we found a really ambitious blog! We'll have to come back and read from the beginning. Its a pleasure meeting you!

  15. We are enjoying this so much. We will be sad when it is the last installment.

  16. We think Glogirly looks a lot like her birth mother, Alice!


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