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Prologue - I Must Have Wandered: An Adopted Air Force Daughter Recalls
On a bitterly cold Pennsylvania day in January, 2014, I’m alone in my adoptive mother’s bedroom, preparing for her move to assisted living. Loose photos and family albums lie on this double bed with its carved pineapple finials. Her mother left many of these photos behind, and they, the bed, and its matched, mirrored mahogany bureau—photos now scattered across its surface—all are passing into my care. Here are my baby book and framed portraits of me; testaments to new adoptive parents’ devotion. I juggle their memories with some of my own.
My nana tucked her photos in scrapbooks where the mucilage of memories has confined them to the safety of black corners. When did they last see daylight? These bundles wrapped in rubber bands stuffed into shoeboxes, frilly brag books, and framed images; cousins, nieces, nephews--only a few of whom I’ve met—the crinkle-edged black-and-whites, and faded 1960s color shots from pre-digital years will all soon be mine.
Who are these people? I recognize the faces of some who have crossed my plane in tangent. We share no heritage, and I ache for such a bond. I turn over the coarse, corn-colored album leaves, searching captioned places, and names of folks who have lived ordinary lives, like mine, but were never mine. Yet, I’ve taken on the memory of my adoptive ancestry. How to solve the quandary I hold in my hands?
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