Saturday, January 4, 2014

Peeking into a stranger's life...

In 1989 and 1990, I was in high school.  I had a job at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia during the summers of 1989-1992.  The first two summers were more fun than the second two, mainly because I was really young and it was my second ever job.  I was mingling with kids from other areas and making new friends as well as getting to know some of the people from my own hometown.  I finally started getting a social life.

During that first summer, a guy I knew from my hometown-- I'll call him Jay-- started dating a girl I worked with in the German Ice Cream shop.  I'll call the girl, Linda.  That first summer, they were quite a hot couple.  They seemed to really like each other.  They continued to date after the summer ended.  In fact, I even remember running into them a couple of times, since some of Jay's friends were also friends of a mutual friend of mine.  

I remember all too well coming back to work in German Ice Cream in the early spring of 1990.  Linda had chosen to work there again, too.  She was very popular with our bosses and seemed poised to climb the corporate ladder at Anheuser-Busch.  I, on the other hand, was considered hard working and punctual, but a little crazy.  Nobody wanted to promote me.

Linda was from another community about a half an hour from where Jay and I lived, but they still got together frequently.  In fact, they got together so much that Linda wound up pregnant.  In May of 1990, she announced her pregnancy to everyone at the ice cream shop.  She claimed she hadn't known she was pregnant.  She was very upset about it, since she had wanted to go away to college.  Though she didn't get into her first choice school, she had been accepted at another school located on the other side of the state.  But now that she was pregnant, she wouldn't be going off to college.

Since Jay had gotten Linda pregnant, her family was very angry with him.  Jay and Linda split up and her father apparently got so upset that it was rumored that he took out a restraining order against Jay to keep him away from Linda.  Linda and her family didn't want him involved with the child.  Jay was broke, so he eventually ended up giving up his rights to the boy, who was born in August 1990.

I remember thinking what had happened to Jay was very unfair.  He did care about his son and wanted to know him, but Linda's family was supposedly dead set against it.  This happened even though Jay had gotten along fine with them prior to Linda's pregnancy.  Her family was very Catholic and close-knit.  In an odd, unrelated twist of fate, a couple of years after Linda got pregnant, her brother Tim was killed in a car accident.  

Meanwhile, Linda's sister-- I'll call her Sally-- was two years behind Linda and me and was no doubt watching what was going on.  A couple of years after her sister got knocked up, she ended up attending Longwood University, which is where I was going to school.  Jay was friendly with her and even visited her at college a couple of times.  Sally also worked at Busch Gardens.

Although I knew Sally as an acquaintance, I never became "friends" with her.  Thanks to Facebook, I see her name and image pop up regularly because she's friends with people we both know from Longwood.  And, of course, I used to work with her sister.  I am also still friends with Jay, who later married and had another son.  He went on to get a respectable job and lives in Northern Virginia.  I have heard Jay's side of the story and actually kind of witnessed Linda's side, at least up until she quit her job because she was about to give birth.  

Last night, I got curious about what had happened to Linda and her baby.  I knew that she had eventually married a man who lived on the mountainous side of Virginia and they had a couple more kids.  Her husband adopted Jay's son and the young man now has that man's name.  So… following her sister's Facebook and relying on all the knowledge I had of Linda and her story, I traced my way to Linda's Facebook and eventually found that long, lost boy.  

I figured out who he was pretty easily.  He is the spitting image of his biological father.  It looks like Linda might have split from her husband and is now living in a city not far from where she grew up in southeastern Virginia.  She apparently got her education and her kids have all turned out fine.  Jay's son… whom I never met in person but felt kick when I gave Linda a hug while she was pregnant with him… apparently graduated from the school Linda had dreamt of attending.  I had to stare at the product of Jay's and Linda's tryst for a few minutes because I knew Jay when he was his biological son's age.  Jay's son looks just like him, save for the facial hair and slightly more polished look.  I wonder what he would think if he knew Jay.  Jay has told me they have no contact.

Stranger still is the fact that I know this man's story, even though we've never met.  I know his mother and his long, lost biological father, who is easily found on Facebook.  There I was last night, staring at Linda's Christmas photos and the picture of that handsome young guy who is the son of my friend Jay.

It's hard to believe all of that was going on 24 years ago.  It seems like it wasn't that long ago that we were so young and on the verge of launching into adulthood.  

Bill has told me I should become a private detective because I'm pretty good at finding information and dirt when I put my mind to it.  I have a good memory and remember details of stories.  I have a way of getting the information I seek, even if it takes a lot of time.  I mainly do it because I'm nosey… and I'm interested in peoples' stories.  I'm sure Linda has forgotten all about me, but I remember her very well.  And more importantly, I remember her son.          

3 comments:

  1. It's weird to think there are parts of this young man's story that you know that he may never have heard. Chances are that he didn't get the straight story about why his biological father was out of the picture.

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    1. Yeah, although since my friend and his son's aunt were friendly, the young man probably has heard some less sanctioned parts of the story. He looks like he's grown up to be a good guy. I just can't get over how much he looks like his father.

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