9th page
11th page The Reunion and Discoveries...........
Denise's Story, Con't.....


The Reunion and Discoveries......


It was late Sunday evening and Terry and I were on our way back to Petoskey for the long ride home. I kept reflecting back on the events of the day. What a full day it had been. I was still experiencing so many different emotions, generated from the last several hours, that I really didn't remember much of the ride home. I was in a daze................ sort of a dream-like state of mind...... .. almost surrealistic........ strange even. It had been such an overwhelming day because of the experiences I'd just had. I do know that at every opportunity I could safely take, I would glance at Kevin's pictures that I had tucked onto the dashboard of the car. are these pictures real?..........did i really just spend 6 hours with my son? Yes, I did. I have the memories and the pictures to remind me that this actually happened.

After our initial greeting outside in the yard, we went inside the house and Kevin gave us the grand mini-tour of his home. We started with the large, airy kitchen and proceeded to the living room. From a doorway off the living room, we peeked in a room and I spotted the Star Trek logo on a number of boxes. Maybe Kevin thought this was going to be just a quick visit to this room, but I'm an avid Star Trek fan so I walked right in and took a closer look at all the boxes that held his Star Trek and Star Wars collections. "you like star trek?...........you're a collector?.............i am, too! oh.........a darth vader case......, i use to have one of those but i sold it a long time ago!......dumb, dumb, dumb........!!" I was making a silly gesture with my hand as I uttered the 'dumb, dumb, dumb' words and about 10 feet away from me, Ruth and Julie were just doubled over in a fit of giggles. "what are you two giggling about"? , I asked. "Oh Denise", Ruth said through her laughter, "the motion you just made with your hand.........now we know where Kevin got it from..........he's done that so many times, it's unbelievable"!!!

As we continued with the tour of his home, Kevin very methodically showed us his books and videos, his camera equipment and then we entered his computer room. I noticed that everything was placed in an orderly fashion, very neat and very tidy....... nothing was out of place. "kevin?" , I asked, "it looks like you really keep things organized?" [ organization.........something I strive for in my own surroundings at home and at work ] His sister Julie nodded her head in an up and down motion which confirmed my question. I then took a closer look at the rooms' belongings and noticed several paintings, canvases, leaning against a couple of walls. "kevin, did you paint these?" "Yes"......... "oh kevin..........they're wonderful .........they're good......... i mean, really, really good.......... you've captured that image perfectly!" [ through the years, I often wondered what traits had I possibly passed onto my son?.... ....what hidden talents, that he inherited from me, would materialize as he grew older?..........what features would be similar to mine?.............what color would his eyes be?.............or his hair?...........would he look like me? to find out that he had a wonderful talent for art was one of the most moving moments of the day for me.... ........ drawing and painting had been such a passion in my life.........now I found out it was a talent we shared ]. Painting was a hobby to Kevin but his passion was the computer. Some of his most inspiring creativity was with the use of computer graphics. My knowledge of computers paled in comparison to Kevin's, but it gave us, yet, another common bond.

My genealogy research prompted me to use the computer and because I like to figure things out on my own, it became a trial and error kind of learning. For me, it was the best way. There was so much to learn about the internet and all it had to offer in the way of research for my genealogy hobby. I had been working on an internet Family Tree for about a year and a half and was anxious to show Kevin what I had accomplished. Kevin sat down at the computer terminal to show me some of his programs that he was using. However, I knew I couldn't wait another moment to show him the Family Tree I'd been working on and to see his reaction ........ I asked him, "kevin, will you link up and get on the internet? i have something important i want to show you" Accommodating me with a questioning look on his face, Kevin said,"OK." Kevin went through the motions of getting online and then followed my directions as I took him to my home page on the internet. "click on that link and it will take you to my family tree pages......well, OUR family tree pages, i mean............ see?......that's you i've got listed there. oh my God, i can change it now! when i get home tonight, i can change your name because all this time i've had you listed with the name i gave you at birth............... see? click there and you'll................see, there's your grandpa and grandma's names and if you click here it will take you to your other ancestors............" Kevin asked, "What nationality are we"? oh, german mostly......and then there's some english and some dutch, too...........oh ...........and..........well from your birth father's side you're pure irish! I didn't realize at the time what kind of impact the viewing of the family tree pages had on Kevin. 4 days later Kevin wrote an email to his Auntie Karen explaining the importance of the day and what it meant to him. He mentioned to her how he, in a split second, went from knowing very little about his heritage to knowing almost everything, after looking at his Family Tree on the internet.

While Ruth, Julie, Kevin and I sat in the living room visiting, Dave and Terry were making themselves busy in the kitchen rustling up something for us to eat. After 3 HOURS they finally declared that lunch was ready. All of us were rather amused at the length of time it took the guys to put something together. We just couldn't understand why it took so long for them to prepare a meal. [They both love to cook and are VERY proficient in the kitchen]. They said it was because they couldn't find anything in Kevin's kitchen and it took them a long time to improvise. We figured the delay was due to the fact they were talking so much!!

While we were eating, Ruth brought out 15 photo albums that she had brought for me to look at, plus Kevin's baby book. The care and thoroughness, that Ruth devoted to Kevin's book, was evident all the way through. Ruth told me, "You know, Denise........as I was putting this baby book together, I always had you in the back of my mind. I always had a feeling that someday, you'd be looking at this, too, so you could see how Kevin grew up .............I was doing this for both of us..........." Ruth related to me that in 1982, when Kevin was 10 years old, they had been invited to the Adoption Agency in response to a letter I'd sent regarding Kevin's health. At that time, they had requested and received non-identifying information about me. She knew, at that point that I would search for Kevin sometime after he turned 18 years old. ...............Her words touched me so much.......I kept thinking what a special woman ruth is..........someone willing to share all of the important "growing up" details about kevin............how do i ever thank her........them? ........how do i let them know how much they've touched me with their thoughtfulness and kindness............and their total, unconditional acceptance of me?

We finished eating and sat on the living room floor going through pictures that Kevin had in his albums. I had brought pictures of myself and Paul from 1972 and some recent photos of myself, Terry, Danielle, Ben and Tiffany. As we sorted through them, I related short stories about where they originated from and dates. I told Kevin to pick out whatever pictures he wanted to keep for himself so he would have some for his photo album.

We started talking about coincidences............especially the fact that I had graduated from Rogers High School in Toledo. "Really?.......... So did I!!" Dave said. Then he asked, "Where did you live?" I replied, "do you remember where sleepy hollow pond is?" "Yes, I know right where it is" "near reynold's corners?""Yes, I remember that area because I didn't live too far away from there, myself." "you lived near there?" , I asked. "Yes", Dave responded. Then he asked, "Denise, what Junior High School did you go to?" I replied, "i went to mc tigue junior high school............ why?" , I asked. Dave surprisingly replied, "I taught 8th grade science at McTigue..........my first year of teaching was in 1964." "oh my God, dave.......... i was at mc tigue during that year, i was in 8th grade .........i can hardly believe it.......... we were at the same school during the same time?............... that is unbelievable!" We continued talking about schools and the conversation turned, once again, to Kevin and the University he attended [Michigan Tech] and what he majored in. "engineering?" , I asked? "you majored and graduated with an engineering degree?". Kevin assured me he did and then showed me a graduation photo and program that had been stored away in one of his memory boxes. oh kevin, you just won't believe this, your grandpa beckwith graduated from the university of michigan with an engineering degree, too". Ruth asked,"So you're a Michigan fan, too?"

So many strange coincidences, but then another one was discovered as we continued talking. Ruth started to relate the circumstances of when Kevin's new name became official. Ruth, Dave and Kevin went to their appointment and told the caseworker his new name..............Kevin David. Ruth said to me, "It was the strangest thing.....the caseworker smiled at me after I told them Kevin's new name." I replied to her, "well ruth, i know why she smiled at you........" "You do? It's something I've always wondered about all these years" "yes...........you see, i gave him a name during our stay in the hospital............i named him 'David Eric'.""Oh my God, Denise, our second son's name is Eric"!!! ...........i could feel goose bumps start on my arms and chills found their way up and down my back............

I wanted to spend some *alone* time with Kevin and at two separate times during the afternoon, we left the others in the living room as I motioned to Kevin to follow me outside so we could have a few moments together........... ..just the two of us. I asked him about his likes and dislikes and then I asked about girls........, "is there someone special in your life?" and Kevin replied, "Yes, but she lives in California....her name is Chrissy". He told me how they'd met, 6 years before, during a special trip to Washington, D.C. while they were still in High School. They attended a week long seminar where each were representatives from their respective states. They became special friends during the trip and had kept in constant contact ever since. Kevin told me how he hated to be separated from her and that she was still.......very, very special to him. He talked about how unhappy he was at his present job and how much he really wanted to move out to California to pursue his dream of getting into the film industry specializing in computer graphic animation. "california, are you sure, kevin"? i've just found you, please don't leave yet...... I tried to reassure him that whatever decision he made, I would support him, [even if it meant that he'd be moving so far away]..........It was at that minute that I knew I had to take a picture of Kevin. The light was just right and I wanted to capture the moment.............. After the picture was taken, we started to go inside to join the others. I kept thinking to myself, i've just found you, I can hardly believe that you're really thinking about moving so far away. I want some time to get to know you........and you, me...........i want you to know your brother and sisters ..........if you leave, you'll never have that chance....... ..my mind was so full of selfish thoughts........i waited so long to find you, only to lose you to a potential job so far away.........? I asked one more time, "kevin, are you sure?........ nothing just a little bit closer?............... it's gotta be california, huh"? Kevin jokingly remarked, as he held the door open for me to go through, "Oh, I can just see it now, TWO mothers trying to keep me in Michigan."

Our visit lasted far longer than I'd ever dared hope for.... ...........six hours. We shared pictures.............we shared stories...........we laughed .............and we cried. And then it was time for the Schmidts to go home. We went outside to take group pictures of all of us. Every conceivable combination was photographed. Terry, Kevin and me. Dave, Ruth and Kevin and me. Ruth and Kevin and me. Dave, me and Kevin. Julie and Kevin. Then, Julie took a wonderful picture of the five of us, Kevin in the middle, with the four of us, two by two, on either side of him. As we were finishing up our posing, Ruth suggested we get together again really soon .......... .. oh....i'd like that.....i'd love that really..... "when would you like to meet again?", I asked. "Oh, soon, really soon", Ruth replied, "while the weather is still good". "you know", I said, "you could come up to our home at Walloon, there's plenty of room there and we could all stay together at the house, you'd love it at Walloon Lake...........the colors will be beautiful in about three weeks or so"? Dave piped up and said, "I think that's a great idea about going up north". [ little did I know at the time, that Dave is a HUGE fan of the outdoors and that a northern trip was right up his alley ]. Ruth and I worked out some quick details and decided that the fourth weekend away, the 4th of October, would work out for everyone. We said our goodbyes and reassured each other that we'd email back and forth to one another soon.

About a half hour later, we too needed to leave as it was almost 5:30 PM and we still had a long drive ahead of us. I don't want the day to end............ i don't want to say goodbye......... oh, kevin..........let me hug you just one more time and let the feeling from it last forever...... .......

I don't remember saying goodbye........I don't even remember the last few words we spoke to each other........ the thought I do have is the wonderful memory of Kevin giving me another *pressure* hug............to last until the next time we'd be together.

Terry and I arrived home in 4 and a half hours and I went to check the computer to see if Ruth had emailed about their safe return home to Petersburg. Instead, I discovered a wonderful, heart warming email message from Kevin, addressed to all four of us, both emailed out at the same time.

That Sunday evening, I too, wrote a special letter to Kevin to let him know what the day had meant to me.

Dear Kevin,
Just a short note to let you know how much this day meant to me. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful reception than the one you, your parents and Julie gave to me and Terry.

Thank you for accepting me, for giving me that golden opportunity to hold you once again in my arms. There are moments that are burned into my memory from today's experience, spectacular memories that you allowed to happen.

There is so much more that I want to share with you. I, too, look forward to our time we'll spend together in October. It can't get here soon enough.

Your Mom and Dad are the greatest and I have so much respect and admiration for them. God has touched both of our families by bringing us together in His time. Miracles do happen..........one on the 24th of January 1972 and one today.

With Love,
Your Mother

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This page was created 9 March 1997
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