I was six almost seven when I learned that James was not my real father.
For the most part the bully of the school had left me alone most of the year but for some reason the day before school let out for the summer Randy had laid for me after class. He started shoving me and calling me names. I decided since I just had the one day left what the heck let him have his fun, but when he called me an *Indian Bastard* something snapped and I let him have both barrels.
When the teachers separated us we both looked like we had been thrown in the bear cage at the zoo and had come out the losers. After a talk with the teachers both of our parents marched us out of the school and then home.
To my shock nothing was said between my mother and I about what had happened except for my mother saying that when my father got home from his business trip the next day that we would all set down and talk about it. I did not get much sleep that night thinking about how my father was going to punish me. I wasn't worried about the fight so much; it was just because it happened on the school grounds.
Since the next day was the last day of school they let us out early, but today Randy and I both were lead out of the school from different doors and told to go straight home.
When I got to the end of the block I saw almost started to cry when I saw my fathers car sitting in the drive, but since I was always taught that when ever I did something wrong I was to stand up and take the outcome. I stepped into the house and was told by my father that I was not going to be punished at all for the fight but to put my school stuff in my room and then come down to the den.
When I arrived in the den my mother and father were sitting on the couch and had a folder on the coffee table in front of them. I was told to get a throw pillow and sit on the opposite side of the coffee table. When I was settled, my father said. "Brent, your mother and I were going to let you get a little older then tell you this but since the fight and what Randy said we feel it best to explain it to you as best we can."
He took a deep breath and continued. "In life we are not always dealt the best cards to play with but we have to play the best game we can. I can and will be the best father I can be but I am not your real father. Your father was killed in a car wreck before you were born. I met and married your mother when you were just six moths old. All I know is that to me you will always be my son no matter what. Now it is your mothers turn to tell you all she can about your father."
He then turned and told my mother that he would go out and leave us alone while she and I talked about my father.
She took his hand in hers and said. "Please stay, I want you to hear this too." She then turned to the coffee table and opened the folder and pulled out a faded picture and handed it to me, saying. "Brent this is the only picture I have of your father, Nathan. This was his senior picture from high school."
I took the picture and looked very closely at it and noticed that I had his eyes and hair coloring. I never thought about having Black hair and Brown eyes being different than the Blonde hair and blue eyes of my parents had.
My Mother continued. "Your father was half Arapaho Indian. My mother and father were not at all happy that we had fallen in love and had forbidden me to see him again. But being kids ourselves we began sneaking around behind my parent's backs and seeing each other. After we graduated we ran off and got married. On the way back a semi truck had a blowout and skidded across the highway and ran over the car we were in."
She reached in the folder again and pulled out a newspaper clipping about the wreck.
"Your father was killed instantly and I was severely injured. When I woke up in the hospital my mother and father were not too happy. When I got better and went home they found out that I was pregnant with you and started to pressure me to get an abortion. But I refused because you were all I had left of the love your father and I shared. I left home and went to live with your father's parents and started to work as a waitress where I met your stepfather here and fell in love with him. I started to feel guilty about living with your grand parents and loving another man but your grand father told me that your fathers spirit knew and approved."
I didn't exactly know what to say so I just kept quiet.
My father spoke up and said. " We know that this is a lot for you understand at this time but we want you to take this folder and look and read everything in it over. If you have any questions we will always be here to answer them."
Being just six at the time I had always been analytical in everything I did. When it came to difficult problems be it school or just in life its self I always tended to list out in my head or on paper the steps to solve the problem. I guess you could call me a young nerd. But this time it was difficult to just think. With tears in my eyes I spoke up and said something dumb. "Your not going to hate me for being an *Indian bastard* like Randy said, are you Dad?"
He was instantly around the coffee table and hugged me in his arms and said, "No son I'm not, and you are not an *Indian Bastard*. For one you are part Indian and two you are not a bastard. You were conceived on your mother and fathers wedding night. Part of what is in that folder is your mother and fathers Marriage License. And to me you will always be my son real father or not."
I took the next week or two looking over everything in the folder and asked a lot of questions. I found out that night why my Grandparents on my mother's side never paid much attention to me.
About a week later I was told that my fathers parents wanted me to come and spend some time with them. I readily accepted just to be able to find out more about my father.
I went to spend a couple of weeks with them and found out my grandfather was a Medicine Man or Shaman, as I would later find out the correct word for it.
I went to spend a month every summer with them that I could. My grandfather was kind of a summer camp counselor, telling stories and explaining the Indian way of life to the kids at camp. When I spent the summer with them I usually went with him to help out and sometimes sit in on some of his sessions with the kids.
When I was twelve I went to one of his sessions and since they needed one more in the group to round out the circle that he always had them sit in.
He started out by explaining that the circle indicated life was a circle that life was created from the earth and when we died we went back to the earth to be reborn. He went on to tell a story I had heard many times about two lovers from different tribes falling in love and losing each other to the swift current of the stream but in the afterlife finding each other. At the end of the story he had us all to hold hands with the person across from us and gave us Indian names. The girl across from me he gave the name of Morning Dove and he used the name he had given me on the day I became a man of the tribe, Running Elk. When he finished he told Morning Dove and I to stay holding hands and said. "I have just seen a vision that your two lives will always be intertwined."
Being just twelve I somehow believed that this time he was probably wrong in his vision, because what would this girl see in me. After all I was part Indian.
After I got over the shock of my father not being my real father I began to see just how much he did love me. He sometimes had to be away for a month at a time with his job but when he was around we always did things together. He was there when I got my first home run at T-Ball and he even flew back into town for two days when at age eight I had to go in for emergency surgery for my Appendics. It seemed he never got tired of me always wanting to play catch or basketball. He even had time for my sister Mary Anne who was almost two years younger than I.
Even though my sister and I were always fussing and fighting we knew we loved each other. When I came home from the hospital she had decorated my room with balloons and paper mache streamers. When I started dating she even went out with us some. When she was allowed to start dating we had double dates together.
When she was old enough she started to spend summers with my grandparents also. By the time she was fourteen she had already decided she was going to be an archeologist, studying the American Indian way of life.
As I said mom's folks had little to do with me but with they doted on Mary Anne. When she was old enough to realize that they paid all of the attention to her and none on me she started refusing their presents and spending less time with them. She eventually found out the truth about dad not being my real father. She came into my room one night before bedtime and I could tell she had been crying and I asked what was wrong.
Whimpering, she asked. "Even though we are not real brother and sister. Do you still love me?"
And I said, "We are brother and sister. We had the same mother just not the same father. I will always love you just like dad loves me even if I am not his real son."
She hugged me real hard and said. "Thanks, big brother I will always love you too."
It all came to a boiling point with my sister the night of our Graduation. (I guess I forgot to mention that Mary Anne had jumped a grade between the ninth and tenth grades. her I.Q. was way up there.)
.... There is more of this story ...