by Dorothy Dykstra Hick
brother Dennis, cousin, myself sister Deb
At the age of three, my father, Donald Dykstra, left and never came back. He left me and my biological mother, along with two step-siblings, my older sister and brother born to my mother's first marriage, who my biological father adopted to give them his last name.
My mother never wanted to say anything bad about him, and only if we asked would she tell us anything. But for over 21 years, nobody asked her anything.
At around the age of 21, my half-brother and I were talking and then asked our mother where he might be, and if it would be alright to find him, as we didn't want to hurt her by doing this.
The longing to know was strong in me all my life, but for some reason, I just didn't ask. Again my mother, not wanting to say anything bad, said she thought it would be better if we saw for ourselves, just in case all turned out alright. She wanted us to go with open minds, and said she would write a letter stating we did not want anything from him and just wanted to meet him.
She gave us the last known state and town he lived in, which was Tampa, Florida.
My step-sister didn't want anything to do with it at all, as she knew he was not her biological father. But my step-brother for some reason did.
My step-brother and I took a plane, as we lived in N.J., to the area of Clearwater, Florida. We started to make calls to radiator places, and on the third call, the gentleman told us of a man that used to own a radiator shop, but now owned an Exxon station. He said that he had something to bring out there, and would have his driver stop by and we could follow.
I had found a photo of myself, my step-brother and sister standing with my father, who appeared to be a very tall man and looked just like Roy Rogers. I had that photo with me and when we got to the station where my biological father might be, both of us questioned whether we really wanted to do this. My step-brother decided for me, and we entered the front office where a man was sitting behind a desk and not looking up at all.
My step brother said, "excuse me, we are looking for Donald Dykstra." The man behind the desk, never looking up, said," It depends on who is looking for him." That made me scared and I went behind my brother, waiting for one of them to say something else. My step-brother gave him the letter that my mother had written.
In the wait for this man to read the letter, I noticed that under a car on a lift in the bay of the station was a man that looked just like the photo I carried. I nudged my step brother and told him to look, saying, "there he is."
But with that the man behind the desk looks up and just says,"I can not believe you are standing in front of me." He stands up and starts to come forward to us. But in my mind the man I was looking for was in the bay area of the station. I looked at the man from behind the desk and was sure that he was not the one in my photo. (photo 18 years old).
This man was old and short, but he started talking and telling us he was Donald Dykstra and was so happy to see us. But then the phone rings and these are the words I hear him say. " You will never guess who is standing in front of me. Who did I wish I could see every Christmas? Yes, they are in front of me right now."
After saying good bye to the person on the phone, he asked if we would stay for a few minutes, as his wife was on her way and wanted to meet us. My step-brother says, "yes", but my mind was still on the man in the bay, under the car, who never looked up from his work.
Within minutes my father's wife was there, all ready to hug us and tell us how much she missed us. My mind was still on the man in the bay. I was mixed up, and now more so, trying to figure out why a person I thought had never met us before was now telling us how she missed us. She was also telling us how happy she was that we finally came.
My father's wife then asked us if we would come back to go to dinner with them. My step-brother said we would, and we left.
Before leaving I take another look into the bay of the station and tell my step-brother that has to be him. I take the photo out of my pocket and he agreed that he looked more like the man in the photo than the short older man behind the desk. But that we would return later and find out for sure.
We returned later that day and my dad and his wife were in the office area and the man was still in the bay area. But within minutes my father called for the man from the bay area and he came into the office. My father said that he didn't know if we would come back so he felt not to introduce us, unless we came back. He introduced us, and it turned out that the man from the bay was not my father, and that this short older man was Donald Dykstra, my biological father.
At this point, I was a little disappointed, and my mind really didn't know what to think. We followed my father and his wife back to their home. There, his wife was all excited, and kept trying to hug me and tell me how much she loved me.
We left their home with them to go to dinner. At no time did my father's wife let the conversation be with my father. She asked questions of us about our life, and then put two envelopes on the table, one in front of my step-brother, and one in front of me. With that my step-brother asked what they were. Again the wife answered, not my father. She stated it was just something to make up for all the Christmases missed.
My step-brother picked up both envelopes and handed them back to her. He stated that we didn't want anything from them. The wife said, we just want you to have it. My brother again gave them back and said, if she handed them to him again, he would rip them up. My father still said not one word.
And with that we got up. The wife said, it is nothing, just take it. My brother turned to her and said, "I have taken care of my sister all these years. She and I do not need anything." And we left.
Thank God it did not go farther, and it was dropped. The next day my step-brother and I planned to go to Disney World and we were on our way, when out of nowhere, a little girl ran out and hit the wheel well of the car and went flying in the air and slid on the black pavement. The temperature was over 90 degrees. Again, thank God she was not hurt badly and had ran out between large bushes. But it took both of us aback.
The trip was cut short, as my brother was sick over the little girl, even though she was okay. We did see my father and his wife one more time before leaving.
The following year, my father and his wife came in to NJ to see us. But this is what the whole story is about.
My mind did not find the man I knew from the picture as my father, even though he really was biologically my father and we had kept in touch. I never got to ask about other family that might be in NJ or anything about my grandparents.
Even though my mother had led us to believe it was fine with her that we looked him up, later she had expressed that she was not happy that we kept in touch, so I didn't feel it right to ask her anything.
Now both parents have passed away, and just the other week I get an e-mail from a young man who saw the site I had put some info into, trying to find out about that side of my family. I found out that when my father left, he also took his son and daughter from his first marriage, prior to my mother, with him. So that gives me two step-sisters and two step-brothers.
In this e-mail a young man was saying he typed his name into the computer, and saw the site where I put things on, and got my e-mail address. He stated he thought I was talking about his grandfather. He told me some things about his grandfather, and we found out his grandfather was my biological father. He also stated that he had spoken to his dad, who would be a second step-brother to me. I was given a phone number to call his dad if I wished.
The story has to stop for now as I have to build up the nerve to call. When my step-brother and I were in Florida, we never heard about another sibling. So for now, as my research is on-going, I wish all well in your research and will update you when I get some more bricks to add.