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7:47 pm - Fri 7.13.2012
Son Of Hoffmaster

Son Of Hoffmaster

Well, it's nearing a week since my big trip, but I'm still chewing over my time in West Virginia...

I've written already about meeting my Mom.

After our initial meeting on Tuesday, she came back two more times before I left - On the Fourth, and again on Saturday (I left Sunday afternoon).

I would like to have visited her at some point, to get a better sense of her in her own surroundings, but her partner/roommate Craig turned out to be the only one not happily on board with the big "I have a son I've never mentioned" revelation (Tony told me Craig used to be a pretty good guy, but has turned cranky and sour in recent years, due to ill-health and an inability to buy all the medicines he needs to deal with said ill-health).

So anyway, I saw her a couple times over the week.

She didn't stay very long any one time - which caught me off-guard at first ("She's leaving already?", I remember thinking the first time) - but long enough so that we had time to talk, and kind of "ease our way" into things.

Talking to my Mom, in terms of big surprises, there mostly weren't any - I felt, for the most part, that the "outline" I had in my head got "filled in" a little more, and that was about it.

But the one surprise there was?

It was a pretty good one.

When I first contacted my mother, many years ago, we had a single exchange of letters, and in her letter, she told me Gregg Hoffmaster (Who's real first name was "Griggs", I found out) was not my biological father.

My father, she said, was "A very nice, much older man, who died a long time ago".

But Mom lied.

Gregg/Griggs Hoffmaster was my father.

Why the lie, you're wondering?

Well, that was - and kind of still is - a little confusing to me; she seemed to suggest she didn't want me tainted by people knowing I was the son of Griggs Hoffmaster, noted alcoholic, wife-beating piece-of-shit (That last bit of phraseology is mine, not Mom's, but that seemed to be the sentiment).

But I thought about it afterward, and it struck me that, "That doesn't really make sense - My last name's still 'Hoffmaster' after all (Not to mention that it's been 50 years and I live thousands of miles from Martinsburg WV)".

So then I thought maybe it wasn't other people's opinions Mom was trying to protect me from - Maybe she wanted to protect me from feeling bad if I knew who my father really was.

In any case, whatever her line of thinking, my father was not the mystery, "very nice, much older man, who died a long time ago" I'd been led to believe.

My father was Griggs Hoffmaster.

Which changes things.

For example - Kelly Hoffmaster, who I've thought was my deceased half-brother, is actually my deceased full brother (Mom gave me a picture of him, and he is clearly from the same gene pool as Yours Truly; when I posted the picture on Facebook, some people actually thought it was a picture of me at that age. It's hard to impress on people how fascinating that was for me).

And Gregg Hoffmaster, who I connected with on the Internet about three years ago, who was the son of Griggs and the woman he married after he and my Mom got divorced, is another half-brother (He found me here on Diaryland, and inquired as to whether we were related. And I told him we were not, because that's what I'd been told).

It's an interesting thing to get my head around - To go from being sad that my last name "doesn't mean anything", to having it be connected to a guy that seemed to wreak a lot of havoc in a lot of people's lives.

Was I better off not knowing, as Mom seemed to believe?

Personally, I don't think so. What's the point in believing a lie about yourself?

And if you don't know "where you came from", how will you ever know how far you've gone?

Beyond all this, I'm happy to say that I liked my Mom. She smart, she's a Democrat, she reads, and she seems to have a good sense of humor, and a good head on her shoulders.

(I was very happy at one point, when the general conversation turned to Westerns, and Mom said her favorite was Lonesome Dove. That's my favorite Western as well.)

Pretty sure I didn't "take her full measure" in the relatively short time we had together, but if part of my hope in meeting her was that she be somebody I could like and respect, I got that.

Mentally, she seems pretty together, but I was a little concerned abut her physically; she's heavy - I don't think as heavy as she's been, from pictures I've seen, but she's definitely overweight - and she walks fairly gingerly, a combination of two artificial knees, and a previous fall that's left her fearful about falling again.

I have her address, but haven't written her as of yet; I definitely want to establish ongoing contact, if at all possible (And she's not a computer person), but I'm not quite sure "where we go from here".

There was only one time during our time together where I found myself teary-eyed...

When she started to leave on Saturday, I walked her out to her car.

I told her - again - how much I appreciated her being open to this, how much it meant to me, etc, and I said that I hoped we'd be able to stay in touch.

And she seemed to be of like mind.

And after a second of indecision on both our parts, we hugged, and it was a real hug.

That got me. I stayed outside till she drove away, then took another moment or two to compose myself before going back in the house.

It was a hug I've waited for all my life.

And on that sentimental note, I've got to go to bed...even though there's a lot more to write about.

5:45 am comes early, and I'm fading fast...


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