by Ron Lester
In December 1986, I reconnected with my father. My mother said that he would make visits until I was two years old before disappearing. Therefore, prior to 1986, I had no recollection of him. Seeing him at Christmas time of 1986 was like seeing him for the very first time in my life.
In December 1992, I found out my father had two daughters, which is what prompted me to call and get in touch with them. In the early part of 1993, my father took me to meet his mother. In June of that year, my mother and maternal sister met Grandma Katherine. She was a lovely woman, and I am grateful for having met her. My mother had never met my father’s mother. She told me that she got a peripheral view of her when she was at their house for a party. But that house party was in 1964! So it took 29 years for my mother to finally meet my father’s mother, face to face. Grandma Katherine died six months later, in January 1994. So I am very thankful that my mother, sister and I had a chance to sit and talk with her before she made her transition. I cringe at how we met her in the nick of time!
We all gathered at Grandma Katherine’s house after the funeral service, when my aunt began to pull out pictures of other relatives who had passed on. I remember being struck by how proud, confident and successful they all looked. One was a dentist, and it was easy to see that he was so proud as he posed with his latest state of the art dental equipment. The photo was taken in the 1950s
I also got the feeling from viewing all of those pictures that I come from a line of men who have a knack for dressing impeccably. My paternal ancestors appeared to be men with professional aspirations and positions. I remember thinking to myself as I viewed the photographs, “Wow! I come from this?!”
Can you imagine how meaningful it was for me to discover my paternal ancestors as a source of pride and inspiration?
Ron Lester is an Ancestors unKnown Board member. He is the Founder and CEO of Disco Party Fundraiser in NYC. And he is the Executive Director of the William Saxon, Jr. Foundation