In Memory of Jack Jennings Reese, My Father

My father Jack Jennings Reese died Tuesday night. He was 83. I was never supposed to know his name. I was never supposed to know him. That’s what adoption means. Jack’s name was not on my original birth certificate. My “non-ID” from Toledo Crittenden helpfully informed me that my father was a man. Oh, and that he had blue eyes, was a high school drop-out, working class, and Protestant. (That last part is a stretch. I don’t think he was an atheist, but he had no quarter with organized religion. He refused to be baptized.) He must have been from Akron, since that’s where my mother lived. I got that information in 1980. Not until 1996, however, did I learn in a letter from my mother, Jack’s initials: JR. As in Ewing. That small slice of information was treasured. It meant, as it can only mean to the adopted, that I wasn’t dropped out of a UFO or born in a cabbage patch. I wasn’t an immaculate conception. I already knew I had a mother, of course, but now I had a father. In Akron. Or someplace. It turned out to be Buffalo. . My mother described Jack as “nice Continue Reading →