Don't Tell Me What To Do: A Spiritual Memoir
Just kill me now, LORD! I'd rather be dead than alive, because nothing I predicted is going to happen. – Jonah 4:3

How did Ron Alexander find his real father?

Answer

I had so many aunts and uncles, so many grandparents that it was not hard to imagine that I also had two mothers and two fathers. When I learned that I, in fact, had a biological father that I had never met, I was immediately angry at the people who had kept the secret from me. I learned that his family lived in Baltimore, but I was not prepared for what I learned by going to Baltimore.

I write in my memoir that . . .

Once in Baltimore, I thought about calling the telephone number given to me by Ruth. I decided that I would just show up unannounced. When I finally found the address, I parked and, without any hesitation, I rushed up the steps and I boldly rang the doorbell. I panted my feet, hummed a song, paced about while I waited for someone to come to the door. I tried knocking on the door. No answer.

I decided to go back to my car. Just as I was about to leave, the door opened. A woman stood in front of me, hands on hip, looking me up and down with a smile on her face. I was about to introduce myself when she cuts me off.

“—I know who you are.” The serious tone in her voice didn't seem to match up with the smile on her face. “You’re Johnny’s son. I knew you would come one day.”

Confused, but excited, I walked into the house. She continued to look at me with a smile beaming on her face. “You look just like Johnny,” she said once again.”

“Who are you?” I wanted to know.

“I was his wife. Johnny’s been dead now for many years.”

“Looks like I got here too late?”

“Sure looks that way. We were divorced long before he was killed.”

“—Killed?”

“Yes, killed,” she said. “When he retired from the military, he moved out to California and remarried. The story I got from his wife was that he was shot and killed during a robbery. Johnny had a lot of money.”

I was annoyed by the matter-of-fact tone in her voice. She was still smiling at me and I couldn't figure out why. Was she getting satisfaction out of telling me that I would never get to meet Johnny?

“He was an alcoholic,” she went on. “Drank a lot. Ran around with a lot of different women.”

She wouldn’t shut up. She was too eager to talk. “We had a son together. He’s dead, too. He died from AIDS. He was a dope addict living up there in New York. He got all of this money from Johnny dying and wasted it all on dope.”

“Is that right?” I tried to hide my disappointment. She was giving too much information. I couldn’t shut her up.

“I denied you were his son. So did Johnny. Now that I can see you for myself, I know that you are his son.”

I wanted to leave, get out of the house, away from her, but she wouldn't stop talking.

“--I gotta go,” I blurted out. I couldn't take anymore. “It was nice meeting you.” I walked out the door to my car. On the interstate heading back to Philadelphia, I was so
overcome with emotions that I had to pull to the side of the highway. I turned off the engine and sat quietly for a moment, then a rush of tears overwhelmed me. So what if John Duffy was an alcoholic and his son was a dope addict. I wasn't angry that John Duffy had denied me. I was just pissed off that it had to happen to me.

I started the car and pulled back onto the highway.

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"... just like Johnny,” she said once again.” “Who are you?” I wanted to know. I was his wife. Johnny’s been dead now for many years.” “Looks like I got here too late?” “Sure looks that way. We were divorced long before he was killed.” “—Killed?” ..."

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