Randy Travis – Songs to Search By…

Friday, July 12, 2013


This is an update to a post I did earlier. Randy Travis is going through a hard time right now. He suffered congestive heart failure and now he has had a stroke. He is in critical condition.  I am very sad to hear that and my thoughts are with him, his family and friends.

There was a time when I listened to a lot of Randy Travis. The year I was looking for and found my son, there were two CD’s I played all the time, at home, in the car, everywhere. One was by Randy Travis.  Read the rest of this entry »


Reformers and Deserted Mothers … UM on the road.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


We have been on the road recently, my hubby and I.  We sailed from NYC, disembarked in Southampton, travelled up to London and spent the night in the world’s smallest hotel room. We actually spent two nights. One on the way to Paris and one on the way back before we went to Edinburgh.

The world’s smallest hotel room was on a very pleasant court near St. Pancras and King’s Cross railway stations. It overlooked a charming park with tennis courts and the hotel had very friendly staff and a lovely patio out back.  It was also very close to NUT Headquarters – clearly I was in the right neighbourhood.  NUT, by the way, is an acronym for England’s National Union of Teachers. Aw the British sense of humour. Read the rest of this entry »

Randy Travis and me (and adoption)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I am not a big fan of country music.  That makes it sound a bit like I don’t like it.  That’s not it, it’s just not usually my go to music.  Rock and Roll!!!

But there was a time that I listened to a lot of country music or to be more specific, a lot of Randy Travis.  The year I was looking for and found my son, there were two CD’s I played all the time, at home, in the car, everywhere. One was Randy Travis’ Storms of Life and the other was Famous Blue Raincoat, the songs of Leonard Cohen (See my page About the Name) as sung by Jennifer Warrens. I played both of them for my son’s father.  He thought Famous Blue Raincoat was beautiful.  He thought it was funny that I was listening to Randy. But I digress.

As far as I know, Jennifer Warrens is doing alright; Randy Travis is another story.  He was found, apparently, naked and drunk, on a highway. He seems to have fallen on troubled times.

Now I guess if you are a songwriter, it’s all material.  Maybe there will be a Storms of Life II.  But that is kind of flip and I really don’t want to be flip about Mr. Travis because he was there for me during a challenging time. I doubt that he will find his way to this blog but if he does I hope he will read and know his music meant a lot to me.  I still have his songs on my itouch.

Here’s the title track from Storms of Life.  I remember singing this in full voice while I was driving around the province, tracking down clues, looking for my son. It wasn’t my favourite song but you’ll get the idea. Particularly if you’ve been there.



Fake-Walkin’ the Dog

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When I found my son, he had been thrown out by his adoptive parents and they had gone to Europe.

I discovered where he lived because, for a very short time, he had a telephone. One day , for some reason, I cut through the telephone company’s building in the city where I live. There was a bank of phone books on the wall. Since I was searching for him, I decided to stop and take a look. Why not?

Among the phone books was a slim, interim telephone book for the city where he lived. His name was in it and his address. His name never appeared in the large regular telephone book, before or after. I checked. Finding that book was extreme good luck. Or the hand of God. Or something.

I knew from my research where his adoptive parents lived. I knew their part of the city well because their house was half a block from my grandmother’s house. The address in the little phone book wasn’t the same one. This other address was, you might say, in a poorer part of town.

I wrote him a letter.

Well that’s not exactly true. I drove to the city with my dog in tow, parked down the street from the house, fake-walked my dog and waited until I saw him come out. Then I followed him to school and took his picture courtesy of my husband’s telephoto lens.* Then I felt it wasn’t fair. I knew who he was but he didn’t know who I was so then….

I wrote him a letter.

He later told me that when he called his adoptive father and left a message that I had contacted him, his adoptive father didn’t call him back for three days.

The first time I talked to him on the phone, the first time I spoke the simple words with a history behind them as large as the universe, “How are you?” he said, I had some trouble but I am alright now. He had fallen in with a band of thieving juveniles and had gotten into trouble with the law. At one point he was living in a group home. It was located in a large co-operative apartment building that had been built in the late sixties as kind of a hippie experiment.

You know who else used to live in that building?


It was the location of my first apartment after graduation from university. I moved out because the hippie experiment was nice in theory but not too good for practical things like building maintenance. But I digress.

I find this happens a lot with adoptees and birth parents. Their lives seem to interconnect. Pure coincidence? I doubt it.

I believe that there are bonds between a mother and child that cannot be cut.

If you are still looking or waiting to be acknowledged, don’t give up.



* Somewhat disconcerting I know but desperate times call for desperate measures. I’d fake-walk that dog again in a minute if I had to.

It’s all relative, morality wise …

Saturday, August 16, 2008


From Wikipedia:

In philosophy, moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. Moral relativists hold that no universal standard exists by which to assess an ethical proposition’s truth; moral subjectivism is thus the opposite of moral absolutism.

Relativistic positions often see moral values as applicable only within certain cultural boundaries … or in the context of individual preferences …. An extreme relativist position might suggest that judging the moral or ethical judgments or acts of another person or group has no meaning, though most relativists propound a more limited version of the theory. In moral relativism there are no absolute rights and wrongs, only different situations.

Some moral relativists — for example, the existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre — hold that a personal and subjective moral core lies or ought to lie at the base of individuals’ moral acts. In this view public morality reflects social convention, and only personal, subjective morality expresses true authenticity.

My uncle died yesterday.

He was a nice man, the youngest of 7 children on my mother’s side. He worked hard, raised four kids. A quiet man, married to a vivacious French Canadian woman. Once he told me that when he was a little kid, the teacher in kindergarten thought he was so cute that she used to hug him all the time.

When the older members of your family pass away, you realize a door is closing that will never be re-opened. The people of your childhood are disappearing. Opportunities to learn more about who you are have been lost. That the visit you were meaning to make, well it’s too late now.

His oldest daughter, my cousin, relinquished a child, a boy, to adoption. She’s had some trouble in her life. (I wonder why?) She’s never looked for her son. She knows I found mine. She’s met him. When I’ve hit rocky patches in my reunion, she’s said maybe it’s just as well she never looked. I guess she’s frightened.

Her son would have been my uncle’s first grandchild. I wonder if they look alike, blonde hair blue eyes. Good looking. He’d be almost 40 now. He probably has a wife and some kids.

I wonder if he felt a little tug on his heart from somewhere yesterday? A little something wrong? Did he hear the click of a door closing in front of him – forever?

About ten years ago, the same cousin’s youngest brother fathered a child. He was not in a committed relationship with the woman but she had the baby and he shares custody and brings his son to many family occasions.

Sunday my husband and I are driving to attend the memorial service. That son, no doubt, will be there with his father, helping to remind him that life goes on and family matters.

People tell me that when I write fiction “moral relativism” is one of my recurring themes. I like to think they say that because I create sympathetic characters who the reader understands and even approves of when they do things society usually frowns upon. ( I wonder why?)

Forty years ago my cousin did one of the worst things a girl could possibly do. She got pregnant. Her son is lost to her and us. A terrible price to pay.

Ten years ago her brother did the same thing.

Her brother’s son is part of the family. The same people who took attitudes of moral indignation over her situation (and my own), welcome his son with open arms.

That is a perfect example of moral relativism to me.  And why on my Facebook page I describe my religious views as flexible.