Tag Archives: ben gonzalez

when family is facebook

i had one day in new york city and instead of meeting with a facebook friend i saw my half sister casey (f2fb #31) and my son joseph (f2fb #61).  putting them together,  i was surprised to figure out that they hadn’t actually seen each other in fifteen years.  part of the reason is that i haven’t been good about travel and so i’ve not cultivated a “let’s hop on a plane and visit the relatives” sort of relationship to my family.

but part of it also is that my father (justin, f2fb #30) and my mother aleta put me up for adoption when i was three.  the patricks raised me and the theory at the time was that an adoptive family should do all in its power to erase a child’s memory of any previous life.  my clothes were changed on the day of the final handover.  i didn’t get to take my favorite stuffed animal.  my name was changed.   and i’m not sure how i came to understand that i would never again see my parents.

f2fb friend #88 helped me go through all the yearbooks of the university of chicago for the five years before and five years after my birth looking for young married students.  why?  i overheard mrs. patrick tell a neighbor that one of the adoption agency caseworkers told her that i was the daughter of two graduate students there.  i went to the cook county recorder of deeds and tried to get a birth certificate and was told that when you’re adopted, even as late as three years old, your certificate is revised to reflect the adoptive family details.

i found my biological family using a private detective.  the meeting between my father’s family and me seemed promising.  the one between me and my mother less so.  in both cases, though, there is a strong presumption that i am not really part of the family and yet i am.  there is some sort of provisional aspect to it.

after dinner, joseph and i walked to central park and i apologized–as i sometimes have–about my not being able to give him a robust and affectionate group of family members.  then he reminded me that the eastman family–of which he now has aunt susan, aunt julie, aunt clare, and uncle mike–has been that part of his life.  and their parents–dick and vivian–hosted us for thanksgiving, christmas and other holidays.  eastman, my younger son, is named not so much for any one member of the eastman family but for all of them.

i really hope that this facebook project brings casey and joseph closer together.  when they parted, casey suggested they hang out together sometime.  i hope they do!

then it was time to get on a plane.  the boy scouts suggested a bit of a dare.

this is the scariest video i’ve posted so far!

the scariest clip ever!  and not just because we talk about ted bundy type episodes.  this is something i’ve been sitting on for two weeks and am only just now realizing i can’t weasel out of. 

benjamin gonzalez is f2fb friend #140 and his wife marissa durbin is f2fb friend #141.  marissa has been following the progress of my new years resoution and when i suggested a get together she was hardly surprised.  i knew ben initially through his uncle laurence who is a photographer and did some (ahem!) portraits of me, one of which hangs in his house.  i happen to have forgotten to wear clothes that day.  that forgetfulness doesn’t happen very often but it does make an impression.  marissa and ben have an adorable eighteen month and ben is so in love with marissa that when he talks about her it’s a little like listening to a twelve year old talking about the aphrodite of the eighth grade class.

i went to dinner at their home.  marissa and i chatted.   ben might have been somewhat baffled that our talk kept circling back to facebook.  when marissa excused herself to put on the lipstick for a video, ben allowed as how he hadn’t expected that an old friend would haul off and play wedding party videographer.  that’s when i explained my new years resolution.

now, ben has been in the film business for quite some time. most of that time he has worked for strata entertainment (you can see their stuff at http://strataproductions.net) their focus is real life events recreated in a manner to challenge the filmgoer. 

i believe that letting ben document what i’m doing will help me finish my new years resolution.  i am grateful every single day for the help my facebook friends give me, whether it’s meeting with me, driving me to another friend’s house, playing chaperone, making me dinner, helping me get an advance on a line of credit on my house to pay travel expenses, introducing me to their family, tellling me i had a good impact on their life at some point, or sending me a gps system (which is in the mail) or a lucky charm such as william clark or the hedgehog.   i’ve twice had f2fb friends lay hands and pray over me.  i’ve been stunned by friends opening their homes and hearts to me. 

ben, on the other hand, made me feel so anxious that i bought a bottle of as good as i could afford and i sat down on the couch and drank it to the last drop.  when i woke up, i figured if i get to pursue my determined, eccentric dream–i gotta let ben work on his.  he and his crew are like a bunch of boy scouts working on that eagle badge. 

tomorrow, i get on the plane for new york.  then a train to rhode island.  then to boston.  back to new york.  home again.  and right back out to california (again!).  i sure hope the boy scouts stay on their side of the plane to new york.  i need my space to have my little freak out.