BIRTH FATHER'S STORY
I did not begin a search for my birth Father until I had found my birth Mother. I purposely chose not to do so until then. Though I had his name, I felt I had enough on my plate just searching for my birth Mother.
During the initial meeting with my Mother, I had asked her about my Father. Other than telling me that he was the next door neighbor and agreeing the name I had was correct, she provided no information. I would have to attempt to find him by myself.
It was back to the NYC Library once again to scour the phone books for Detroit from 1950 through 1986. There was not a single Robert Irwin Marx listed, nor was it listed in any other variation.
During my earlier search, I had learned many things about searching for someone. Thus, with the above result, I did not feel like I was at a dead end. I tried various other resources but each produced the same negative result.
I was down to my last avenue and I thought it would be a just shot in the dark. I had earlier checked the Polk City Directory for 1950. I had found my grandfather's listing, but did not see a Marx listing. The listing given for my grandfather's neighbor was a Clarence/Ruth Weikert. However, if I was to believe my Mother, my Father was her next door neighbor.
I decided to write to the Wayne County Board of Elections, my last resource, to see if my Father had registered to vote. I gave the neighbor's address as his.
Three weeks later, an envelope came from the Wayne County Elections Board. Bingo...I had hit pay dirt. There was my Father's name, date of birth and address, as I had submitted it, and his Mother's maiden name: Ruth Good. Ruth had obviously married Clarence Weikert. The question arose as to why was my father's father named Marx? I didn't waste too much time on that question at the moment, as I figured if I found my father I would get an answer then.
Robert Irwin Marx, my birth Father
1940's Merchant Marines, announcing the next song the band would play for the troops
I remembered the company listing for Clarence Weikert in the Polk Directory. I checked with the Detroit phone book for 1990, (four years had passed since this search began) to see if the company was still listed. It was!
A simple deduction by me concluded that Clarence had long since retired from the company, but maybe they could provide me with a little information.
I took time to make up a story for my calling and placed the call. Yes, Clarence had retired and according to their records was deceased. They could give me the phone number of his daughter that was listed on their records as the person to contact in the event of an emergency. I gladly took the phone number.
I took a few days to sort through my thoughts and approach before making the call. I remembered the awkwardness of my call to my birth Mother's sister four years earlier.
Finally the call was made. I babbled some story about doing genealogical research; a partial truth. After asking Judy several general questions about family, I asked her about her brother Robert. Why was his last name Weikert and not Marx?
She indicated that her mother remarried after Robert's father ran off when he was a child. After confirming that information, I determined it was time to tell Judy the truth.
I simply said, "I was looking for Robert in particular."
Her reply, "OH MY GOD! ARE YOU WHO I THINK YOU ARE?"
"If you think I am Robert's son, the answer is yes," I said.
She repeated, "OH MY GOD!"
After we got a few more OH MY GOD'S out of the way, we began an hour conversation.
She asked my name? I asked how she knew about me and did my father know? She said it was family conversation many years ago and that yes, my father did know about me. Judy was close to my mother's age when I was born, she remembered my mother going away in late 1949. Her mother told her it was because she was pregnant and that her brother was the father.
The Weikert's and my Grandparents being neighbors, were close and shared family information. My paternal step-grandmother also shared with them when I was born, my name and that I was being placed for adoption.
I continued general conversation, asking questions about my father and then came the key question. "Would my father acknowledge my existence and would he talk with me?"
She felt that he would not deny I was his son, but could not answer if he would talk with me or not. She and my father had not communicated with each other for a couple years, due to a family quarrel. She felt the best thing for me was to call my father directly and proceeded to give me his phone number since, it was unlisted. She also gave me his address in case I decided to write him instead.
My Birth Father, 1950, the year I was born
I made the decision that I would not wait for the mail, but would call him. After working up the courage for a few hours, I placed the call. It seemed the phone rang forever. Finally a woman's voice answered. I asked if I could speak to Robert and was told to hang on. The heart raced and hands trembled as I waited.
Suddenly, "Hello." It was my Father. I responded with, "hello, is this Robert?" "Yes," came the reply. I made an instinctive decision to not beat around the bush. "Robert, if you're not sitting down I suggest you do so for what I am about to tell you," I said. "I'm okay, go ahead," he said. "Robert, THIS IS YOUR SON LARRY CALLING," I blurted out.
The silence was deafening. "Robert, did you hear me?" I said after waiting a few moments. "Yes, how did you find me?" was his reply. Without saying it directly, he was acknowledging I was his son!
I needed to hear directly from him that I was his son! "You know you have a son named Larry," I asked. "Yes, I do. Did my sister Judy help you find me?" he answered. He seemed more concerned about how I found him, rather than the fact that I did find him and it was his son talking with him for the first time in forty years.
My Birth Father with his first wife Pauline, 1952
I told him of the search for Roberta, my birth Mother, which had concluded fours years earlier. He asked a few general questions about her. I then told him of the past four years of searching for him and how it had all fallen into place just a few days earlier.
He seemed shocked by what I was able to do. He asked a few questions about me. It did not turn out to be the type of first conversation I had with my birth Mother. It seemed somewhat distant and cold. I chalked it up to the suddenness of this being presented to him. I felt we might just need some time.
We agreed to communicate further through letters and maybe one day plan on meeting. With that, a thirty minute or so conversation was over. I did not have the elated feeling I did when I hung up from my birth Mother for that first time. I felt somewhat numb and out in the cold.
We did keep our commitment to write each other. He wrote his first letter to me a few days after our conversation. Though more feelings were expressed in it, it still seemed to be rather general in nature. I do still have his first letter, though it is beginning to fade with age.
My father was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1927. He never knew his birth Father, as he ran out when he was but a baby. His Mother was Ruth (Goode) Marx. She had remarried and thus, the Weikert name came into the family.
My Father was not the best of communicators. Due to W.W.II, he joined the Merchant Marines and was shipped overseas in the midst of his junior year of high school. After the war he came home and lived with his parents, my Mother's next door neighbors.
My Father told a somewhat different story than my Mother of what happened between them. I imagine it is somewhere in-between. I repeat each of their stories on this web site and let them stand as told.
He and my Mother dated during the winter of 1948/1949. He remembers during the spring, around May, her coming to him and telling him she was pregnant. He said he offered to marry her, to make things right, and she refused. He remembers her Father sending her away during the summer of 1949.
By the time she gave birth to me, placed me for adoption and came home, he had moved. He never saw her again nor did he ever see me. His mother told him of my birth, my name and that my mother left me at the hospital to be placed for adoption. He was honest with me in saying that once he learned of this, he put her and me out of his mind and went on with his life.
In 1952, he married his first wife Pauline. It was a bitter marriage which ended in 1955. It was a marriage however, that produced a half sister for me; SUSAN.
My half sister Susan about 1956, with neighbor twins
He remarried in 1957, to Angie. Angie was roughly ten years older than him and brought her four children into the marriage. My Father and Angie never had children together.
My half-sister Susan spent her growing up years after the divorce with her mother Pauline. She rarely saw our Father. However, when she was married, she did ask him to walk her down the aisle.
Susan and I exchanged one letter. She wrote first and I answered. I never got a reply to that letter and I have not heard from her in the years that have followed.
My Father worked for the Michigan Central Railroad his entire working career. He was forced to retire in 1978 due to a severe heart attack. In 1987, he underwent triple bypass surgery.
My Father and I met one time. In the spring of 1992, I was on a business trip to Detroit and called him. I asked if we could finally meet. He was hesitant, but finally agreed and gave me directions to his home in Taylor, Michigan.
He greeted me at the gate and we went around to the back patio. He introduced me to Angie, who then went into the house. I can't honestly say I have any feeling about the meeting. He appeared cold and distant as he had since I found him. The fact that I was there in person, didn't seem to cause any change in him. I stayed only an hour, as I did not feel comfortable. During the time there, I was not invited into his home nor offered any beverage or anything.
At least I could say I met the man, who because of sperm, was my father. He did not fill the role of father or even friend in the way most would understand the terms.
After my meeting with him, our letters became less frequent. Part of it I know, was due to the cataracts he had in both eyes, making reading and writing difficult, I also believe it was partially due to his wanting to keep a distance between us.
My Father had cataract surgery performed in April of 1994. On July 24, 1994, he suffered a heart attack and died. Though I sent condolences to his sister Judy, I did not feel the need to attend his funeral. Aunt Judy and I have maintained erratic communication in the years that have followed. She is the only one on my father's side of the family to do so. I have never met her or any other member of my Father's family. Angie, his wife, died just three months after my Father in October, 1994.
I learned through Aunt Judy, after my Father's death, that my Mother was NOT the first woman he got pregnant and abandoned. He also got a GERMAN GIRL pregnant in
1944. She had a SON and my Father abandoned her after she gave birth. I discovered she committed suicide in 1946. Her son, another brother, is not to be
Judy also gives my Mother's story about my birth more credence than my Father's, but this might be due to the problems between them during the last six years of his life.
The pictures on this page come from Judy, not my father. Before closing this chapter, I share other pictures she has shared with me. Since I saw my Father only once for an hour, I never had the opportunity to have a picture taken with him as I did with my Mother.
My paternal great grandmother Grace Clara Goodill Good, she passed away at age 94 in June, 1977
Grandmother Ruth Good, Marx, Weikert
Born: February 7, 1907 Died: February 17, 1988
This picture was taken on her 81st birthday, celebrated just ten days before her death. She and I share the same birthday.
Grandpa John and Grandma Ruth Weikert, 1963
The Weikert Women, 1963: Aunt Grace, Aunt Judy, Grandma Ruth and Great Grandma Grace
My Birth Father, 1982
Birth Father with wife Angie, 1989
Aunt Judy, Uncle Ron and cousins
Judy and Ron celebrate 30th wedding anniversary, 1990
Cousin Tracy, 1988, age 26