Today I heard the voice my father's in his little sister..... for the very first time.
I cannot describe the degree of deep, deep connection I am feeling. My father passed away when I was 22, I am now 53. The chain of events that brought us together happened by a conversation that was not based on her.
I introduced myself when I heard a hello " My name is Erin Hovland-Moffitt I am Dempsey Hovland's daughter, did you know him?" She said there was Dempster Hovland that was spoke of that I heard stories of but we never met" I said "he was my Dad he changed his name to Dempsey in 1949." He is your brother,
I am your niece.
My father was born 21 years before her. She knew little of her father, my father knew little of their father but the emotions she shared with me were exactly the stories I had heard of him in whispers from my grandma
(his first wife who divorced him as soon as my dad was born.) My dad never spoke of him.
It was an unwritten rule, that i am certain had dark shadows of memories and pain attached to that unwritten rule.
I have had this small black and white candid photo of a cute Shirley Temple look alike toe headed, curly mopped little girl for 33 years. I would take it out with my research and wonder ,wonder, wonder if the whisper I heard as a young child was true. "I think your dad had a little sister"
Inscribed in cursive handwriting is a first and middle name only on the back of the Brownie Camera photo. I never knew who she was, or why my mom preserved it with our family photos, I saw it first when I was seven . Our house had burned we were staying with neighbors. My mom hung photos and birth certificates on a bureau mirror to dry the fire hose soaked documents. This photo had been preserved protected and was unstained .
'Who is that little girl." She smiled leaned her head to the side and said nothing, staring at the photo with compassion. I now know the reality , but I cannot fully grasp the magnitude of feelings. The energy is vibrating, yet a floating peaceful energy. The emotion is kind.
I have been gifted the part of my dad that was missing, I have no doubt he wondered and worried about her his entire life.
I have recently found relatives from my moms massive family from the south, those extensions of family that share the same blood are special. The Holder family covers Arkansas to Texas to Arizona to Colorado to Oklahoma to Illinois to Wisconsin and beyond. Facebook has brought us together. My dad only had himself growing up as a Hovland he was raised by his grandma and was not blessed with a big family like my mom.
Parent's of his peers called him the "curly haired angel faced orphan boy with grandiose dreams . He proved them all wrong his dreams were as real as his jade and diamond inserts in the back of his teeth. This little boy became a very well known successful .multiple sports team owner and sports and entertainment. promoter .
This serene 71 year old woman who expressed what a wonderful life she has lived is my closet direct bloodline :next to my 4 brothers,two sisters, my four sons, and new baby granddaughter Sophia . She is my Dad's only direct and closest living relative, He is the big brother she never, met even though they lived less than 10 miles apart in distance. Or did she?
Two weeks ago at the Chicago Bear - Green Bay Packer playoff game my 50 year old brother Todd was heavy with hand in head as he witnessed his sacred Bears lackluster performance at Soldier Filed and loss of the Super Bowl challenge.
At the same moment in Wisconsin Packers fans were gathered in front of their television a few miles from me. A 40 year old man named Dave, whom I have known since he was a teenager was telling the thrilling true story of my dad and the magic of His World famous Texas Cowgirls basketball team at the football party. He messaged me on facebook that night. His facebook message was " I was telling the Texas Cowgirl story my mom looked at me and said "Dave Dempsey was my relative I knew his little sister.." 40 years and Dave and I never knew we were related. His mom facebooked me and told me details of my dad's sister and within days mailed photos of her , group photos of dozens of people I am related to and a photo of my dad's and his little sister's father.
Then another message came to my inbox
' I called a few of my mom's nieces. and this is your dad's sisters phone number ." I spent the next two days
thinking it through concerned of the shock to her, and I had a feeling making the connection to their dad may not be a positive.
I nervously dialed from my magic jack Wisconsin to New Mexico,
That little girl we all wondered about was shocked . Our voices would blend in wow's I need to sit and feel this, and this is good .
I cannot fully describe the degree of deep ,deep meaningful connection to my dad that I am feeling, from finding her. He has been gone 31 years. I have been working on his bigger than life life story and his historical accomplishments.
His little sister and I talked for two floating hours today.
Neither of us wanted to hang up.
My dad was born in 1918 in passed away in 1979 from an aneurysm at 61. His father was never in his life. My dad was in France fighting as a soldier in the Army Air Corps on the fronts in WWII when he got the wire that his father died. His father's daughter was four, when was backing out of a bar parking lot in early afternoon and was struck. and It was expressed by her that "they were both better off that he
neglected and abandoned my dad and he was not her her life long enough to cause a lot of harm" For the first time I no longer felt sad that my dad never had a dad. I felt compassion for my grandma and my dad's sisters mom. They my dad and his sister he never met had that in common.
I cannot help but wonder if the photo of that sad little girl sitting on her stoop alone was possibly taken by my dad . She would not have known who the man was in his Army uniform standing on the sidewalk taking her photo. This is how I wish to believe the photo of that little girl that was my dads sister, (my dads little sister I just cannot say that aloud enough) became a treasured and gently cared for treasure in our families keepsakes I concluded today that the reason there was no last name on her photo was because
he had taken the photo of his little sister and that was his way of having her with him,