Monday, September 21, 2020

The Bookend by Richard


Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation

From the Center for Action and Contemplation

Image credit: SpƤrlich Belaubt (detail), Paul Klee, 1934.

Week Thirty-eight


Interspiritual Mysticism


An Unspeakable Name
Monday,  September 21, 2020


Remember what God said to Moses: “I AM Who I AM” (Exodus 3:14). God is clearly not tied to a name, nor does God seem to want us to tie Divinity to any one name. Which is why, in Judaism, God’s statement to Moses became God’s unspeakable and unnamable identity. Some would say that the name of God literally cannot be “spoken,” only breathed. [1] Now that was very wise, and sometimes I wish we had kept it up. This tradition alone should tell us to practice profound humility in regard to God, who gives us not a name, but only pure presence—no handle that could allow us to think we “know” who God is or have the divine as our private possession.

The Christ is always far too much for us, larger than any one era, culture, empire, or religion. Its radical inclusivity is a threat to any power structure and any form of arrogant thinking. Jesus by himself has usually been limited by the evolution of human consciousness in these first two thousand years, and held captive by culture, nationalism, and Western Christianity’s own cultural captivity to a white, bourgeois, and Eurocentric worldview. We have often missed the ways Jesus reveals himself, because “there stood among us one we did not recognize” (John 1:26). He came in mid-tone skin, from the underclass, a male body with a female soul, from an often-hated religion, and living on the very cusp between East and West. No one owns him, and no one ever will.

Jesus clearly says naming God correctly is not the priority, “Do not believe those who say ‘Lord, Lord’” (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46. Italics added). It is those who “do it right” that matter, he says, not those who “say it right.” Yet verbal orthodoxy has been Christianity’s preoccupation, at times even allowing us to burn people at the stake for not “saying it right.” We ended up spreading national cultures under the rubric of Jesus, instead of a universally liberating message under the name of Christ. What I call an incarnational worldview is the profound recognition of the presence of the divine in literally “every thing” and “every one.”

I would go so far as to say that the proof that you are a mature Christian is that you can see Christ everywhere else. Authentic God experience always exp

ands your seeing and never constricts it. What else would be worthy of God? In God you do not include less and less; you always see and love more and more. And it is from this place that we lose any fear we have about entering into discussion, prayer, and friendship with people of other faith traditions.


Gateway to Action & Contemplation:



Pulling the Past Together and Wondering about the Future?

    After making many ovatures to likely matches I seem to be honing in on a family who's roots were from the East Coast(Rhode Island) extending down through the Southeast into Oklahoma  into Texas.  The family name is Mount, Originally from Kent, England.  There actually was a geneology book written by one of the family members. 
    One of my cousins recalled an Aunt speaking of one of her nephews who had joined the Navy out of high school(in Dallas).  The family dynamics had apparently been a bit tumultuous involving three marriages (by my Grandfather Victor Timothy) and some degree of estrangement from the rest of the family.  However I now had a name to work with and checked out Ancestry's military records for Victor Leon Mount.
    This search led to a conundrum of questions.  At first glance it gave Victor's record and enlistment path.  However the thread disappeared in 1946...and there was no record of his demise in the War.  Alexandria suggested that we try a DD214 directly from the military archives.  This did take a while but finally it did come in.....with one little problem.  The record was attached to an other name!  Michael Lee Walker.  Same Selective Service #, same birthday, same date and place of enlistment, and same duty roster as Ancestry had for Victor??  I contacted the archive and asked what ???  Their advise was to research a new DD214 with Michaels name.  Here we go down another rabbit holešŸ˜• ....This time the rest of his record was generated all of the way to his retirement to Florida......I said earlier that there was some strange dynamics in Leon's high school years.  Difficult enough to prompt him to change his birth name to that of his mom's new husband, Walker?!  I did find some city directory information which clarify things a bit.  I can't find a divorce record(yet) between Victor T and Virginia A nor a Marriage record(yet) between her and Evner A Walker.  However it seems according to the directories that Virginia was with Victor in Oklahoma City in 1930 and Evner in Dallas in 1931.  The really significant tidbit here is that Victor L would have been 10 or 11 years old when this came down isn't a huge stretch to see why he opted to change his name when he became an adult.    

    My Biodad, Michael, aka Leon, died in Florida in 1985 having finally married and having left no offspring, that he knew of, but three stepchildren by his wife, June.  Of course he didn't know of my existence and from his service record he was in the Pacific theater including, but not limited to Australia and Hawaii.  So who knows who may turn up in the future!  Not too long ago I finally connected with one of his stepsons in Florida, Duane Fish...He knew nothing of me, how would he, but did say that his stepdad did tell them that he had changed his name from Mount to Walker ....  

    Why have I felt the need to write this all down?  My seventy plus years have seen many changes and joys and a few disappointments.  But if I am learning anything it is that God doesn't make no junk!  And we should look for the fingerprint of the Divine in All things and especially in each other.

    Helene gave me up for adoption probably feeling that would be best for her new marriage.  I understand and honor that decision.  I must say emphatically that I have enjoyed my adopted life and have been abundantly blessed on this path.  I hope you can understand, also, my thankfulness that abortion was not readily available in 1944.  I would have liked to know her, however.  I am quite certain there are abundant joys and value to be experienced in both biologic and adoptive families.  I have experienced that and it sometimes bothers me a bit when unaware people denigrate either familial format.  We are all connected and both forms of family(among others) can be a fruitful experience.

    My greatest joys in my life are my children.  I do regret not having located Michael Lee before his passing.  But in the greater scheme of life I am hopeful he found great joy in his stepchildren with June.  And I think of him fondly whenever I come downwind of an 18 wheeler or a Greyhound bus :0)

    To Be Continued ??  
        I will be posting several documents and papers on here.  A lot of this is also on under my public tree.  Any one who would like their headshot on that tree please send one to me. 
        On the post just before this string I mentioned a book that means a lot to me and then yesterday Richard's daily meditation was again very meaningful to me.  So the next post will be that morsel to share.  But first: 

A paternal linage going back to Kent England cir. 1560

From another Mount Geneology

Part of Ancestry Paternal side

Guess Who?

Early attempt to climb the Mountain

Treading Water with the Navy

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Some More on Mom And Then the Doldrums

     Over the next few years we visited as a family many times.  Both South to Avo Amelia and  North to the Seldens in Seattle.  Alexandria was born shortly after meeting Avo Amelia and my brother Rich had a daughter, Crystle, about the same time.  The girls grew up apart but visited a lot during those years, and are still very close.  I got to know many cousins and aunts/uncles but none of them had further knowledge of Helene's little indescretion , that would be me.  I even met  Bud Tucker, an old boyfriend of Helene's.  They both worked at the "Porthole", just off Georgia St in Vallejo.  With little dates on pictures and such it seemed they were an item prior to 1944 and he had no new information to share.  Everyone I met were on the (De)Souza side of my maternal history.  My maternal Bio grandfather, Manual Vincente, was from Lisbon Portugal.  He and Avo met and married in Oakland.  According to Amelia he did have cousins in the old country.  She divorced him in the 30's and had several self induced abortions.  She felt he was abusive and a philanderer.  She had her opinions and for whatever reasons it seems to me that she was a very independent driven woman for a Roman Catholic wife in that era.
    This story, so far, starting almost forty years ago, has been a journey following one picture, one newspaper article or document, one shred at a time leading to what I felt was my maternal biohistory.  
No where was there a "proof" of my linage and very little information on my mysterious "Bio dad".  At one point I was able to speak to an archivist at Providence where I was adopted.  She said there was very little information about my father.  The notes given by Helene indicated that my father was a red headed Irish submarine sailor.  He was a diesel motor mechanic.  Another irony is that I have always loved the smell of diesel fumes, not gas, just diesel...As sketchy as this seems it had a great influence about forty years later,  So I was essentially dead in the water in my search unless something new popped up.  And then along came DNA and Ancestery .com.  Several years ago Alexandria suggested I sign up and see where it led.  I did and did it ever go somewhere! 
    The first results showed up a definite Portuguese(Iberian Peninsula) component.  And besides Alexandria being my daughter(and since then my son Michael as well) It confirmed three of my nieces from the Selden clan in Washington.  And as I was soon to discover several other distant cousins and such from the DeSouza tree.  So this, of course, gave that proof element I had been searching for all those years.  And then as if more proof was needed another niece showed up, Nina, who was the daughter, by another mother, of my half brother Richard.  This match actually showed up on the 23 and Me DNA site.  So besides confirming my maternal link there is now another tool available in my Biodad search.  With one assumption, that my Biodad was not Portuguese, then any match showing up on Ancestry who had no Iberian Peninsula would probably be related to my Biodad.  This, of course, was just an assumption but guessing that he was supposed to be a red headed Irishman made that assumption more likely accurate.  To Be Continued:

These are the Ancestry Trees reflecting the Maternal links

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Seattle Connection

     Following that Friday night I called a couple of my brothers or their wives and introduced myself.  I then called Howard Selden, Helene's husband and told him my story.  I had found out more information once I met Grandma such such as Helene and Howard's Marriage certificate from Washington which gave his address as the "USS Portland"
    He listened very politely and then hit me up the side the head(on the phone) with one sentence.  "That is a very interesting story but I married Helene in 1944 (June as I recall) and she was not pregnant nor have a child in 1944"....That kind of threw me for a loop,  and all I could do was appologize for bothering him and penitently hang up.
    Something really didn't make sense....So I wandered up Bridge street to the SOSC library where I wandered into the History section and (#2 irony) found a book on Naval ship movements during WWII.  I had his ship name, USS Portland, and it was listed as having come into Mare Island NSY the end of January 1944....And having left for the Philippine Islands in August.  The USS Portland didn't return Stateside until 1945.
    Armed with a few other facts such as on their marriage license in Renton, Washington his address was the Portland AND her address was the same as the one on my illgotten birth certificate.  I could only come up with one conclusion...When Howard came into port my mom was already pregnant with me.  AND she hid that fact from him until he shipped out.  She was living in Vallejo and visiting Providence Hospital in Oakland who handled the adoption two months later.  She was a small woman and probably didn't "show" prominently until later in term. My wife Diana similarly showed with our first child, Veronica.  
    My next step was to try to meet Howard in person at his home in Federal Way, Washington.  I walked up to his door and requested to talk.  Again he was very polite and listened to my story along with what data I had on hand.  He never accepted me as Helene's son but he did acknowledge one thing at the end of that visit.  He said "It could have happened the way you relate it because when I left Mare Island  she was working at one restaurant and when I returned (some eight months later) she had changed jobs to another restaurant"  Hardly a proof statement, for sure, but back then you didn't get maternity leave.  You just quit when the time was due.
    Over the ensuing years Michael, Jerry, and Richard came to accept me as the real deal, but Howard never did.
    About six months or so after first meeting Avo Amelia we had a visit in Ashland from her helpers, Carl and Virginia Mickleson.  Avo had sent them to meet me as they were on a road trip North from Antioch.  In our conversation Ginny was telling me a story from several months before I first met Avo Amelia.  Ginny walked in on Avo one day while she was praying the Rosary.  Ginny asked her for what she was praying?  Carl and Ginny were Christians but not so familiar with the Catholic Rosary.  Avo Amelia told her that " she was praying to someday meet the grandchild she never knew"!!  WOW!  So I knew another trip South was in store soon.  
    In my previous conversations with her this story had never come up And I did have some concerns about the story so far.  Meaning that here was my 87ish old grandmother who made No qualms about her intense dislike for Howard as she blamed him for her only daughters untimely passing.  Helene died at home from alcoholic complications in 1970.  She was a tiny lady who married into a party focused Navy officer's life.  This could have led her to accept me as an alternative family path.  As wierd as that sounds, this latest story comes from a third party related before I first showed up at her door that  Friday night.
    On my next chance to go South I assked Avo Amelia to tell me the whole story.  She related that at somepoint, in the Spring of 1944, Helene visited her home.  Amelia could tell she was pregnant but she never asked and Helene never voluntered anything !??   Several months later Helene again visited, this time not pregnant.  Amelia never asked and Helene never elucidated, Again!?? Very strange to me but that just seemed to be the privacy thing between them... 
    To Be Continued:

    This is the first family tree I put together some thirty years ago.  At the time only including my Portuguise connection


Friday, September 18, 2020

Page Two

 Page Two

    One day in 1976ish Bill called me and let me know that he had found and looked into his sealed birth certificate at the Alameda County courthouse.  He also saw mine but he didn't unseal it at the time.  I subsequently headed to the Bay Area as soon as practical.  We never got into trouble for this violation but since then they have moved all archived records to Sacramento.

    On that foray into my hidden history I did confirm my Bio mom's name and address at my birth in 1944.  There was No information on my Bio father.  

    Armed with her full name, Helene Ann Vincent(e), I embarked on a search of marriage records(none located in California) and birth records which did yield her parents names and location.  Of course they had long left the ranch they lived on, in Benicia, before the bridge was built.  Years later, when I did find my Bio grandma(Amelia Costa) she told me about watching them build the Carquinez Bridge(1922-27).  Of course, on Helene Ann Vincent(e) birth certificate the name Amelia Costa was not listed and her maiden name was DeSouza.

So for the time being I just looked in phone books of the Bay Area under the name Vincent or Vincente.  One afternoon in 1984 I spoke with a cousin of  Helene's.  He remembered playing with her as a child and he thought she had married, moved away, and since had passed away...But he thought her mom, Amelia, was living somewhere in the East Bay.  Soo...I started seeking out DeSouza's in the county.  I found no listing for Amelia Souza or DeSouza or Vincente.  I finally did connect with her sister in law in West Pittsburg(California), married to her brother John.  She took my story and said she would call Amelia(unlisted phone) and get back to me.  Within the hour she called me back and said Amelia would like to meet me.  I headed over to the Antioch address she gave me with no small degree of trepidation!

Here I go to meet a lady in her 80's, claiming to be her illegitimate grandchild from forty years ago.  I feared I would give her a heart attack.

My fears were relieved when she opened the door.  It felt like we were connected at once,  It just felt like we were family.  We spoke for over two hours during which time she told me of my Bio mom(who had passed away in 1970), And my three half brothers in Seattle, And her widow, Howard, who Amelia had No love for!  I left and drove North to Ashland on Cloud 9 or 10.

To Be Continued:

The Bob Story


The Bob Story

I am trying to put down my story as it seems the older I get, the more I forget ...And the more I am finding out.  This genetic time line has taken many twists along the path but in spite of dead ends and lost links it has been very colorful and fruitful over the past forty plus years.  Soo here goes.  Most of this connection is recorded in other formats but primarily now on utilizing the family tree function.  A seeker of DNA components to their past could use other companies.  However it is a fact that these guys have the biggest database to work with and when searching the world for answers that size does matter.  It can also lead you astray as there are many rabbit holes out there.  I should probably title this “The Bob’s DNA Story” is very important that anyone seeking information as I have to realize that there is so much more in your makeup than DNA.  DNA is very important but culture and nuclear family are at least as important.  That is why I wince when people use terms like “my Real parents”.  Jack and Virginia were my real parents as were my bioparents, and Bill is my very real brother.

The conundrum to be known as Robert Michael Vlach was born on October 7th 1944 at Providence hospital in Oakland, California.  At birth I was adopted by John Tormey and Virginia Mary Vlach.  My first home was on a ranch near Port Chicago in Contra Costa county owned by Jack’s parents John Douglas and Loretta Vlach.

In August 1946 my parents adopted another boy from the same hospital, William Patrick.

We lived on the ranch until my dad passed away in our mid teens, from heart valve failure.  A result of Rheumatic Fever in his early years.  Probably one of the first of many ironic twists in my life’s journey was that a couple of years later they invented the artificial heart as well as the use of replacement heart valves from pigs. 

Following the passing of my adopted father, Bill, mom and I moved to Sacramento to be closer to her brothers.  We both finished high school in Sacramento and then I went on to Sacramento State College to graduation.  Bill went to San Francisco following high school, going first to San Francisco State and then on to a very successful career in the mental health field.  Our mom never kept our adoption status a secret but she had very little information in her records and neither Bill or I really pursued our histories in earnest until many years later,

To Be Continued:

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

At the End of a Pause

This blogsite has been handy for me for many years.  The most useful function has been mostly as an online journal, helping me to reflect on many subjects from the loss of Sherita to the continuing journey of myself in the realms of philosophy, spirituality, politics.  Alot of the most recent posts have been related to the practice of labyrinth facilitation and construction.  At any rate there have not been many posts on here since moving to Kauai. Maybe that is because I have felt that my point of understanding and comfort has been approached....That may be somewhat true but I still am desirious of finding that symbiotic companion to suppliment my life over here.  And I suppose after the last Presidential election I have kind of gone into hiding in the hopes we, as a nation, get our collective head out of our collective Okole!  

Having just returned from Palmdale, California visiting Michael and Garret I am now on quarentine in my home in Kalaheo for two weeks because of the concerns over Covid 19 virus.  This seems the ideal time to reconnect to this blog...The primary need to do this now is to codify the most recent developments in my adoptive journey.  Much of which has actually come to light in the past few years.  And this transitionary post has as its pictorial heading a book I am reading and which our centering prayer group are sharing weekly.  "The Universal Christ" is one of the latest books by Fr Richard Rohr.  I call it his Magnum Opus or his greatest work.  If you have ever read a book and find it difficult to highlight significant passages then that describes this one.  All of this is significant and Kind and Loving and Transformative.  It truly encapsulates the essence of most of his work, and that of others as well, from the past fifty years.  Not to even try to compare my feeble work on this site to his but my point is that for me I have pretty much put that which is me out here on this blog.  From here out I am kind of fleshing out little things like my DNA and adoptive history.  Pax et Bonum! RV