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My Story by Melanie Powell

As with so many of us G.I babies I grew up always feeling different.

I was born June 1963 in Scotland, my mother became the black sheep of the family for having a baby in those days and even worse she was having a yanks baby.

I grew up only knowing my dads name of Henry Melton. Mum never told me anymore about him, we never really got around to talking about him and I never ever thought I would know anything about him.

I grew up, got on with life, had my children, but tragically my mum was killed along with my little brother in 1985 so I never got around to asking anymore questions about dad.

I found out about TRACE a few years after that and wrote to Pamela Winfield who in turn advised me to write to NPRC in Missouri. This I did in 1996. It took a few months till I got a reply from Charles Pellegrini, he had found my dads records which gave me more information on my dad and I also found out he had passed away in 1993, which was very upsetting for me but at least I had some information that I didn’t have before.

On these records he had four children listed so even though I had just found out he had passed away I also discovered I had some siblings - two brothers and two sisters.

I was overjoyed but didn’t know what to do next, so didn’t do anything for fear of upsetting his family. I knew he didn’t know anything about my birth so was worried about how his family would feel if they knew about me, so I didn’t do anything for nearly another two years, but then I just had to try and find them. The next step was to contact the dept. of motor vehicles in California,. They sent me a form to fill in with 1 of my brothers date of birth and name. I thought it would be easier to try and trace the brothers first as they had the same name as my dad, after a wait on tenter-hooks I received a letter from one of my brothers , in this letter he asked that I tell him some of the information that my mother had told me , he in turn then told his mother (my dads widow). I got the most beautiful letter from this very wonderful lady June, she asked me to write back to her asking all about my dad as I needed to know as much about him as I could, she also told me I needed to get to know my brothers & sisters , enclosed in this letter was a photo of my dad whom I’d never seen up to that point, when I looked at that photo there was a remarkable resemblance between my oldest son and my dad I cried for ages it was so wonderful this feeling of looking at this man and knowing he was my dad.

From that point we all began to built a relationship through letters and phones calls till I finally stepped onto a plane to go and meet them all. I did this in September of 1998 and since then I have been over four times. My siblings and I share a wonderful relationship which continues to this day.

I have a twist to my story though, I did exactly the same thing my mother did, I met an American G.I. from Woodbridge base. I was very shocked to find myself having a baby, he had already gone back to the states before I had the chance to inform him I was pregnant, so like myself thought my baby would grow up never knowing his dad. However, on my 2nd visit to America to see my siblings in 1999, my son Shane came with me and fell in love with America, which in turn started him thinking about his dad! So I set about trying to find his dad just like I had done for my dad.

I again wrote to the NPRC and got a reply in under six weeks, this gave me his dads date of birth, I remembered him saying something about going to Florida so I thought I would again try contacting the vehicle dept. in Florida. This time I was told for about $4.00 they would send me a copy of his drivers license which they did. This gave me his address -I couldn’t believe it, I wrote to him one of the hardest letters I have ever had to write, I had to inform this man he was the father of a 15 year old son. I was so scared for my son as I wasn’t sure how he would take the news but its been the best thing I have ever done for my son, his dad was very shocked but wonderful about it, my son and his dad again like me started to built up a relationship over a year before they met for the first time. In the summer of 2000 my son flew to Florida all by himself for a whole month. When he came home he was a different person , his dads wife Tina fell in love with Shane, she adores him very much, she wrote a beautiful letter to me saying how she thought Shane was such a thoughtful person and that how well I had bought him up on my own - again this had me in tears.

Shane, thanks to his dad, now has a whole new birth certificate giving him his dads surname and in turn this led him to becoming the very proud owner of a American passport which he got on 5th septmeber 2001, so America has another citizen in the name of Shane Thomes Fonville.

My son is leaving on the 1st November this year to go live with his dad and his step mum who he affectionately calls his Ma! (He tells me I am his mum and Tina is his Ma!)

So to anyone out there who is still looking -Never give up, finding my siblings and my son’s dad has been one of the best things I have ever done! Sometimes things don’t always end up this way but remember we all have the right to know where we come from.

All my best wishes to those still looking.

Melanie Powell.