I was born close to Liverpool in November 1944. Mum was a local single girl and I was her first child. Dad was a black, American GI based in the UK with the US army during WW2.
Dad drove a truck between Liverpool docks and the various US bases around the North West of England. Sometimes he delivered supplies to Burtonwood, the former RAF camp which was the largest American base in Europe at that time. Dad was based at Huyton, Liverpool, a few miles from Mums home. They met at a local dance at Christmas 1943.
I was raised by Mum and her family and despite the difficulties of her being an unmarried mother with an illegitimate, coloured child I was loved and cared for by the family. They tried to protect and shield me from the insults and remarks made about my appearance.
I was unaware of my origins at that time and didn't understand the racial comments. All my questions about why my skin was dark or my hair thick and curly were brushed away. Mum would tell me I was different because I was 'special'.
As I got older I pieced together the circumstances surrounding my birth. Mum would occasionally reveal a few details about my Dad, most importantly she gave me his name - Paris Mack.
I married and had a family and tried to forget about my unknown Dad.
Occasionally through the years I would read reports of reunions between a child left behind in the UK during WW2 and a Father in the US. With my own children now grown I started to dream again about finding my Dad.
It still seemed an impossible task even though I had a name, because I wasn't certain the name was accurate.
In 2002 I was 58 years old and learning to use a computer. My son was demonstrating how a search engine worked. We put Dads name into the search box (just as an example) and there was one result. In shock I realised that my Dads name and details were on the screen in front of me. Soon it became clear that I was looking at the US, Social Security Death Index. I'd found Dad at last but he'd died eight years previously in 1994.
I wrote to NPRC in Missouri asking for further information on the former WW2 veteran. I received a reply which listed Dads last known address in Indiana. I contacted the local library there and asked if they could locate an obituary. This was forwarded to me along with names and addresses of those attending his interment.
Within a few weeks I contacted Dads family and told them who I was. After the shock had subsided they accepted me warmly and we corresponded by phone and email. Eventually I got a photo of Dad, and was able to see family I looked like. It was a remarkable moment and one I shall remain forever grateful for.
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