Tuesday, January 1, 2019


Hi folks,

Just got some pictures of my "new" daughter Maria. She, her husband Joe and her daughter Nikole (my "new" granddaughter!) came down from South Bend to our home in Ft Wayne, and all my other kids were there as well--Britney, Sienna and Mike--along with their spouses and Mike's girlfriend
Victoria (who's like a daughter). It was a wonderful, wonderful day!

Here are some photos from that day.

Joe, Maria and Nikole

Me and all my kids--Britney, Sienna, (me) Mike and Maria

Mike and Victoria

Me and Mary

My grandson Logan (Sienna's son), Sienna, Britney, Mike, Maria and Nikole.

Sienna's boyfriend, Jamie (cut in half, alas!) Britney and her husband Ray.

Here's the story of how Maria came to find me:

A Thanksgiving Miracle

A woman who had been adopted 51 years ago was suffering from some physical problems and decided to submit a DNA sample to Ancestry.com in hopes of discovering who her birth parents were for the possibility of getting some of her health history for her and her daughter.

Maria’s search turned up my name and she Googled it and found out my memoir, Adrenaline Junkie, had just been released. She obtained a copy of it and read:

(From Adrenaline Junkie)

About a week later, a detective dropped by the apartment while Sherry was at work and told me I would probably walk on my charges, get probation like my lawyer’d said. He said I’d beat them. Then, he dropped a bomb on me. He said that even though I had a good chance of walking, they were going to go after Sherry and would make sure she got sentenced and did time at the Indiana Women’s Prison. He told me some things about her past that convinced me the judge probably would give her at least six months in the joint. The detective said the only way I could save her ass was to plead guilty and if I did that, they’d drop the charges completely on Sherry. He also spent a lot of time telling me what would happen to her down at the Women’s Prison in Indianapolis. Things other inmates would do to her with broomsticks, stuff like that.

This stuff got to me. Sherry was pregnant with our child and this guy kept telling me our kid would be born in prison and end up in foster homes being abused. Stuff like that.

I decided to plead guilty. The deal was, I would cop to one count of second-degree burglary and they would drop all the other burglary counts, plus all the other charges, the armed and strong-arm robberies. I might still get probation, I was told, but even if I didn’t, the most I’d get would be a two to five-year sentence or maybe a one-to-ten on the burglary thing.

That was a laugh. They weren’t even considering probation. As soon as I pled guilty, I was let back out on my original bond for two weeks while they did the presentence investigation and when I went back, I ended up getting a two to five and sent over to the jail to await paperwork and transportation to Pendleton Reformatory.

During the two-week period of the presentence investigation, Sherry and I got married and I made arrangements for my sister Jo and her husband Jim to take Sherry in during her pregnancy in case I got sent up. They lived in Lakeville and had two kids of their own, but both of them had big hearts and didn’t even hesitate when I asked them to take her in. Sherry hadn’t wanted to get married, but I didn’t want our kid being born a bastard.

Once I in Pendleton, Sherry visited a couple of times and then I didn’t see her any more. Her letters stopped as well. Normal shit for cons. Then, I got a letter from a lawyer asking my consent for a divorce. I wouldn’t sign it, and then my sister wrote me a letter saying they had had to kick Sherry out. It seems she was eight months pregnant and one day my brother-in-law Jim was painting the living room and she walked up to him on the ladder and grabbed his johnson and told him she wanted to screw him. He was a righteous dude and told her to get fucked and also to pack her shit and leave their house, which she did. Jo apologized over and over for having to kick her out, but I thought she showed remarkable forbearance, as did Jim, for what she’d done. I signed the divorce papers, but a few months later, I was served with some more papers asking if I’d  allow Sherry to put the baby (it was a girl) up for adoption. I refused to sign them, and wrote my sister to see if they would consider keeping the baby until I got out and could care for her. They immediately agreed—great sister!—but Sherry told all of us to get fucked and put the baby up for adoption anyway. It turned out they didn’t need my signature to do that, even though I was the legal father. You forfeit all such rights when you’re in prison. So our little girl was adopted and I’ve never seen or heard of her since.

When I got released a couple of years later, I went to a minister and told him my story. I wanted to know if he thought I should try to locate my daughter and get her back. He advised me to leave things the way they were. “She’s in a good home now,” he said. “Parents who love her and who she thinks of as her mom and dad. You can’t take care of her at this time, so leave her alone. She’s better off.” I saw he was right and did as he suggested. Many times since then I have wondered if I did the right thing. I also wonder if she’ll ever try to look me up. I hope her life turned out all right. I hope if she ever does look me up she’ll understand why I didn’t try to find her.
(End of excerpt)

She found my email address and mailed me this:

Hi, I recently did my Ancestry DNA and apparently we are closely related. I was adopted at birth. I have no biological family information, including medical history. I don’t know if you have or are willing to give me any information on who I am, but if you are I would appreciate it. Thank you. Signed, Maria

We emailed back and forth and soon established that she was my daughter. Then, she said something that meant the world to me:

I was so overjoyed to read in your book that you wanted me and that you tried everything to keep me. That it was in there, without your ever knowing if I would read it, means that it was how you really felt and that means more than if I had been told that my birth parents named me this or did this or that.


Since then, we’ve met in person, Maria has met her two sisters and her brother and we got to meet my granddaughter Nikole when they all came to visit yesterday.

I don’t know if I’ll ever make much from Adrenaline Junkie but I’ve already realized a miracle worth everything from its existence.

And that's our story. Kind of amazing, I think. What's also interesting is that Maria and I look alike and maybe more than any of my other kids!

Anyway, it's made this holiday season a very, very special one.

Blue skies,


Lizbeth Hartz said...

What a wonderful, miraculous, heartwarming story, Les. I'm so glad you and your daughter found each other.

Les Edgerton said...

Thanks, Lizbeth. This is sure one Christmas I won't forget!

Judith said...

I'm so happy for you! What a poignant, wonderful miracle. Also, great excerpt! Really grabbed and touched me.

Les Edgerton said...

Thank you, Judith. Hope you glom onto a copy and if you do, enjoy the read!