He knocked on my aunt & uncle’s door at 596 Paul Road. I was beyond nervous and that is an understatement. It had been over 13 years since I had seen him. I was less than 7 years old then.
My most vivid memory was sitting in the car with him and Tupac and Dr Dre’s song “California” was playing. It was a sunny afternoon and we stopped at someone’s house (I can’t recall who or where), but my dad and I were talking and I was happy. We got along really well and he always called me his baby girl (when we reunited I became his baby girl and his little white girl).
I left my parents’ home on Yankee Court for good. The only pain I felt was leaving my twin sisters behind. It’s a pain I dealt with for years and thankfully it was finally resolved years later. My grandmother reached out and gave me my dad’s phone number. I couldn’t believe it! I had dreamed, prayed and fantasized about the day I’d reunite with him. I began to believe it would never happen. I didn’t know any of his family members and my mother made me swear to never speak his name. Although it had been so long, it never once crossed my mind that maybe he didn’t want to see me. That perhaps he had a new family and had forgotten about me.
When I called, he was working. Of course he was caught off guard. I recall asking him if he was Girard Rowe and he said yes. Then I told him I’m his daughter. He said he didn’t have one. His tone was skeptical. I told him my name and my mother’s name. He went silent for a moment and told me to hold on. He went somewhere more quiet and told me to repeat what I just said and I did. We made plans to reunite within the next week. And now that time had come.
I opened the door and realized we looked exactly alike. I don’t remember if I cried or if I hugged him. I was in shock that he was actually in front of me. He came inside and sat down with my aunt and I. He asked how I was and how my mother was. He said he carried a picture or her and I and told us happy birthday when the time came. He never married or had children. He still loved us both. I told him I had little sisters that I loved to pieces and that I was attending Monroe Community College. I also let him know that I had left Yankee Court for good which led my grandmother to give me his phone number.
We stayed in contact of course and it was decided that I would go live with him in the city. He lived alone and had a 2 bedroom apartment. It was there that I started the next chapter in my life. A suburban girl in the “city city” complete with corner stores and boys “on the block”. Instead of getting my eyebrows done at a salon, I went to the local barber that the whole hood loved and we developed a great relationship. He reminded me of an older T-Pain and he loved his job and his wife. I learned a lot during those years. Those years truly shaped me as a woman. And without reuniting with my father and going through these circumstances, I don’t know which direction my life would have gone in.