Pursuing Uncomfortable with Melissa Ebken

Pursuing My Birth Mother's Story with Edward Di Gangi

November 23, 2022 Melissa Ebken Season 5 Episode 5
Pursuing My Birth Mother's Story with Edward Di Gangi
Pursuing Uncomfortable with Melissa Ebken
More Info
Pursuing Uncomfortable with Melissa Ebken
Pursuing My Birth Mother's Story with Edward Di Gangi
Nov 23, 2022 Season 5 Episode 5
Melissa Ebken

Edward Di Gangi was adopted at birth in New York City. An only child, he made no effort to explore his heredity until, at age 69, a visit to a cemetery where members of his adoptive mother's family were buried stirred his interest. Over the past three years, through extensive archival research and DNA testing, Ed has peeled back the layers of his once-unknown family. Set in the 1940s, as America emerged from the Great Depression and went to war, Ed's book, The Gift Best Given, recounts the search for his family and tells the story of a young woman's courage as she overcame obstacles to achieve her dreams. Ed and his wife, Linda, live in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Their son, James, and his wife, Renee, live in nearby Durham.

Follow Ed

Support the Show.

More From Melissa and Pursuing Uncomfortable:
fiLLLed Life Newsletter
Leave a review
Pursuing Uncomfortable Book

Show Notes Transcript

Edward Di Gangi was adopted at birth in New York City. An only child, he made no effort to explore his heredity until, at age 69, a visit to a cemetery where members of his adoptive mother's family were buried stirred his interest. Over the past three years, through extensive archival research and DNA testing, Ed has peeled back the layers of his once-unknown family. Set in the 1940s, as America emerged from the Great Depression and went to war, Ed's book, The Gift Best Given, recounts the search for his family and tells the story of a young woman's courage as she overcame obstacles to achieve her dreams. Ed and his wife, Linda, live in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Their son, James, and his wife, Renee, live in nearby Durham.

Follow Ed

Support the Show.

More From Melissa and Pursuing Uncomfortable:
fiLLLed Life Newsletter
Leave a review
Pursuing Uncomfortable Book

🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get going. 🎶

🎶 Episode Intro: Hi friend. And welcome back to the podcast. I'm so grateful that you're here. Today I have a great story to share with you. Ed went out on a search for his birth mother, at the age of 69. There are a lot of twists and turns in this story and it's really compelling. I can't wait to jump in. 🎶


Melissa Ebken  0:01  
Hello, Ed and welcome to the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast, or should I call you Edward? Which do you prefer?

Ed Di Gangi  0:07  
No Ed is fine, thank you. How are you doing today? Melissa? 

Melissa Ebken  0:10  
I'm doing fantastic. Thank you for asking. Ed I can't wait to get into your story. It's so compelling. And I know a lot of people aren't adopted, some are but chances are we do know folks who have been adopted or who have a story that they've uncovered through DNA research and ancestry work. So I'm so thrilled to hear your story. Yeah. How would you like to start? Would you like to tell us about the book or?

Ed Di Gangi  0:39  
Well sure, you know, I'd say they'll tell you a little bit about the story that led to the book. You know, I went through a good part of my life knowing I was adopted, but, but never pursuing anything about it. My adoptive parents gave me a quite wonderful life. And yeah, they were the only parents I ever knew and really ever was concerned with. But somewhere around my 69th birthday, I had the itch to, to go and look. And it really came from a brief stop at a Russian Orthodox cemetery in New Jersey, where my adoptive mother's parents were buried. And we're kind of standing over the grave stone, I said, I would really like to know more about them. And I went to our local library got on ancestry.com. And, you know, wound up with a lot of information coming to me. And I sat there and I thought, well, if it's this easy to get information for them, I bet it wouldn't be that hard to find information about the woman who had placed me for adoption at the time that I was born. And that's where this journey kicked off. 

Melissa Ebken  1:54  
That's fascinating. So you were 69 when this all transpired?

Ed Di Gangi  1:59  
Yes, they called it my late adulthood. It's yeah, some people are wondering from the time that they're conscious of all of this, some kind of just felt that and never look and I, the time came, and it was right. And and off I went.

Melissa Ebken  2:18  
Yeah, it sounds like that the resources were there. And the information were there that the time was perfect to dig in.

Ed Di Gangi  2:25  
Yeah, I was very fortunate my adoption was privately arranged. So contrary to many people who have no clue or, or no easy starting point, I had a piece of paper, which was in, in fact, was the declaration of my adoption. It contained my adoptive parents name, the name of their attorney for, and for some reason, I knew that name, I recognized it. And one other name I didn't recognize, I did not recognize, but common sense told me. Yeah, that's your mother. So I went back to the library with that name, plugged it into the computer, and, and all sorts of information came back to me.

Melissa Ebken  3:12  
So walk us through this walk us through your discovery and what you found and what lessons you've taken from all of this.

Ed Di Gangi  3:21  
Well, you know, I went into this, largely expecting that I would. I was born in 1948. And that was in the midst of what was known as the baby scoop era. And in the baby scoop era, it's like, if a woman was unmarried and became pregnant, typically they were sent off somewhere. Typically to avoid shame for their family. And yeah, it was, well, yeah. Mary is gone and spent at Susan's house for an expanse of time. But yeah, they would have the baby and the baby would be taken from them. And the girl would then return home. And I the greatest part of my belief was that that's where I came from. And I expected that my birth mother had been a high school girl who unexpectedly became pregnant and, and went through that, that experience. But when I went back to the library and put her name into the computer, and I found lots of information two, two full screens, a lot of it was were census records, things like that, that anybody typically would have. But the one that I settled on and I, I said we'll click this one first, was a visa application to travel from Miami, Florida, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 10 months after my birth, Oh, wow. And they said, Okay, that's not something your typical high school girl would be doing. So I clicked on that one. And I got a picture of that application with my mother's photograph attached to it. And what it told me was that my mother had been 23 had been 23 years old at the time of my birth. So certainly no longer a high school girl. It gave me some information as to who her parents were and where she lived. And, and I pretty much had figured that out by then. But it then listed her profession and this application was, was printed in Portuguese. And it listed her occupation, you know, brought the sale, as Artista. So that, yeah, that led me to wonder what kind of Artista? And yeah, I say in the book had I had I opened these documents and found out that she was, you know, the high school girl, that would have been the end of the story, I would have satisfied my curiosity. But when I found that, yeah, it just made me that much more curious. 

Melissa Ebken  6:07  
Well, sure! 

Ed Di Gangi  6:07  
Yeah and I just kept on digging from there and found more and more and more. I think the next document that I opened up was, was a marriage license for her seven years after I was born. So I was I was the result of a summer romance, and an unexpected arrival. And I found her, found a license with her name on it, her birth name, what ultimately was a stage name, and then her husband's name. So it gave me more to search with. And I did a Google search with her first name and his last name, and I found a blog from an antiques dealer in South Carolina, who had been in an auction and bought a number of items that had gone to auction that had been created by my mother and her then husband. And it explained that the two of them had been ice skaters and the big ice skating shows and then moved on to become a or to create a company that that created props for the ice shows for theatrical events and other commercial endeavors. So with that, I you know, I went back into Google again, Google's our friend, and I typed in my mother's name was Genevieve Nurowski. That was her that was her birth name, but I took the her husband's name put in Genevieve Meza and didn't get back anything very revealing. But then I put in Genevieve Norris, which was the stage name that she had adopted. And I believe that put in Genevieve Norris performer, because that was the occupation listed on the marriage license, and came up with another antiques dealers blog. And this blog, though, had probably half a dozen photographs of my mother that were taken to for use and promotional purposes. And then a copy of her middle school diploma, and a copy of her first professional contract and explained that this this antiques dealer had, had been at the same auction, found a little box of of memorabilia and not knowing who my mother was, knowing nothing about ice skating just thought glamorous woman, you know, glamorous profession. Let me buy the box of stuff. And I'm sure was very inexpensive at that point. But, you know, it was gold to me. Sure. I I, I managed to message the, the antiques dealer. They were pickers, she and her husband and, and their specialty was buying small items that they could resell. And this auction had taken five years have taken place five years prior. So I messaged her and the approach I was taking as I did my research was I was exploring a possible family relationship. I didn't want to make it too specific. And they messaged and you know very, very quickly get a response from her. And she said yes, they still have this. We haven't sold any of it. Wow. She said but I'm really busy. Can I get back to you? And I I had no choice there so I said well, I'll wait to hear from you. And it took about a week or so. And I didn't hear anything back. So I get a little bit more impatient and a little bit more pressing and I, I messaged her again and I said you know I haven't heard from you but would you please call me The the information you have is for my birth mother and I explained my adoption. And within five minutes, she called me. And she apologized. I just totally forgot about it. But you need to come here right now. And we're in North Carolina. Yes, she was in Georgia. And that a week or so later, we went to visit with her and with her husband and, and they brought this carton of materials and a couple of other small items that were were props that my mother and her husband had had created for one of the shows. And we went through that carton, and it was just a treasure trove there. And, um, yeah, we were, you know, we, we, my wife and I, as we drove down, we're kind of debating, you know, what, is this really worth financially to us? Or what, you know, what's its value? And at one point, I was sort of making notes as we're going through these materials down there. And, and the husband said, What are you doing? And I explained, I said, you know, well these, these photographs, all have other people's names, and maybe if I could track down those names, somebody would remember my mother. And he said, You don't need to do that. He said, we said this, this box belongs to you. He said, we've been holding it for you. And they just kind of pushed it across the table at me. And yeah, and that's, that was a great, great gift. And it's very generous act on their part.

Melissa Ebken  11:32  
Absolutely. I love how this is all coming together. And I have so many questions, so many things I want to know.

Ed Di Gangi  11:40  
Yeah, the story has been a series of kind of serendipitous events and generous people. That's just one piece is kind of kind of tied to the next. And it's just it kept on revealing itself.

Melissa Ebken  11:57  
So tell us more. What happened then?

Ed Di Gangi  12:00  
Well, it's kind of interesting. Now there were a stack of photographs of other ice skaters. And each one was signed, and some of them had notes on them and, and I said, Okay, well, I can go through the stack and I'll look for these people. And remember, yeah, these were women who were probably in their 20s and 1947. Sure. I I did it with some I did ambitiously but with minimal expectations, and I went through that pile and I sensed some of the women's information. They were deceased. Some of them I couldn't find at all. I got to the last photograph, and it was up a woman Isabel Smith. And she's signed it you know, love is the to the best roommate ever. Hmm. And I'm thinking, Okay, if she was my mother's roommate, she'd know stuff. That literally, that point, I was kind of curious about who my father had been, and I had never been before. You know, when I was when I was thinking she had. Yeah, my mother had been a high school girl. I thought the father was probably a guy who worked at the gas station. And yeah, so I, I became more curious. I researched Isabel. And what I found was a, an obituary for her husband. But you know in the obituary, listed two sons, and said, survived by Isabel, his wife of 58 years, a 20 year veteran of Ice Follies. And you know, and I knew by that time, she had been a professional ice skater. So I reached out to one of the sons because I couldn't find the mother and I sent a picture of my mother. I sent the picture of his mother. And then a week later, he called me back and he was very enthusiastic. And he said, I showed those pictures to my mother. She wants to talk to you sure, yep. She would like to talk with you. And I said, that's great. So he started giving me contact information. He said, But let me just give you one caution. He said mom is in a memory care facility. And he's, and he musta heard me sort of deflate at that point. He said, But yeah, he said, the good news is yes, she can't remember what she had for breakfast but she knows everything minute for minute about 1947. Oh, wow. So I called I called Isabel and she was quite a character. I started, like, that kind of apologizes. I felt guilty. She must be that 92 At that point. They said, I know it's really not fair to ask somebody who's 92 to tell me about what happened in in 1947. And you could sort of feel her you know sense her puff up said Who told you I'm 92? I love her. I didn't say anything, she said, I'm 88. And I quickly did the math, it said she'd have been 12 years old. She said, as a matter of fact, I'm eighty-five. So we had the we had a great conversation ya know and she she told me lots of things. She basically though said I really don't know who your mother dated, I don't know who your father was. But you know, we talk probably the better part of an hour. And at the end of the conversation, there's a pause, she said, now how old did you say you are? And I said, well, I'm 69. She said, well, I'm 65 you know. So, it was it was kind of cute. And probably I talked to her in June in September, my wife and I visited with her outside of Minneapolis, at the facility, and we spent four hours with her one afternoon. And we had just a lovely time. And she kept saying this is the best time I've had in years. Oh, the one cute thing she told us or it's very interesting was that, you know, she and my mother were skating with Ice Follies was Shipstads & Johnson Ice Follies. And the Shipstads and Oscar Johnson owned the show. And she said they were very, very protective. They were very strict about you know, where the skaters went and with whom she said, the only time they kind of let down their guard guard was when I was dating Ronald Reagan. I said excuse me. And the show you know, they they would spend the summer in San Francisco rehearsing and performing and then they would kick off the season. In Los Angeles every September, it was a major media event then the show was actually broadcast on national radio. All the stars go up and, and Ronald Reagan took a liking to Isabel. So that was a ya know, was just the cute aside there.

Melissa Ebken  16:56  
Absolutely. So what did you learn about from Isabel? 

Ed Di Gangi  17:00  
Well, you kind of personality things she said, you know, your mother was, was very quiet. She was very thoughtful. She was very kind. And that's why he always tried to sit next to her in the dressing room. And she implied this because probably my mother at 23 or 22, at that point, was a bit more mature than the majority of the skaters they were. There were younger girls she said so yes, such a wonderful roommate. She said if she was pregnant, I can can't imagine she did what she did on ice with you in her belly. Because my mother was what they called an Adagio skater. And it's it's kind of a contradiction in terms in that in that music in music. Adagio usually means slow. And Adagio skaters on ice are yeah, they're big border on the edge of suicidal, you know, that's very acrobatic dancing skating. So my feeling is that, you know, my mother didn't know she was pregnant at the time. Sure. So she has left San Francisco unexpectedly pregnant, not knowing it. Went through the season openers in Los Angeles, probably still not knowing it. And on the way to Chicago probably said, something's up here. And when she reached, reached Chicago, she calls home and she made contact with her eldest sister, who was 12 years older than she was and basically said, don't say anything to anybody. I think I'm pregnant. Can you help me and her eldest sister was married to a man who was a little bit older, still older than she was. And he was, he was in the production of training films in New York City. But he had been in the Office of War Information during the Second World War and was rather connected around New York City and the deal was when the show gets to New York, Charles will take you see someone and you can find out yes, are you pregnant or not? And if you are, what are you going to do? But the deal was, we will not tell mama we will not tell daddy, you know because it was a conservative. Sure. Polish Roman Catholic family. And her parents are first generation immigrants and that would have been it's very disgraceful thing in it's time.

Melissa Ebken  19:33  
Her life would have been much different. For sure. 

Ed Di Gangi  19:37  
And for sure extremely difficult. And that's, you know, and that's the, the discomfort the decision she needed to make when she ultimately found she was pregnant. She was taken to a place called Lexington Hospital which, which within only a couple of years after I was born, there ceased to operate as a a hospital and I guess in, in hotel terms would be, you know, a boutique facility. It was a small building. And it catered to a limited number of, of clients. And most of those people were in show business or in some way they were prominent public figures. And what it did was it provided medical solutions. But they did it with a great deal of privacy and discretion. So Genevieve was brought there, it was confirmed that she was pregnant. And she was offered the options that you know, where you can go through with the preg with the pregnancy. And you can then she was faced with what do I do with baby? And what do I do with my career? And she was presented with, you know, the quote, unquote, black market option of we could terminate your pregnancy. And no, we're not recommending this. But, you know, if that's something you wanted to do, we could arrange that.

Melissa Ebken  21:03  
That would have been very dangerous for her in that day, and in that climate. 

Ed Di Gangi  21:08  
Then, at that point, it was within a medical setting, though, wasn't, wasn't a back alley option. But she chose to go through the pregnancy, but then the, the what confronted her was, I have the baby, what do I do? Do I go home to my parents in disgrace? And if I do that, how do I support a child? I'm unmarried and I'm an ice skater? Do I take my baby? Do I put him in a backpack and go on the road with him? And that didn't seem like a good option. Even though it found since that there were a small handful of families who chose to do just that. You know, and the kids grew up, you know, in those backpacks and became skaters when they were four. And, and were performing not not that late after that. And the third option that was presented to her was you know, you can place your baby for adoption, you can put them in the hands of someone. Yeah, who can care for hiim better than you can, hopefully. And then that was the option that she selected.

Melissa Ebken  22:20  
That's an amazing story. And an amazing, amazing. There's still more? 

Ed Di Gangi  22:29  
Well, you know, the, the typical, I think people look at adoption in that era, as being handled by social services, you know, you sort of handed over your baby, and they took charge, and they just kind of found who you know, the best home they could, and hopefully a good one. But my adoption was privately arranged. And Charles, her brother in law, as I said, was reasonably well connected in the New York City community. And having worked at with the office with the, with the Office of War Information, in very loose terms, he was a spy during the Second World War. He did some spy work did a lot of photography, and from the nose cones of fighter planes over battle areas. And in New York City, there was a studio facility, a big Paramount moving picture studio. And the army had taken it over for the Signal Corps. Charles had business there. My eventual adoptive parents worked for the Signal Corps. So they were also in the same facility. And whether or not they ever knew or encountered one another, as we don't know. But there was a third party in there a man by the name of Eddie Sens, and Eddie Sens was probably the most prominent motion picture hairdresser and makeup artist in New York in that era. And he spans from early 1940s through the, through the 1960s. And he seems to be a party who was who was known to both Charles the brother in law, and my adoptive parents, and at some point there had to be a conversation where he was aware my adoptive parents would like to adopt a child and another conversation with Charles with, hey, you know, anyone looking for a kid? And, and the way I've confirmed this is I I rarely or never, which is as rarely as you can get spoken to me by relatives about my adoption. And when I get deeply into this, I called my eldest cousin, who was very, very close with my adoptive parents. And I said, Ann, do you know anything about my adoption? And I kind of expected her to gasp or fall off her chair or something. You've never missed a heartbeat that well, you only know two things. One is that your mother was an ice skater. And number two is when your parents went to pick you up, you're a day old and my mother went with them. So, you know, that was good. I was happy that she confirmed my mother was an ice skater because I had found someone else with the same name, and not too much difference in age and they kept the thinking okay, you know, I want to know after I got the right person, so that was good. But a better, oh I don't know two weeks later, she called me back and she said I thought of one more thing. She said you were named after Eddie Sens. I said, why was I named after Eddie Sens, she said because he arranged your adoption. So you know, he was the middleman between Charles on one side and my adoptive parents on the other. And I think the remarkable thing that my mother did, my birth mother did, was she came up with a list of things that she wanted for me. And they they included she wanted me baptized, ya know, she came from a Catholic family, she wanted that for me. She wanted parents who didn't have any other children. So that I would be special. She wanted people with a, a steady income. my adoptive parents lived in an apartment, she wanted parents who had a home with a yard around it. And within months of my adoption, my parents were building a house. And so there are a number of those things. And, and, you know, I think, you know, her plan for my adoption was, was something she really thought about. And in the end, I think remarkably achieved it. You know, with the baptize piece my, my adoptive parents had eloped in years prior, for me to be baptized, they needed to be married in the church. And shortly after they took me home, they were married in church, and the next day I was baptized. Wow, things all fell into place. For her for me for them. And you know I. I've been thinking since you and I spoke I've been thinking about the title of your podcast. And yet it's a lot of uncomfortable, uncomfortable, uncomfortable ability. I guess when when adoption is involved, you know, there was the discomfort of her making the decisions she did. I think the discomfort on my adoptive parents side. Because what I learned later is that in New York at the time, if you were adopting, you could not do that till you were approved by social secur social services and had waited 18 months. And in the interim I became my parents foster child. And that just is a, you know, that is just a chilling term to me, you know, because it seems so, so transitory or temporary rather than here's the here's your son, you know, and then then even from my standpoint, you know, I that kind of leapt into this, you know, lightly and that is curiosity, not knowing what I'd find. But, you know, there's still this little piece that says, you know, what if I find something I don't want to know. So that was that was interesting as well. But yeah, it's worked out. Could not have worked out much better.

Melissa Ebken  28:43  
When I hear your story, I hear so much love for all the people involved in the story for you, for your mom, from your mom who spent and your birth mom to be specific, who spent time really thinking about one what she was going to do and how she was going to love you in her absence. And she gave you this life she had this list of what she wanted for you. Charles who served as a broker of sorts to arrange this. He took care to find someone worthy of your mother birth mother's request.

Ed Di Gangi  29:23  
Right when I then found excuse me, when I've found, I've found and met three maternal first cousins so far. And when I met Charles's son, yeah, he talked extensively about the the paternal interest he took in my mother. And I think you're right on board there. He you know, he made it his project and his his concern that things happen properly. You know, Genevieve made the she made the list. But yeah, he went out and he he beat the bushes and he found the right person or right people.

Melissa Ebken  30:02  
Well, and he found a facility and a place and medical professionals that seemed to care for her and love her. Absolutely. And obviously your adoptive parents, they went to a lot of trouble and a lot of inconvenience, to ensure that they and you would have a life together built on something solid, that you would have a house and a yard, you would have married parents, you would be baptized all of these things. 

Ed Di Gangi  30:33  
Yeah. It's interesting with the with the interesting with a story with the house. The my adoptive mother's parents lived out on Long Island in New York, they owned a big piece of property across the street from them. And I can honestly tell you, my father did not like going out there. Had no interest. But they locked off a piece of that property. And that's where he built the house. And he was I could also tell you that as soon as my adoption was finalized, he sold that house, we moved back to New York City. Ya know, so there was another piece that said, yeah, that was something that he did for a reason. And as soon as he can get out of town we were out of there. He also along with my uncle, my mother's brother bought a little grocery store around the corner. So that they would have a source of a steady income. And you know, my father worked as a freelance person, he worked projects. So he and he always did quite well, but you know, is his employment history sort of went in two and three month blocks, and then there will be a gap and then more. So for the purpose of the adoption and they went, and they ran this tiny little grocery store for a period of time, they also sold that right about the time the house got sold. But it was they were all vehicles to accomplish an end which was to get to bring my adoption to completion.

Melissa Ebken  32:12  
What a beautiful story. And I'm sure there are a lot more details that you have in the book. Can you tell us the name of the book?

Ed Di Gangi  32:18  
Oh there is. Yeah the book is called The Gift Best Given, I always have trouble getting it into focus here.

Melissa Ebken  32:27  
Yeah, for folks who are listening on the podcast, if you jump over to YouTube, you can see a look at the cover and a beautiful photograph on the front. That's in the title again, is the Gift Best Given?

Ed Di Gangi  32:39  
That's correct. And if I could take one step back on that photograph on the cover, I ultimately made contact with my maternal half brother. And I sent him a letter and I just found a copy of the letter the other day, and I read through it and and I understood why he didn't respond to it initially. But when we finally made contact, you know, I told him who I was. And there's some conversation, he said, will tell me again, what kind of kin are we and I said, you know, you and I have the same mother, we have different fathers. And there was a pause, and he just continued the conversation. And we probably had three or four episodes like that at different times. And he would ask what kind of kin we are. Now, so we finally went down to meet him in Georgia, where, where his parents had moved and. And he had grown up and, and one of the beautiful things my birth mother had done is she kept very elaborate scrapbooks. During her career showing where she had been who she was with, and she labeled every picture. Wow. And they were in chronological order. So he brought out this photograph album and started around 1944. So and we're flipping through and and these were the old Kodak Brownie snapshots that she had meticulously labeled, and they were in there and we we went from 1944 to 45 to 46. And I knew by that time I had been conceived in San Francisco in August 1947. You know, I had just done the math and figured out where she was. And he was yeah, he was insistent that that my mother and her his father had been somewhere else so as she was on on this 1946 page before he turned the page, not knowing what was there. You know, I said Ted one more time. So we have same mother, we have different fathers, your mother, our mother was in San Francisco in August of 1947. And he flipped the page. And this is the only color photograph that was in that album and it was labeled San Francisco, California, August 1947. And he sorta looked at it took a deep breath and closed up the album, put the album away and sorta said sir, would you like a beer? We had a beer. We left the conversation as the next day I gave him a copy of my adoption decree with his mother's signature on it. And she had a very distinctive signature. And I knew it, I didn't have a doubt. He looked at it, he knew it. But he was not saying anything. He handed it back and I said you can keep it I said, it's you know, it's just a photocopy and it really has no value. And he did keep it and later that week, you know, he he said well, I showed it to so and so that's somebody trusted and so what did he say? Said, well, he asked me if that's mama's signature. And it was a pause. Well, what did you say? He said, Yeah, that's momma's signature. What did he say? He said, Well, Dad, if that's your mom's signature, it looks like you've got yourself a brother. And since then, yeah, open up another beer. Now. He's been just gold since Yeah. But it and the rest of it in retrospect, I that's kind of a big revelation.

Melissa Ebken  36:28  

Ed Di Gangi  36:29  
I had, you know, I thought through the process, I unfortunately didn't find my mother still alive. But I thought if I did how do I gently present myself, you know, because this is you know, maybe the biggest secret she's ever kept. And unfortunately, she wasn't I kind of stormed into his life. I did it with with explanation, but I just, I just kind of appeared. So I, you know, I understand now and, you know, he kept on saying mama would have told me I said that don't think so. Yeah. But yeah and his attitude now is well, I guess every woman has a secret. I think every person has his best I told him this. I think it's every person's got some secret. But it's been quite the adventure. And there's there's still more out there. I New York City recently, in the past two years, started making certified birth certificates available. And that would list your parents more important information. And when they got mine, you know, number one, my mother's name was wrong. And number two, her address was wrong. And number three is her occupation was wrong. And I assume that was done to protect her identity. Again, being the kind of facility was but the the curious item there as I look, the doctor who signed the birth certificate. And remember, this is 1948 was our next door neighbor in New York City in 1953. Wow, He had no idea whatsoever is I know, its not a coincidence. All right, and I've just not been able to track down what that connection was. So again, yeah, that's this doctor and either my adoptive parents, or Charles or any sense in the middle, had some connection. And not, I'm still trying. I found that doctor's daughter I'm still sitting waiting for the phone to ring. I sent her a Facebook message, which went ignored, just the few days ago sent her another lengthy explanation. And I don't want anything I just want to know, yeah. Do you have any idea where your father was in the 1940s? Just so I can try to find that connection? So there's just continuing adventure here.

Melissa Ebken  39:02  
What a compelling story. And as we close here, what would you tell someone who is in that position of knowing their adopted and curious and frightened all at the same time? What would you share with them? 

Ed Di Gangi  39:18  
You know, what I have a regret and it's this lesson that I would pass on is, is I didn't ask enough questions of the people who had the answers. And especially, you know, I'm going to be 74 right now. So most of the people or all of the people who've had those answers are not here anymore. So I think if you've had the opportunity, yeah, any kind of secret that you're trying to research, go ahead and ask and what I learned from the, from the people who did help me is people are generally helpful, and they're generally very anxious to share stories. If they know anything, they want to share it. So you know, don't be afraid to ask questions and I, yeah  take it from me. I didn't ask them and I regret that now.

Melissa Ebken  40:06  
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. This has been fantastic. And folks, the book is going to be amazing. There's going to be a lot more to the story in the book and the link to that is in the show notes. So make sure you check the show notes. If you're listening to the podcast, or if you're on YouTube, just scroll down and click the link there and check out this book. Thank you, Ed.

Ed Di Gangi  40:30  
Melissa, I enjoyed talking with you. Thanks. Thank you so much.


🎶 Episode Outro: Thank you so much for tuning into today's episode. If this encouraged you, please consider subscribing to our show and leaving a rating and review so we can encourage even more people just like yourself. We drop a new episode every Wednesday so I hope you continue to drop in and be encouraged to lean into and overcome all the uncomfortable stuff life brings your way. 🎶