Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Truth and Consequences

            The most amazing thing has happened.  Back in 2006 my book Sins and Needles was published.  It involved the search by an adoptee for her biological family.  It was inspired by a relatively trivial incident in which Tanya, a new friend of mine, was coming to a party and I, seeing her coming up the walk with the setting sun behind her, thought she was an old friend.  Tanya was adopted and searching for her biological mother.  When I told her of the mistake, the resemblance, it made her wonder if my old friend was not, perhaps, a blood relative (she wasn’t, but in the book she was).  I mentioned Tanya in my Acknowledgements.  Later that year, Tanya came with me to the State Fair and I took a silly picture of her and another friend and posted it on my web site.

Someone doing a search for a lost sister knew Tanya’s name.  A link popped up to my web site in connection with Sins and Needles, and she contacted me with an inquiry: Could she and Tanya be siblings?  She'd found the silly picture, too, and thought there was a family resemblance.    I thought that to be an extremely long shot, but I forwarded her email to Tanya.  Upshot:  Tanya spoke with her biological mother by phone on July 3, and is going to go see her in August.  Tanya has found her mother and two sisters. 

You never know what real-life consequences will happen when you write a story.  Tanya had given up her search, the only link to her out there was my book and that picture.  My fingers and toes are still tingling, Tanya is a mess of tears and laughter.

I’m getting quite a big mixed flock of birds coming for peanuts.  It started, you remember, with one crow calling from outside my window early one morning.  We’re up to six crows now, and three blue jays.  And two or three squirrels and numerous sparrows, who eat the crumbs.  It’s interesting to watch behaviors.  The hatchling – I call him that, though he’s full grown – still begs his mother (I assume, maybe it’s his father, and maybe the hatchling is female) to share her peanut.  She pecks at him, but he persists.  When a crow is after a peanut, he lands across the street and approaches in a wide curve, looking furtively from side to side.  He’ll grab it and either fly away or take it back across the street to peck it open.  A jay on the other hand, lands beside a peanut, scoops it up, and flies off, all in one swift move.  The other morning there was a red-winged blackbird in the mix, who didn’t seem to know what he was doing there.  The sparrows love it when a passing car mashes a nut so they can eat the remains; they can’t open a peanut unaided.  In less than half an hour, the peanuts I have thrown are all gone - I don't throw a lot; I don't want to attract mice or rats.  I watch it all from my third-floor balcony.

Last night’s fireworks display was, as usual, spectacular.   There were some new varieties and colors (pastels!), and it was very satisfying.  The part is right next door to our building, so no search for parking and fighting traffic to get there, just a brief walk carrying our folding chairs.  We had four guests for a pre-fireworks supper of hot dogs, potato salad, and watermelon, so it was really nice.


Linda O. Johnston said...

What a wonderful story about unanticipated consequences of writing! And it sounds as if your birdwatching is enjoyable, thanks to your peanuts.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like both stories might inspire future books!

Betty Hechtman said...

What an exciting story about Tanya!