Hard to believe it has been five years since I began this blog. If you go back and read my very first post, I noted that I would eventually tell the tale of how I came to find Jack, and learned about my identity as The Brewer’s Daughter. I’m sure that I’ve mentioned that he is my birthfather, and that as a reunited adoptee, I became aware of him through my birthmom, Linda, many years ago. But the truth of the matter beyond that is I wouldn’t have met Jack if it wasn’t for my husband Paul.
When Paul and I were dating back in 2001, we attended an Adoption Network Cleveland event–I was active as a board member after I had found my birthmother in the 90s. On the drive home, he asked if I was interested in finding my birthfather. I explained that Linda had become pregnant at the end of their senior year at West Nottingham Academy, a boarding school in Maryland, and her parents had whisked her away to a home for unwed mothers after their graduation–typical of the era. However, this meant that she never had the chance to tell Jack that she was pregnant–it was boarding school, and they both went back to their hometowns, and Jack went on to enlist in the Navy (which lead to his discovery of all those great European beers!). I was hesitant to spring myself on someone who didn’t even know I existed. Linda was worried about how he would react to know she had become pregnant.
I shared the West Nottingham yearbook with Paul. I showed him the photos of Jack and Linda, where there was some personal information about his hometown, etc. Fast forward to several weeks later. I’m out on a date with Paul, and he slides a piece of paper over to me and says, “I need to share this with you.” I was a little afraid of what it might be–I truly had no idea.
That piece of paper was printed from a page from a McAuliffe geneaology website board. Paul had gone ahead (without telling me) and posted an inquiry saying he was looking for a Jack McAuliffe who had attended West Nottingham and graduated in ’63–with a few other personal details. There was a response. It was from Jack’s sister Cathy, and it said, “That’s my brother–who should I say is looking for him?” WOW. Just wow.
Paul told me that if he had a child out there in the world he would want to know about it–and that was why he went ahead and looked for Jack for me–he admitted he may have overstepped, but my reaction–I was overjoyed–was what he was hoping for. He knew in my heart of hearts I wanted to know about my birthfather. (I had a wonderful adoptive father, who died when I was 24.) So Paul and I went back to his apartment immediately, and composed an email to my Aunt Cathy, explaining who I was and why I was seeking Jack. She completely got where I was coming from–it turned out she had been a birthmother herself in the 60s. Another WOW.
That is the very short version of what has become a much longer story. The McAuliffe clan welcomed me into their family, and Jack and I have bonded over the beer and more. I wouldn’t have learned about my heritage if it wasn’t for Paul–he knew me so well, even from the beginning. We were married about a year or so later, and my Aunt Cathy was there. Linda walked me down the aisle with my adoptive mom, Mary Ann. Our wedding was a real circle of life moment for me–and Jack and Linda actually talked on the phone that night–30+ years since the last time they had spoken.
Everything that has happened in my life around New Albion–all the people I’ve met, from local beer bloggers to Jim Koch; all the beer festivals we’ve attended here in Ohio all the way to GABF; all the beer traveling we’ve done; the reboot of the beer–it’s all because Paul took a risk he knew I’d want to take.
Paul is my partner in life, my love. My compass star. And the reason you’re reading this today.