A woman handed me a note, which
Gave an address on Houston Street.
I hadn’t been there in years;
Not that I was weary of going there, not that
I had trepidations about going to the city,
It was more like i had an uneasy feeling in my gut.
I thanked the woman and left, putting the note in my pocket,
When I remembered that I forgot to ask her a question.
It was actually not a question, as much as it was
A small favor.
So, I turned around and headed back to her.
Standing at her desk, she seemed surprised that I had come back.
She seemed more surprised when I asked her to make a phone call.
You see, I did not want to get to that Houston Street address unannounced.
So the woman made the call, saying that i should be arriving at ten o’click,
Wearing the ring so they would know it was me.
I honestly did not want to go,
But I went and arrived at ten o’clock,
Just as the woman said.
I was met by a man who said his name is Thomas.
I still felt an uneasiness in my gut, but followed Thomas
Into a room no larger than an elevator,
Where there were two people wearing overalls.
Introductions were made, and when the man with the scruffy white beard
Shook my hand, he noticed my ring, in fact he made it obvious to notice it.
Then we all sat down, and I filled out a few documents,
While the other man in overalls stamped each of the pages after I had signed them.
The meeting was then over, the two men in overalls left, leaving Thomas and I left standing there.
Thomas congratulated me and said something about ‘this’ being a far cry from Derry.
I agreed, then began walking around the rooms,
When I found a portrait hanging on the wall in the library.
Thomas so kindly pointed, while saying,
“Yes, dear, this is your great-great-grandfather Robert.”
So overwhelmed, all I was able to do was touch the painting,
While saying hello to the image of the man.
Thomas then pointed at all the books lining the walls.
Telling me that many of them were first editions and many of them were old.
Knowing this did not make much difference to me,
For I was finally happy to find out my heritage.
I wonder if great-great-grandfather wrote that poem,
because he was sad not to have chosen the other road,
because he may have actually met his child,
my great-grandmother, Elinor Bettina Frost,
and maybe I would be named after her.
~dld october 6th, 2010