The Well Magazine Fall/Winter 2013 - Page 22

manding officers of the U.S. soldiers forced many interracial couples to split up. After losing their American partners due to reassignment, many single German mothers often had difficulty finding support for their children in the postwar nation, due to the general law as well as discrimination against blacks. Many of the children born in the decade after the end of the war were put up for adoption, and placed with black American military families in Germany and the United States. By 1968 Americans had adopted about 7,000 "Brown Babies." Many of the "Brown Babies" did not learn of their ethnic German ancestry until they reached adulthood. I think about you all the time, and love you very much. I know there are a lot of things about me that you don’t understand now...When you get older you will find out the truth for yourself. March 1964 My father returned to Kansas City, Missouri, where most of his family had settled after leaving the farm in Louisiana. He was staying with his sister Elois and within a year had literally married the girl next door—a brown-skinned beauty with deep dimples from Georgia— my mother, Leola. He worked. She worked. They went to school, bought a house, started to live their American dream, and started a family. But my father never forgot about Walter. He wrote letters. Letters that were found decades later and led to their reunion. As I read the letters today, they bring tears to my eyes. In the letters I hear the voice of a father longing to see his son. Some are typed. Some handwritten. A father who is in college and has a wife, another son and not much money. He sends 50 marks, wishes he could send more. Asks Walter’s mother to send him pictures. Pleads for his son to come visit him. A man who is now a minister, dedicated to the Lord. Who doesn’t drink or play dice anymore. A man not sure if he even has a son in the first letters, only the word of a former lover. A father concerned about his son’s education and wanting to give him opportunities in the United States. September 13, 1963 Dear Margot, I received a letter from my son. I was very happy to hear from him, sorry to hear of you being ill, but hope you are well by now. The letters he said he received, I wrote them 4 or 5 years ago. After I didn’t get an answer I wondered if you ever received them. I was surprised 22 The Well Magazine Fall/Winter 2013 when I saw the letter from him. Did he do his own writing? If so, maybe since he is big enough to write maybe I will be able to keep in touch with him. You know I always said what ever happen I wanted to keep in touch with him. I have another son, he is one year old. Why didn’t you answer my letters, I wrote them to your old address…. O! yes, I am a minister now, I have been preaching for about a year now, I am going to college also. So I have been praying that some day my son and I will meet. So you write and tell me all the news, what is the nature of your illness? Do you have any other children? If I sent for Walter when school is out would you let him come and spend the summer with us. If he come by plane it would take about 16 hrs. from Frankfort to Kansas City and cost quite a bit of money. Or do you want me to keep him forever? If you get tired of my boy ship him on over. (smile) …I am sending 50 marks for Walter to have some pictures made. Please see to it that I get one in return mail. When I write again I will send you one of mine. Do you ever take him to church? (written in my father’s handwriting) I hope so. When is his birthday? I thought it was this month. So write me soon and let me know whether you received the money and try to answer all my questions and tell me the latest news. Yours, William Copeland Sept. 13, 1963 Dear son, I received your letter a few days ago, was very glad to hear from you. I often wonder where you were and what you was doing. I hadn’t forgotten you but I wrote about four years ago but didn’t get an answer, so I didn’t know what had happen to you. But since you are a big boy now I expect to hear from you oftener. And I hope that some day in the near future we will meet face to face. How would you like to come and visit with me this summer? When school is out and stay all summer. I am married and have one boy, so you have another brother he is one year old. I am a minister (preacher) I am going to college (school) so you see daddy is a very busy man. Do you have any other sisters or brothers, if so how many? Did you write the letter you wrote to me? What do you want to be when you grow up? I am sending you 50 marks to have some pictures made, so as soon as possible have your mother to take you and have some pictures made, and write me right back and let me know you got the money. And I will send you one of my pictures when I write again. This is also your birthday gift. All for now. With love, Dad