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SEARCHING FOR PROOF

          The house was quiet, except for the ticking kitchen clock.  Alice and I crept through the living room and entered the master bedroom.
          “We’ll have to hurry Alice.  Mom is across the street having coffee,” I whispered.
          “Gloria, you don’t have to do this,” Alice said nervously, “I believe you.”
          I had tried to confide to my friend what Mom told me concerning Kenneth, but because of her similar experience, of learning Mr. Birmingham was not her real father, she accused me of making up my story.  She was sure I was trying to copy her so I could say I had both a real dad and a stepfather.
          “This just can’t happen to both of us,” Alice had argued.
          The master bedroom watched silently as I opened the sliding closet door.
          “That’s it up there,” I whispered as I motioned toward a large cardboard box.
          “Whew, that’s heavy,” Alice breathed as we pulled the box off the shelf and sat it on the hardwood floor.
          “These are Dad and Mom’s important papers.  If there is any proof it should be in here,” I said to my friend as I began sifting through the contents of the box.
          “Gloria, let’s put it back.  If your mom catches us we’ll be in big trouble!” Alice said nervously, her voice becoming louder.
          “Shh Alice, I’m not doing this just for you.  I want to see for myself,” I said firmly.
          I searched through the papers looking for something, but I wasn’t sure what.  My fingers clasped a thick brown envelope.  I drew it from the container.  I opened it and unfolded the contents.  The first paper had elaborate script across the top...MARRIAGE LICENSE.  Underneath, to one side, in smaller print was...STATE OF NEW MEXICO, AND BERNALILLO COUNTY.  The document certified that on the 12th day of December AD 1941 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I the undersigned clergyman did join in Holy Bonds of Matrimony...Warren K. Bolding and Wanda L. Underwood.
          I handed the certificate to Alice.  My heart was beating so fast I was sure she could hear it.
          The second paper was a degree of divorce...Wanda L. Bolding vs. Warren K Bolding.
          The final document was a right of adoption, giving Marion M Williams legal custody of Gloria Sherlene Bolding and changing said name to Gloria Sherlene Williams.
          I was stunned by my discovery.  I had not fully believed that I would find anything, and now I held the proof in my hands.  Alice and I passed the papers back and forth absorbed in the confirmation of my roots.
          Suddenly I remembered Mom!
          “Come on Alice, help me put them back,” I said as I folded the papers into the envelope and stuffed them deep inside the box.  Alice grabbed one side and I the other, and we lifted the container back on the shelf.  I slid the closet door back into place.  Our shoes clattered against the hardwood floors as we ran through the house and out the back door.
          “See Alice, I told you,” I said breathlessly, “and that’s not all; I have a sister four years older than me.  Her name is Linda Lee!”