Posts Tagged ‘Sheila Kay Thomas’

momentos from my father

My family is “interesting. ”  My mother had mutiple marriages and I grew up with 2 brothers and 2 sisters, and all of them have different fathers than I do.  While blended families are commonplace now, they were not in the 1960’s. My first 3 siblings were from my mother’s first marriage and my younger brother is from… well .. my mother was indiscreet while married to my father.  My father adopted my 3 older siblings and kept my little brother as his own child, different race not making a difference.

My father also had been married before he and my mother were married. He had a daughter from that marriage. I know her name was Sheila Kay.  That is all I really know. I am not even sure what her last name was.  It was either Lostutter or Thomas.

You see, my father had been raised by an aunt and uncle named Walter and Fern Thomas. My father’s birth name was Richard Jean Lostutter.  I  believe his mother’s name was Grace Lostutter. Why he was raised by his aunt and uncle is a mystery to me. My best guess is that his mother may not have been married, was divorced, widowed, or for some other reason unable to raise him. I was never able to find out. My father went by the name Richard Lostutter at least through high school, and some of his adulthood, but at some point began using the name Thomas. When he married my mother his name was Thomas,  but I am unsure when exactly he changed his name.

My father grew up in Gas City,  Indiana and graduated from Gas City High School in 1945. One of the few  momentos I have of my father is his senior yearbook that shows that he was was not in attendance at his high school graduation because he has left for basic training in the army.  This was during WW2 just as the Germans were surrendering – Hitler had just committed suicide and the war against Japan was in full force. ( The bombs were dropped in the following August) He was mentioned both in the school yearbook and newspaper articles for his patriotism and sacrifice.  He also was mentioned for his amazing clarinet playing.

Throughout the years since I learned of the existance of my half sister, Sheila, I have had a lot of curiosity. I talked to a private detective, but could not afford his fees. I sent letters through the social security administration – we both had collected survivors benefits as children after my fathers death, and they said they might be able to forward a letter to her. After many months, I got the letter back, with a note that they were unable to locate her unless I had HER social security number.  I even wrote a letter to Oprah Winfrey thinking she might like it for one of her reunion shows.  I have searched online, but not knowing for sure  what her her maiden name is …  and Thomas is very common, let alone any idea what her married name might be  ( and just who came up with the idea of women changing their names???)  -yahoo people search, zabasearch,, facebook, myspace,,  etc.

When I was a teenager I rode my bike several miles to the house of Fern Thomas thinking maybe she would be able to tell me something about my father’s family. The first time she told me go away and don’t come back. I was confused and hurt. I left with out really questioning.  I was a fairly timid , shy teenager, and generally afraid to question  or confront adults. The second time I went back I tried to explain that I didn’t want anything, thinking maybe she thought I was wanting money or something.  I told her I just wanted to know her, to know my Father’s family.  She said my father was not even my father and to go away and don’t come back. She closed the door in my face. I can’t even begin to describe the pain I felt at that reception. She was one of the few people who knew my father and had a blood tie to him who could tell me more, to help me to KNOW the father I lost at 4 years old.   I never shared that with anyone at the time. It made me kind of afraid to ask or contact anyone, because of the fear of being so hurt again.

Now, of course, I’m 50, my father and mother are both dead as are my grandparents and probably  anyone else who could give me the information I need. 

 I feel an empty space in my heart.