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Blood Brother33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson Is Guilty
By Anne Bird
Regan BooksISBN: 0-06-083857-4
On a quiet midweek afternoon in early June 1997, I received a phone call that almost destroyed my life.
"Is this Anne Grady?" the caller asked. It was a man's voice, unfamiliar.
"Who is this, please?"
"My name is Don," he said. "You don't know me, but I'm related to you."
I immediately knew who he was. As an adopted child, this was the day I had been praying for, and dreading, my entire life. I was about to meet my biological family, and that family included three brothers I hadn't even known existed.
One of those brothers was Scott Peterson.
At the time of that fate-changing call, I was working at Cubic Corporation, a defense contractor in San Diego. Cubic does a lot of work for the U.S. government, and my father, Tom Grady, was president of Cubic Videocomm, the firm's high-tech division. Only two months earlier, in late May, I had been living in San Francisco, but I had a job I didn't like, no boyfriend, and a landlord who suddenly decided to double my rent.
So I returned home to Point Loma, in San Diego, to stay for a while with my parents, the people who adopted me at birth. I was adopted in 1965, when I was just a few days old; my brother Stephen was adopted three years later. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer, and she'd been told it was unlikely she'd ever have children, but five years after Stephen came along she became pregnant with her first child, Susan, and three years after that she gave birth to a son, Michael.
We lived in San Diego until I was twelve. Our parents loved all four of us equally. They had led a charmed life long before we came along. My father got his BA at Berkeley and his MBA from Harvard. After he graduated he became a navy officer and was stationed in San Diego. My mother, Jerri, was a teacher in landlocked Galesburg, Illinois, but she had a yen for the Pacific. One day she was talking to recruiters about teaching jobs out west, and when they mentioned San Diego she jumped at the chance. It was a good job, and San Diego was a navy base; she thought she might meet a man in uniform. As it turned out, she was right. One sunny afternoon not long after she settled in Mission Beach, she saw a tall, tanned, handsome man strolling past with a surfboard under his arm. He was exactly the kind of man she had hoped to meet, so she had the good sense to invite him to dinner. They were married in 1960.
Not long afterward, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. They got through it, however, and they even found a way to deal with the news that they might never have children of their own.
"You can adopt," the doctor said.
"Where would we start?" my father asked.
"I think I may know someone," the doctor replied.
He did know someone. He had a patient called Jackie Latham. She was unmarried and pregnant for the second time, and once again she didn't feel capable of caring for the child. The doctor told her about my parents' desire to adopt, and Jackie was tempted because the doctor described them as terrific, salt-of-the-earth type of people. When she heard about my mother's illness, she nearly changed her mind. She didn't want to give her little girl to someone who might not be around to care for her. But my father sent word back through the doctor that, if anything happened to Jerri, he was both willing and able to care for me by himself. Reassured, Jackie handed me over.
When I was six years old, my parents told me I was adopted. They explained that my mother, a nice lady, had felt ill equipped to care for me, that they had wanted a little girl just like me, and that they felt very lucky to have found me. I wasn't sure I understood what they meant, but I wasn't at all troubled by it. As far as I was concerned, they were my parents and always would be.
I never felt strange, different from, or less loved than other children, and I remember only one occasion where my history had any impact on me. I was in second grade at the time, and the class had been festooned with flags from many countries. We were told to stand under the flag of the country of our ancestors, and of course I had no idea where to go. When I noticed a large crowd under the British flag, I just joined in, and no one objected. There was safety in numbers.
When I went home I told my parents what had happened and asked them if they knew anything about my ancestry. "Well," my father said, "from what I recall, your mother had a little French and English on her mother's side and some German on her father's side."
"So did I stand in the right place?"
"You sure did," my mother said.
My parents are very grounded people. They have been married for almost forty-five years and have lived in the same house for nearly all that time. They seldom argue, they love to travel, and they're still friends with most of the people they knew when they were first married. In short, they are solid, reliable, and steady, and I can talk to them about anything.
I had a comfortable childhood, which bordered on privileged. We went on many vacations. We took road trips all up and down California - the beaches, the deserts, and the mountains - and often traveled to Mexico. We also went to Berkeley from time to time, to visit my paternal grandparents, and we loved to visit San Francisco. We also loved visiting my mother's parents in Illinois ...
Excerpted from Blood Brother by Anne Bird Excerpted by permission.
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