Items in purple are the questions for which I am researching answers. I am fully aware that some of the things I would like to know (also in purple) I will never know (deaths, separation from the individuals, etc. obscure those truths). I am still including those ponderances here, because it is important to me. Text in orange are footnotes to the supporting documentation, noting where the item was found. Text in blue will include updates as more details/documentation is found to answer open questions. I have updated this blog with this information at the top to make it easier to follow. Going forward, all genealogy blogs will have the four colors of text and what they mean at the top of the blog. At the end of the blog I will write a few thoughts on what I have found, how I feel about these things and what comes next.
Ask the tough questions but be prepared to receive the tough answers.
I was told a version of the truth regarding how I made my way into this world. That version of my life’s story suddenly did not match up to the records I was sifting through. It is ironic/funny that I have researched my family tree extensively but never put together an actual timeline of my very own life. This post will include the mundane details of my wellness checks as a newborn. It helps establish where I was living at the time as it includes a doctor’s signature. That was important in establishing my own timeline.
1958-01 William T Contorchick turns 18, is enlisted in the Marine Corps. Below is the US Marine Corp Muster Roll, 15-Jan-1958. I found this document on Ancestry. I am trying to confirm: 1-How long did he serve?, 2-I have conflicting dates in the mil records pulled, sign up in 1957 (17) or 1958?
1965-06-09 Rebecca Taraczkozy graduates high school and starts work at G.C. Murphy for an undetermined amount of time. At some point she decided she wanted a change.
1965-07-01 Rebecca turns 18. I am assuming it was around this time that she became of legal age and she decided to move.
1966-03 Terry Contorchick was married to Norma J Saiani, divorce decree in the newspaper cites Mar 1966 as date of divorce proceedings. They had one child, a daughter: Christine. Below is a clipping from The Indiana Gazette (Indiana, PA) 21-Jun-1966, page 29. I found this on newspapers.com I am trying to confirm: 1-When did he marry Norma, 2-What is their backstory, 3-Was Jewell a part of this story as well – trying to fit their meeting into the timeline?, 4-Did the Grandparents approve of this marriage and, if not, why?
1965/1968 Rebecca moved to New Jersey to live with my Aunt Vee and Vee’s husband John Moffett. She secured a job at the post office, sorting mail on the midnight shift. There, she met William Terry Contorchick and they struck up some type of affair. At that time he was living with Jewell Grizzle but that did not stop him from having a relationship with Rebecca. They had sex at least once (I wave my hand at the monitor as a form of greeting) and voila! here I am. I am trying to confirm: 1-Approximate date Ma moved from WV to NJ to live with Vee and John, 2-Was she pregnant and living with Vee while dad continued to live with Jewell?, 3-How did my grandparents (both sets) react to all of this?, 4-How long were they involved before her pregnancy?
1968-05-13 According to an appointment book for her pregnancy, this was the first doctor visit entry. Not sure if that was the actual first or just the first for this record’s purpose. (there were also visits dated 06/10 and 07/08) The appointment book was for St Peter’s Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ. She weighed 132 on 05/13 visit and 156 the day she delivered me. Below is a photo of a page in an OB/GYN appointment book utilized by Rebecca Contorchick. I found this in an old cedar chest filled with family documents.
1968-06-(??) Rebecca Taraczkozy marries William Contorchick, Location Code: 1263 (South Amboy, Middlesex County, NJ), File NO 21450. According to my Aunt: the only people present other than the couple were Velma and John Moffett who stood in as witnesses. She believes that the ceremony took place at the town hall. For years I have had photos in my possession that I thought were from her baby shower. Now, knowing dates, I believe it is her wedding reception (dad is in the photos, I think if it was a bridal shower he would not have been present). Looking closer at the gifts in the photo, they are household items. The handwritten date on the back of some of the photos is June 1968. Below are: 1-Page 66 of a section of the New Jersey Marriage Index, Brides 1968 M-Z, the link of which can be found: HERE and 2-Three from a set of seven found in the cedar chest of old family documents. I am trying to confirm: 1-Actual location of their vows, 2-Exact date (including day) of their marriage, 3-Was her best friend, Lynne, present for the vows, 4-Were the pictures their version of a wedding reception?
1968-11-15 I was born at St Peter’s Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ. Dr. Scully was kind enough to make sure I had no problems during my entrance into this crazy world. I was delivered via cesarean. I weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 20.5″ in length. When she went into labor, it was raining and my Aunt Vee had to track dad down. He was with Jewell. On his way to the hospital he had a bad wreck in which he almost died. The injury sustained from the wreck was to his spleen. He had to have emergency surgery to have it removed. He was in the hospital for weeks. Ma’s version of the story included at some point having me in her arms in her hospital bed and finding out that Jewell was in the hospital bed with my dad in his room on another floor. Below are: 1- two baby photos of Michelle Renee’ that are part of her childhood photos, 2-A congratulations card donating to the Gold Baby Book of St Peter’s that was found in a Baby Book for Michelle Renee’, 3-Newspaper clipping announcing Michelle Renee’s birth, cut from The Central NJ Home News, Guys& Dolls Section, 21-Nov-1968, and 4-The souvenir certificate of birth given to Rebecca Contorchick by the staff of St Peter’s Hospital. This was found in a Baby Book for Michelle Renee’. I am trying to confirm: 1-Although I know that Jewell blamed Ma for the rift between she and dad and vice versa for Ma, at what point does the fact that a child is being brought into the world affect the thought processes of right/wrong/move on? 2-Noted as dad’s contact information was 2505 Woodbridge Ave, Nixon, NJ, was this dad’s address with Jewell or with Ma? 3-When did Jewell and Dad begin their leg of this triangle, was it years previous or only months?
1968-12-24 First well baby exam. All things were good. I weighed 9 lb 15 oz and was 22.75″ in length. My head measured 15.5″, my chest 15.25″. It seems this appointment occurred at St Peter’s Hospital. Below is a picture of doctors note regarding my first checkup, found in the cedar chest of old family documents.
1968-12-25 A Christmas card from Gma (Marguerite) Contorchick reads: “My Baby’s First Christmas! I pray with all my heart honey you will be the enwborn that brings peace to your parents and all the love that Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph found in the Baby Jesus. I love you very much. Grandma & PapPap and Uncle Bebar.” Below is a picture of the card, found in the cedar chest of old family documents.
1969-01-24 Two month visit: 11 lb 14 oz, 23.75″ in length. Received DTP and Poliomyelitis boosters. It seems this appointment occurred at St Peter’s Hospital. Dr A Rosenberg signed the shot record. Below is a picture of doctors note regarding this checkup, found in the cedar chest of old family documents.
1969-04-09 Nineteen weeks: 14 lb 13 oz, 25.75″ in length. Received DTP and Poliomyelitis boosters. It seems this appointment occurred at St Peter’s Hospital. Dr A Rosenberg signed the shot record. Below is a picture of doctors note regarding this checkup, found in the cedar chest of old family documents.
1969-04-19 Baptized at Sacred Heart Church, Elmora PA. My Godparents were Bernard (Douga) and Joan Contorchick. The Rev Arnold G officiated. (Vol IV, Page 25) Below is a certificate of Baptism that was requested by Rebecca for Michelle to be able to celebrate First Communion. This is part of a set of documents for Michelle Renee’s Catholic progression. I am trying to confirm: 1-Who attended the service?, 2-Were there any pictures taken of the event?
1969-05-20 Six month visit: 16 lb 7 oz, 29″ in length. Received DTP and Poliomyelitis boosters. Dr A Rosenberg signed the shot record. Below is a picture of doctors note regarding this checkup, found in the cedar chest of old family documents.
Somewhere in between these dates, Rebecca moves back to WV and Chick moves to Kent, OH
1969-10-24 Postmark on letter to dad from Jewell. Address: 1274 Country Rd 18, Kent OH Below is a set of letters with the postmarked envelope found in the cedar chest of old family documents.
1969-10-27 Measles shot. This was recorded in a completely different book and the above referenced shots were rewritten into it as well. Paul Curtis is noted as the physician. Because of this, I am assuming we are in West Virginia at this point. I am trying to confirm: 1-Approximate date of Rebecca and Michelle’s move to WV,
1969-11-10 Postmark on letter to dad from Jewell. Address: 1274 Country Rd 18, Kent OH. Below is a set of letters with the postmarked envelope found in the cedar chest of old family documents.
1969-11-15 Michelle Renee’ turns ONE. I have a birthday card from dad and written inside, “Have a Happy Honey. See you soon. Love, Daddy” Below is a photo of the referenced card. This was found in a Baby Book for Michelle Renee’
1969-11-15 (ish) Card from Gma Contorchick that reads: “Hi Becky & My little girl of my family, Sure hope this fits the baby. I can just imagine how big she is. I get lonesome to see her. I can still see her smile. I know if prayers are answered I soon will see you both. When I get a feeling that won’t go away, I know it’s about to be answered. I hope and pray to God that there’s nothing wrong with the baby. If you get a picture taken please send one to me. Give the baby a kiss from her Grandma and tell her I love her altho she doesn’t know me. Grandma wishes her a Happy Birthday. Love, Marguerite” Below is the letter, found in the cedar chest of old family documents. I am trying to confirm: 1-Are there any photos of my with my Grandparents while I was an infant?, 2-Was the only times they were able to see me at the time of my birth and at my baptism?, 3-Did Ma ever send photos to them? They were, after all, innocent in all of the triangle BS.
1969/1970 Rebecca attempts suicide in the hopes of reuniting with Chick. I remember overhearing a bit of a conversation regarding her suicide attempt. As I remember that conversation, I was around two and she had miscarried child number two. She was “lost” and attempted to take her own life. I confirmed the attempt with my aunt who noted that there was no miscarriage. It was all an attempt to get him back. I found an old journal of mine dating around college. I write of Ma telling me about the suicide attempt and miscarriage. “My Mother had also told me that she miscarried what would have been my sibling by Chick and even attempted to OD on baby aspirin. I believe she told me this to emphasize how bad of a person my father was neglecting to realize that I would wonder what SHE was thinking? Who would have taken care of me? What would have become of me? Did I not matter in the scenario as it played out? Where was I when this failed attempt occurred?” Things I will never be able to confirm: I cannot, for the life of me, remember the conversation between my Ma and I. I cannot remember it. WHY can I not remember it? Have I blocked it out because I felt betrayed? A betrayal in her willingness to leave me without a mother all in the hopes of garnering enough attention that my father would take her back for pity’s sake? Was it a serious attempt? Were baby aspirins even taken? Did she go to the hospital as a result? I was “about two”. I should have been your whole life then, absent my father. And, straining my brain trying to remember, I feel as if I remember “knowing or being told” that I was in the floor next to the bed when she did it. For the time-frame, I am assuming she was in WV (at my grandparents’ house in Eccles). Were they home? Was I in danger? I have a bit of dislocated rage suddenly about this. Maybe it is because I am piecing together all the other information and then remembering that this “was a thing” that I never really addressed in a manner greater than off-handedness. And even if it was a weak attempt to make him pay attention: what would happen if you took too much, had a reaction, etc? It may take a while for me to process this. I am not sure if it is the PC thing for me to be angry, but I am. Things from later years play into some of that anger. I will blog about that on another day.
1970-01-15 Raleigh Register clipping: Terry Contorchick of Kent, OH was found guilty during a hearing before Magistrate Joe Rodriguez on a nonsupport warrant and remanded in lieu of $500 bond. Was arrested on Sunday. (01/11/1970). Below is a clipping from page 11 of the Beckley Post Herald 16-Jan-1970. This was found on newspapers.com
1970-04-13 The Raleigh Register clipping: Court issued capias and ordered bond forfeiture for nonsupport. Below is a clipping from page 2 of The Raleigh Register. This was found on newspapers.com
1970-04-13 Copy of summons for Rebecca Contorchick to appear on behalf of the state of WV in the hearing against William T Contorchick. Below are front/back photos of a summons found in a cedar chest of family documents.
1970-04-22 Letter, postmarked Cleveland, OH addressed Mrs Wm Contorchick c/o Alex Taraczkozy. “Hi. Got your letter hon. I’m sending the twenty. I wanted to send it before but I thought you would’ve gotten the other by now. I have to cut short because I’m on my way to work. I’ll write a letter later. Love you still, Chick. Kiss Pistol For Me.” Below is a photo of the letter and postmarked envelope found in a cedar chest of family documents.
1970-06-16 Trial calendar: William T Contorchick: non support of wife and seven children. Below is a clipping from page 8 of The Raleigh Register 11-Jun-1970. I found this on newspapers.com I am trying to confirm: 1-How many children does my father actually have? He had Christine by Norma, me by Ma. I have heard rumors of another sister and a brother, though I have not tried to confirm either. No interest in knowing them personally at this time, would just like to know for accuracy’s sake, 2-Is there documentation for each of these court events?
1970-07-02 Postmarked letter from Raleigh County Vocational Center in Beckley, WV noting that Rebecca has been accepted into the nursing program taught there.
1972-01-04 Bowers, File, Hudson and Payne (Attorneys at Law), receipt $100 on account – divorce.
1972-01-06 Beckley Post Herald: Divorce Case C.A. No. 72168, notice to William Terry Contorchick, hearing to be held Feb 14, 1972 by word of Edward D Stansberry, Special Commissioner. Notice to defendant Civil Action No 72-7158, you must answer by Feb 8, 1972. Failure to do so may result in action taken against you for the relief demanded in the complaint. C. Harold Hanks, Clerk of Court. (another notice published 1972-01-13, same paper). Below is a clipping from page 17 of Beckley Post-Herald 6-Jan-1972. I found this on newspapers.com. There were two sections, one below the other, first section was divorce, second was a civil matter between the two. I am trying to find out: 1-Attempting to obtain a copy of the divorce records filed in Raleigh County, WV
1972-02-18 Register Herald: Rebecca Contorchick was divorced from William Terry Contorchick with custody of one child awarded the plaintiff. Below is a clipping from page 6 of the Beckley Post-Herald 22-Feb-1972. I found this on newspapers.com
1972-06-20 Register Herald: announcement of persons seeking approval to wed: Rebecca Contorchick (24) Eccles and James Paul Seletyn (30) Scarbro. Below is a clipping from the page 9 article titled “18 Couples Seek Wedding Permits” in the Beckley Post-Herald 20-June-1972. I found this on newspapers.com
1972-11-15 Michelle Renee’ turns four.
Feelings Right Now:
I have some photos on slides that I want to see if Mander can develop. I may have a dozen or so photos from this timeframe (my baby pictures, those wedding photos, etc) plus those slides. I have no pictures as an infant with my extended Contorchick family, no pictures of my dad holding me as an infant. Reading my grandmother’s letter where she is basically begging for photos hurts my heart. Pap was dear to my heart from the moment I met him. I could not afford to come to his funeral, that bothers me still. I removed myself from contact with dad in 2002(ish) and did not realize my grandmother had passed until a year later.
I am mad at my dad, first and foremost. Although his infidelity led to the possibility of my being here, how many people were hurt in the process? I am mad at Ma for being a part of that and then pretending it to be otherwise in later years. I am mad at Ma for the years of planting discord when maybe there should not have been as much there. Her painted picture and the stark reality were two different stories. I am mad at Jewell for disparaging Ma the last time I saw any of them in person. Those remarks are what eventually led to me cutting ties altogether and what good was gained from that?
I had a somewhat-relationship with dad until 2002. I had made comments that it would be nice if he could call me, that he never called me. I felt that all of the conversation initiations were one sided and that side was mine. For his birthday I sent him a shirt. I thought, I will wait until he calls to say thank you before I call him. If he doesn’t call me well, I guess that will be that. And, it was. He never called after that. There was an instance when Jewell tried to call, I think once (maybe twice). It never felt right speaking to her after her comments about Ma and how Ma felt about her. Besides, she was not my parent.
Coming from the perspective of the infant in this story, they all sucked as adults. They really did.
As I process all of this more, maybe I will feel differently. Who knows? Maybe I will get madder, that is possible too. For now, I will set this aside until I am able to get access to the court records in Raleigh County, WV and the marriage certificate in Middlesex County, NJ.
I will give my parents this, they were beautiful and young. Stupid and morally horrible, but beautiful