- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

LINDEN, Pa. (AP) - Linda Schreiber didn’t even know her father’s name until she was in her 40s and didn’t meet him until November when she was 61 years old.

The Linden resident grew up without a father, uncommon at the time, and she often feared she would be shunned by her classmates and friends if they knew. She would tell people her father was deceased or give them her grandfather’s name, which she told herself wasn’t a lie - her grandparents helped raise her.

Even at a young age, Schreiber understood that she shouldn’t ask her mother about the man who was absent from her life.

However, once she’d grown and started her own family, Schreiber couldn’t help but ask. She approached her grandmother, who didn’t have much information but could share a few details.

“She told me Mom had been working in Washington, D.C., and hadn’t even told my grandmother when she became pregnant,” Schreiber said. “When she got close to her delivery date, she moved in with her sister, and I was born in Reading. After I was born, Aunt Joyce called my grandparents to give them the news.”

This was more knowledge about her mother’s life and her own birth than Schreiber ever had known. But it wasn’t enough. Schreiber knew she had to go straight to the source, her mother. She started by asking for a name.

“I knew better than to bring it up when I was growing up, for some reason,” she said. “Finally, when I was 42, I built up the courage to ask her what my father’s name was.”

Even as a grown woman with children of her own, Schreiber was as nervous as the child who always knew not to broach the subject.

Though she feared her mother might refuse to divulge any information, she was happily wrong. In fact, she shared much more than just a name.

“She calmly told me his name was Edwin Moore. She offered that he was a Marine and left for Korea before she knew she was pregnant,” Schreiber said.

The ball rolling, Schreiber posed another question: Did she ever try to find Moore?

“She said, ‘Yes,’ but was told he had gone to Korea. So she came back home to Pennsylvania and made a life for herself, never looking for him again. End of story,” Schreiber said.

It was the end of the story - until Schreiber and her husband applied for passports. When doing so, people are required to present a copy of their birth certificates. And when Schreiber got hers, she learned her father’s middle name, Arne.

“That’s how I found him. I used his full name to find military records on Ancestry.com and found his muster number,” she said. “I sent a letter to the VA (Veterans Administration) explaining my situation, and it wasn’t even a week before they got back to me saying they found him.”

But how to proceed next would be a difficult decision. How do you tell an 82-year-old man that you’re his daughter after decades of not knowing?

The VA contacted Moore, simply notifying him that a woman was searching for him because she believed there was a family relation.

A few days later, Schreiber received a call from one of Moore’s family members, and she explained the situation to him. Then she wrote another letter, this time directly addressing the man she believed to be her father.

“I included my birth certificate and some pictures, including one of my mom that would have been about the age he would have known her,” Schreiber said. “I told him that even though I looked like my mom, I had many qualities that were not hers, one being that I wore my heart on my sleeve.”

This is the line that convinced Moore’s children and the rest of the family that she was his daughter, because he’s the same way.

Moore wanted to talk to her the next day. She called, and two people who started a conversation as awkward strangers spoke nonstop for an hour.

Since that first call, the pair have spoken often and met in person.

Schreiber, who grew up not even knowing her father’s name, now knows how her parents met, how her father felt about her mother and what their relationship was like. She knows the man who gave her half his genes and much of his personality. She knows he’s a good man and that his family loves him.

She also knows now that he loves her.

“He is hardworking, raised seven very successful, college-educated children, and he is kind and loving beyond words. It was all I could have hoped for,” she said. “I thank God for bringing us together and will cherish whatever time we have together.”

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Online:

https://bit.ly/14sjJhD

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Information from: Williamsport Sun-Gazette, https://www.sungazette.com

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