Research is me. Well, on occasion. Lots of occasions when it comes to doing background checks on potential employees for any one of several clients of mine. This time I was looking for something different. Booting up my computer I began my search. And gave up not too much later. For once it would be easier to do it in person—at the historical society or the local library—because what I needed was a phone directory for nineteen ninety-one.
I got smart and called first. The historical society said I'd be better off going to the library so I took their word for it. When I got there a lady at the information desk sent me upstairs to the history and genealogy department where a nice old man sat me down at a microfiche machine with the directory I needed. I was somewhat taken aback at how many adoption agencies there were, twenty-two in all. I copied down the names, addresses and phone numbers, getting writer's cramp in the process. Then it was back to my office to cross-check and see how many were still in business today.
Nine were, which was a start. I called Ms Engel. She greeted me enthusiastically when she found out who was on the phone, asking if I needed her to come by the office. I politely told her I didn't. That I only needed to run some names by her to see if any of them struck a cord. She made me read through the list twice then, hesitantly, said "Spears-Clemens sounds familiar. I vaguely remember it was names, not some sort of cutesy title, if that makes sense."
I chuckled. "It does. All right, I'll start with them and see what I can come up with. You need to realize they may not be willing to release any information."
"Even if I ask them to?"
"Even then. Not without checking with the adoptee first to get their permission. That would hold true if he was looking for you."
"I understand. At least try. Please. This is very important to me."
I told her I would and hung up. Again I wondered why she sounded so desperate to find him. Maybe Ricky was on to something when he said the father might be pressuring her to tell him where their son was. Perhaps it was time to figure out who said father was.
For the first time today I was actually able to do an online search and find what I needed. I pulled up Chathington College's website and after some diligence and a lot of 'Click here to…' links I came up with student records from the year I needed. I pulled up the freshman class list.
Ms Engel was there, Coleen Maureen Engel to be exact. According to the records, she'd dropped out in April of her freshman year then returned the following fall and graduated with honors three years later. Next I used the 'find' function to look for the first name 'Carlo'. That didn't show up, but on the second page of the roster there was a Giancarlo W. Donati. Like Ms Engel, he was listed as leaving the college before the end of his freshman year. Unlike her, he never returned.