My biological father was Dewey Ernest Winters. If I knew him at all, it was at such an early age that I don't consciously remember him. He and my mother were divorced not long after I was born and he later gave my mother's second husband permission to adopt me.
I became acquainted with this line at about age 12, when my adoptive dad, who was a genealogist, encouraged me to contact my bio-paternal family. I wrote my grandmother, sent pictures, and asked for more information so that I could start a genealogy file for them. I received pictures of my grandmother and my father's sisters and his brother. Each year after that, for a long time and with a few interruptions, I got a Christmas card from my grandmother and gifts from my aunt Ludelle. I usually got a phone call each year (on Christmas) from my father, also, and I was aware of his location and occupation (Morgan City, Louisiana; short order cook for offshore oil drilling operations), but I didn't feel motivated to contact or expand my relationship with him. He was an alcoholic and to a twelve year old Mormon girl, that is a scary unknown. One year, my mother commented to me (this was many years later, during my second marriage and after I had given birth to five children), that she had not heard from "Dewey" in recent years and that she just felt that he was not living any more. I learned soon after that conversation, that he was indeed, deceased, as of 1981.
My adoptive dad accompanied me to the first family reunion of the Winters clan. The site of the reunion was the local armory (National Guard) in Jasper, Alabama (up the road from Birmingham, in Walker County). I have since attended this yearly gathering on a number of occasions, once with my mother, who was angry that they (the relatives) had not notified us when Dewey died. I was also accompanied by my daughter, Debbie and my granddaughter, Becky, on this occasion. Debbie was later baptized (as proxy) for her Great Grandmother Beulah Winters (nee Lewis) in the LDS Temple.
On another trip, I took my son Kevin (my child from my third marriage). I don't think he felt very comfortable around a lot of strangers, but he was touched when the family reunion auction created an opportunity for one of the extended family members to cede to Kevin the little pocketknife that he had bid a paltry amount on.
I have attended by myself, the reunion which has mostly been at the site of the family cemetery, the the friendship hall of the little Baptist church adjacent. This gives me an opportunity to visit the graves of my father and his ancestors. My grandmother, whom I had made contact with all those years ago, is interred there, now, as is my Aunt Ludelle. There is from my father's family (nuclear), a brother still living and one sister. I continue to keep in touch (sort of) with my Uncle A.W. "Andy" Winters, through his second wife, who is a wonderful friend to family history and family relations.
I wasn't able to attend the reunion last summer (May), due to the chemotherapy, but I hope to be able to attend this year.