I met Brian Stross when I was 33. He was my biological father. Over time I came to think of him as another Dad.
Up until that time, when people would ask me “What are you?” I’d say “I’m a quarter Egyptian, a quarter German and a half Creole from Nawlins.” That’s what I had surmised from what I had been told growing up.Being Creole was cool because I could talk about being French, West African, and Native American. But I loved being Egyptian. The Pyramids, the Nile, the Sphinx. What’s not to like?People would even say I looked Egyptian. Egyptians had sworn I looked exactly like one of their relatives.I remember being at the King Tut exhibit at the De Young and my Grandma Maudie yelling “That’s David”
But my answer to the question “What are you?” changed after I connected with Brian.
With the blessing of my adopted father (Robin Room), I searched for and found Brian on whowhere.com. I sent him an email the same day:
Dear Brian,I hope this note finds you in good spirits.I am your son. I found you on whowhere.com. I am interested in meeting you. Please be in contact when you get a chance.Dave
Brian was an Anthropology professor at the University of Texas in Austin. Brian was a first generation American but he’s not Egyptian and German. His parents were from what’s now the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Brian’s family had been the consulate for the Austro-Hungarian empire in Eygpt for a couple generations. Hence the confusion around me being Egyptian. Brian’s last name is Stross, hence the confusion around me being German.
Shortly I got Brian’s response.
Dear Dave,This is the letter I have been waiting for my entire life.I have a lot going on right now, but I will be back in touch soon.Love, Brian
Brian passed away on Thursday. So glad that I did have the chance to speak with relatively frequently over the past several months.RIP biological Dad – Thanks for giving me life and love!