The 50-Year Secret
130 pages
English

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130 pages
English

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Description

“A beautiful journey with a powerful message.” —Andy Chaleff, author of The Last Letter

Julie MacNeil is 6’4”, and although she is neither a WNBA athlete nor a famous model, she has a remarkable story to tell. As an adopted child, she always wondered about the parents who gave her up. After overcoming a challenging childhood and surviving two tumultuous marriages, a chance DNA test revealed an incredibly rare and life-threatening liver-lung disease. Julie then embarked on a difficult journey to find her birth family. Her goal was to warn them about the disease, which is highly genetic and often undiagnosed. What followed was a miraculous sequence of events and a remarkable homecoming.


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Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 15 décembre 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781633937390
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0400€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

PRAISE FOR
THE 50-YEAR SECRET
“A remarkable woman begins a remarkable journey to find her birth parents when diagnosed by happenstance with a rare genetic disease. Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency stalks families unknowingly, causing progressive liver and lung disease. A moving story of families, blended, broken, lost, and found, and the love that binds and heals them. It made me want to bring my own family closer and hug them tighter.”
—DOUGLAS S. ROSS MD, pulmonologist
“I laughed. I cried. A triumphant true-life story about Julie and her unforgettable journey of trials, troubles, adolescent insecurities and insurmountable odds that puts her a head above the rest. Julie’s sheer determination, hope and relentless optimism shows us that our potential for growth is beyond the limits of our stature. A true recipe for ‘fitting in’ by ‘standing out.’”
— LINDA J. BLACK, InTune Yoga Wellness, author/speaker/trainer
“In the twelve-plus years I have known Julie, I was her manager and mentor for half of that time. I’m sure I’ve learned more from her than she ever learned from me. She firmly believes she can do anything she puts her mind to, and she has proven that many times in the past twelve years. She is one of the most positive people I have ever known. One of her mantras is ‘Life is more fun when you are willing to take chances’. This is definitely a key to her success. Classic Julie: if you want to get her to do something, tell her she can’t do it . . . then get out of her way. She will win the battle with alpha-1 because she is Julie. This book is inspiring and a testament to her persistence. She has many stories to tell!”
— BRENT TYCKSEN, Amazon bestselling author of Safe Money and Living Debt Free
“Congratulations, Julie, on a book that is easy to read and very captivating. So many emotions were triggered as I read through each of Julie’s stories. My eyes even got a little teary. Everyone will relate to The 50-Year Secret on one level or another if not on several levels. What a wonderful feel-good book!”
—BART MERRILL, author of Monetize Your Mindset
“More than a tall tale, Julie shares her journey with grace and love, uncovering the past to discover what her future holds. A beautiful journey with a powerful message.”
—ANDY CHALEFF, author of The Last Letter

The 50-Year Secret
by Julie MacNeil
© Copyright 2018 Julie MacNeil
ISBN 978-1-63393-738-3
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior written permission of the author.
Published by

210 60th Street
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
800-435-4811
www.koehlerbooks.com
Dedication TK
TABLE OF CONTENTS

PROLOGUE
Chapter 1 ROUND PEG, SQUARE HOLES
Chapter 2 TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL
Chapter 3 HOW’S THE WEATHER UP THERE?
Chapter 4 PAGEANTS, COLLEGE PREP, AND PLUCK
Chapter 5 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, YOU’RE DIVORCED!
Chapter 6 SEVENTY-EIGHT BUCKS AND A FULL TANK OF GAS
Chapter 7 AND . . . THE HONEYMOON IS OVER
Chapter 8 “GROOVY, BABY!”
Chapter 9 THE DEEP END OF THE GENE POOL
Chapter 10 FATE AND A FINGER PRICK
Chapter 11 TRY, TRY AGAIN
Chapter 12 WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH
Chapter 13 NICE TO MEET YOU, HISTORY!
Chapter 14 A BOX FULL OF MEMORIES
Chapter 15 SHOPPING FOR THE TRUTH
Chapter 16 BLOOD SISTERS
Chapter 17 A FAMILY “UNION”
Chapter 18 EPILOGUE
PROLOGUE
“The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn’t one.”
–MARGARET ATWOOD, The Blind Assassin
SHE SAT ON THE WOODEN office chair, fidgeting. She didn’t really pay attention to what was being said; the shrill voice grated against her bones. She’d heard it all before, so many times before.
It was November 1964, and she’d moved around a lot the past few years. This was the third high school she’d attended in less than six months. But this guidance counselor—an absurd title, considering there was never any guidance or counseling offered—really seemed to have it out for her. When Linda wasn’t skipping class to avoid running into her, she seemed to live in Mrs. Walton’s dark, cramped office.
“Stand up!” Mrs. Walton barked. “That skirt is too short!” The girl had made the black skirt from her mom’s leftover fabric. Lee likes it; he’d told her so. She hated skirts, but girls weren’t allowed to wear pants.
She stood as ordered, but before she had a chance to adjust her skirt, which had crept up while sitting, the counselor issued her judgment.
“I knew it! Too short! Supposed to be knee-length. Well, you certainly seem intent on making life extra hard for yourself, missy! Let’s go.”
Linda sighed and suddenly felt extremely weary. She thought of Lee while looking out the car window on the way to the youth detention home. The route was familiar—this was her fourth “jail sentence” on Mrs. Walton’s watch. Okay, so smoking outside the church next door merited punishment. She had tried it just that one time. It was so hard to make friends in yet another new school, and the smokers in the parking lot were more accepting than most. But going to the detention house for skipping class and now for a skirt barely above the knee seemed excessively cruel.
Mrs. Walton looked smug as she handed Linda over. “I’m sure your parents will be thrilled to hear you’re here again, Linda.”
Linda desperately racked her brain, thinking of how to get out of this.
“You can’t keep me here. I’m pregnant!” Her sixteen-year-old voice quivered as she tried to look defiant.
Her lie backfired. After a pregnancy test, she discovered they could indeed keep her there if she was pregnant, and she was more surprised than anybody to discover she was.
Twenty-eight days later, she left the detention center to be transported directly to a foster home a few hours away. She’d spend the next seven months living with a family there until she had the baby. She wasn’t allowed to go to school. There were no visits home, although her parents came to see her about once a month. Worst of all, she didn’t get to speak to Lee before they shipped him off to the Navy. It was either military service or jail for statutory rape. He was eighteen, and she was still a minor.
Luckily, the family she lived with was kind and treated her well. When the time came, it happened fast. The memory was gray and clouded. She didn’t remember the details of the hospital or the delivery. But she did recall how they whisked the baby away before she could hear it's first fragile cry. Was it a boy? A girl? Was it healthy? She would never know what it felt like to hold her child, to love and comfort her baby. Her child’s fate would be decided by others. She lay on the cold hospital bed, powerless and alone.
Two days later she returned home to her family. Life continued as normal—work, laundry, fixing dinner. Only her parents and older sister knew what happened, but they were all good at keeping secrets, and no one ever spoke of it again.
Chapter 1
ROUND PEG, SQUARE HOLES
“The world accommodates you for fitting in, but only rewards you for standing out.”
—MATSHONA DHILWAYO
THE BLOOD HAD ALL rushed to my head, and pieces of my long, dark hair brushed the grass. My legs were stiff and my feet started to go to sleep with tingly numbness. Just a few minutes more! I thought. I only had a few minutes before Mom hollered at us to come to dinner, so I clenched the cold metal bar of the swing set with the backs of my knees and hung upside down a bit longer, stretching my torso as far as I could toward the ground.
“Julie! Scott! Diane!” Mom yelled from the back door. For such a small woman, she had amazingly robust lungs. I swung my legs down, crouched for a moment as I waited for my head to clear, then ran up to the house. I’d set the table before going outside, and now everyone was hurrying to sit down in their usual spot for Mom’s casserole.
“You’ve got leaves in your hair again, Julie,” Mom complained, picking the small souvenirs from my hair with disapproval. “Why do you do that? Every time I look out the window you’re hanging upside down!”
“She’s practicing for the circus!” Dad quipped, an unusual joke from his usually quiet place at the head of the table.
“Ha,” my brother, Scott, guffawed. “She’d fit right in!”
“No, I’m not!” I retorted. “I’m stretching. I’m going to be seven feet tall!” At age ten, I was tall and skinny as a porch rail. Not so tall that everyone teased me—that came later—but tall enough that I stood out. I got it into my head that I wanted to be really, really tall, and that stretching upside down on the swing set would help.
“Oh, Julie, you can’t do that!” Mom said sternly—words I’d heard a lot by then. Perhaps because of the price she paid to have children, Mom was always very protective. She herself had been born to a controlling woman who had her first child at age thirty-eight, and she seemed hell-be

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