Al Lucero Mascareñas edited the description of ADRIFT, How Discovering I Was Switched at Birth Changed My Life at Fifty Thursday, July 7, 2011.
Had I died at fifty my obituary might have read father of five, Army veteran, child of the Sixties, high school dropout, union activist, Mensa member, native Californian, veteran teacher, former Greyhound driver, childcare center director, Forest Service firefighter, and bookstore manager.
That didn’t happen, but eight years ago something a notch down (or up) from it did. I discovered I had been switched at birth. The life I had lived for fifty years was not my own. Like it or not, I had a new filter to use as I revisited my childhood of poverty, abuse, and neglect.
I began journaling the next day. Writing was the best form of expression for me, and it proved to be the only enduring outlet for all the pain and confusion. It has helped me sort things out and in that sense—I hope I’m not being melodramatic here—this book has kind of saved me.
I would make journal entries on whatever was handy—bar napkins, discarded envelopes, torn-open paper bags, waiter's order pads, or those blank pages at the ends of books. I’ve been through about four laptops. I sold one to pay a motel bill in California, one was pawned in New York and I couldn’t get out of rehab to redeem it, and two just broke. I’m writing this summary on my daughter’s desktop. I haven’t replaced my last laptop yet, the one I sold to keep Motel 6 in business.
My world suddenly had been turned upside down, and the ritual of writing became my most steady, sometimes my only, connection with a world that on some cosmic level wasn’t supposed to have happened. Anyway, from all that this book has emerged. I say book, but I have taken advantage of the ebook format with links to family photos, documents, music, glossary, pronunciation guide, and pictures of favorite foods, among other things. There are links to soldiers running, music videos, and maybe a kitchen sink factory. Enjoy it. Peace in the Middle East.