Searching For My Speyrer Family

by Matthew Z. Dolle

My name is Matthew Zachariah Dolle. I was born in Austin, Texas on April 8, 1974 the son of Alfred C. ``Chuck'' Speyrer, Jr and Sharon M. Dolle. Following a move to Oklahoma and later a divorce between my parents, when I was only two or three years of age, my mother remarried and moved to Denver, Colorado. Because my mother had sole custody of me, I lived with her, my step-father, and my half sister.

I never saw or heard from my father, grandfather (Alfred C. ``Nick'' Speyrer) while growing up in Denver. In October of 1985, at my request, my mother had my name legally changed to Matthew Zachariah Speyrer to Matthew Zachariah Dolle (Dolle was her family name). It was very strange to me to have the name of a family of whom I knew absolutely nothing. I only remember very slight details about my father from when I was two years old. In 1986, when I was 12 years old, my mother and step-father divorced and my mother chose to move to Lubbock, Texas to be near her parents and family.

On Fathers Day in 1990, my mother hosted a party in honor of her father and her three brothers. During the party, I realized that I was the only one in the family who couldn't say Happy Fathers Day to my father or grandfather. Throughout childhood, I had only seen one picture of my father (when he was in high school) and had known very little about him or the Speyrer family. Later that night, however, I confronted my mother, asking her to tell me in detail everything she could think of about him and my grandfather. Although hesitant, she told me quite a bit about him, including custody arrangements, etc.

The following evening, I decided on the spur of the moment to try to reach my father and/or grandfather. I began by calling dIrectory assistance in Austin, Texas. They had no listing for my father, Chuck. I then called directory assistance for the most obvious of Louisiana locations, New Orleans. I asked for a listing of Alfred Charles Speyrer only to find out that there were over a dozen Speyrers and none was the one I wanted. I knew all Speyrers must be related and remembered my mother telling me that the Speyrer family was relatively large; therefore, I asked for the first Speyrer listing the operator had and decided I would call that person.

The name was David Speyrer. I called and explained that I was trying to locate Nick Speyrer. He said he was unsure, but that his father (Nick's brother, James) would be able to reach him. He gave me James' phone number and so I called him.. Uncle James was very cautious of giving me much information. After all, it's unusual to receive a call from a stranger who claims to be your brother's long lost grandson. Uncle James refused my request for Nicks's phone number, however he offered to call Nick and explain to him my interest. He told me he would give Nick my phone number and let him decide what he wanted to do. I gladly agreed with his plan of action. Uncle James then called his brother Nick and told him that somebody named Matthew Dolle was trying to reach him. Nick hung up the phone and pondered the name ``Matthew Dolle.'' Because he know me years ago as Matthew Speyrer, my name didn't automatically click in his mind. After realizing that Dolle was my mother's family name, my grandfather Alfred called me and we excitedly had a telephone conversation which lasted several hours.

With great anticipation, I came to Grand Coteau that summer to meet my grandfather for the first time that I can remember. In the summer of 1992, I moved to Grand Coteau and have lived here ever since.

As it turned out, my father and step-mother moved back to Oklahoma where they currently reside. In 1980, my father and step-mother gave birth to my half-sister, Kristina Speyrer, whom I only met in 1990.

In the last few years I have met many of the members of the Speyrer family, but I know I have many more to meet. I would like to say, thank you, to all of you who have accepted me as a member of the family. I hope to meet more of the family in the future.

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