Virginia City man discovers daughter he never knew he had

And now, the rest of the story ....

No, you haven't stumbled across a Paul Harvey column. I just borrowed that phrase from him to get your attention.

Today, we'll visit with Janita Jenkins and she is the rest of our story that we began last Sunday when we visited with Virginia City's Chic DiFrancia. Janita is the daughter Chic never knew he had until just a few years ago.

Janita is 29 and was born in Phoenix, Ariz. She grew up in Albuquerque and that's where she lives now.

"I was adopted when I was two days old by Sam and Madeline Jenkins," said Janita, who just spent five days here in Carson Country.

"They raised me. They are my mom and dad. Dad is an author. He writes non-fiction books. Among the books he wrote was one called 'Mecham - Arizona's Fighting Governor' and dad is also the founder of the United Citizens for Legal Reform. That's an organization that helps people who want to go to court without a lawyer. Mom is retired. She was a dental hygienist."

Janita works for a company called Mortgage Investors. "We do second mortgages," she informed. "I'm the office manager and have been with them 10 years."

Janita has three older brothers who were not adopted. All are married and two, Sammy and Terry, live in Albuquerque.

"Michael lives in Amarillo, Texas," added Janita. "I also have four nieces and three nephews."

That's Janita's family but she wanted to find out about her biological father and it didn't take long for her and Chic to connect.

"I started looking in mid-1995 and it didn't take long, just two months to find him," she began. "I found him through the Internet. Didn't use an agency. His last name was on my birth certificate."

I told her it's a good thing his last name wasn't Jones or Smith or she'd still be looking for him and she and Chic both laughed at that.

"I was married to her birth mom Ann and after we divorced we tried it without the marriage license but that didn't work either," said Chic as he explained why he never knew about Janita. "Ann got pregnant with Janita but I had already left and I didn't know about her. Janita's father Sam called me in September of 1996 and told me I was Janita's biological father and she wanted to talk to me. Of course, I wanted to talk with her and called her that same day and we talked and talked and talked. We've been in touch ever since."

Chic, who is 58, says he "was stunned" when he learned he had a daughter.

"It was a shock and I really was stunned when I found out," said a smiling Chic. "But it was a pleasant shock. One of the nicest things that ever happened in my life."

Chic, who is partners in business and in life with Carol Clifford, made the trip to New Mexico in July of 1997 and that's when Chic and Janita finally met.

"Carol and I went, spent six days there and we got acquainted then," said Chic. "Her mom and dad made us feel welcome. We spent time at their home, went out to dinner with them and we really hit it off."

Janita confirmed that. "It really went well," she said. "It couldn't have gone better."

Janita says she learned she was adopted when she was 14 years old.

"Later I wanted to know my background and history and that's why I searched for - and found - my biological father. Now I can say we're good friends."


On her visit to our area, Janita got the "abbreviated version" of the Virginia City tour from Chic and Carol.

"We had some old-time photos taken and we went to Lake Tahoe too," said Janita happily. "That was the first time I saw Lake Tahoe and it's beautiful. I saw the MS Dixie, took lots of photos and did the same at Emerald Bay and in Tahoe City. We went to Incline Village, to the Ponderosa Ranch and all over. It was fun."

That was just one day of activities for Janita. They also went to the Italian festival in Reno the next day where Janita "sampled" fried artichoke and garlic bread and Janita "gambled a little" too while she was here.

"She won a little money," said Chic with a laugh. "Must be beginners luck. It was a good trip and a good time for all of us and we will do it again."

Janita liked her time here and says the same thing as Chic about her visit.

"It really was fun and went well," she said. "This is our second in person meeting and we plan to keep in touch. By phone and later again in person. We will do it again."

Chic added, "We'll either go there or she will come here again or hopefully, both will happen. Carol and I are working on plans now for our next meeting. We're planning on going to Albuquerque sometime next year but those plans aren't firm yet. We'll know more in a few months."

Janita is back home now and it was fun visiting with her and Chic and learning their story. It sure is different than most and that is "The Rest of the Story."


Tonight on our Street talk TV Show on CAT-10 we'll rebroadcast last weeks show called "Virginia City, Nevada, A Trip Through The Town Trapped in Time" that Chic provided and narrates for us so if you missed it last weekend, you can see it at 6 p.m. tonight or at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

ALAN ROGERS is a Nevada Appeal columnist. His message phone is 887-2430, ext. 402.


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