Please, Please Tell me the Truth; An Excerpt from The Fifth and Final Name

In Which, The Churchill Family is Confirmed

“You were one of my kids,” she said when we settled in there.

“That’s right. I was one of your kids.” I didn’t know how to go about asking what I wanted to know. Inside, I felt like pleading with her: Please, please tell me the truth. If she only knew what I’d been through and how important this was to me, she’d help me. I wanted her to know that there was no one else who could tell me for sure. The importance of the moment was suffocating me. I didn’t know what to do. I kept thinking: The truth…just tell the truth. So I just laid it out.

“Polly, I want to know if you can tell me anything about my dad. I recently found and met my birthmother, but there’s all kinds of confusion about who my dad is, and I’m trying to piece together the whole story. My mom and dad were Jim and Jean­lee Noonan from Tonkawa, Oklahoma. Irene Gafford was my birthmother. She was a hairdresser…one of the DHS workers was her friend. Was that you? There was a big cover-up with the FBI and moving the family to Shawnee. That baby was me.”

Did You Say Churchill?

Polly looked down and with grave seriousness said, “Ol’ Rader didn’t scare easily, but Churchill scared him to death.”

I thought my heart had stopped beating. I hadn’t dared to believe, but could this really be? I wanted to hug her, scream out loud, jump up and down.

“Did you just say ‘Churchill’…as in Randolph Churchill?”

“You shouldn’t be talking about this,” Polly said, and a look of fear came over her face. “You mustn’t tell anyone about this. Somebody’s liable to get hurt. Don’t talk about it.”

“No we’re safe. You’re safe. Everything’s okay, because all those people are gone. They’ve passed away. Tell me what happened Polly…you saw him?”

“Lloyd Rader called me into his office. I thought I was in trouble…big trouble. I was worried. There was a meet­ing. But I wasn’t in trouble. There were papers on the table. Churchill came in, tipped his hat to us and put it on the table. He was there to sign. They were talking about you.” I told her I had suspected this.

“Polly, are you sure you remember this right?”

“I wouldn’t have let myself forget that,” she replied soft­ly. “You shouldn’t be talking about this.” She looked away, as though finished with the conversation.

Meeting Churchill was like meeting Moses

I thanked her—profusely. She replied, “Meeting Churchill was like meeting Moses.”

I was so shocked by what she was telling me, and knew I wanted a witness to everything. I thought no one would be­lieve it. Denna was out in the parking lot and I did not want to interrupt this conversation. I hollered out the door at an aide who was passing, named Shari Wilkins.

Shari came over, and I said, “Please, I need a witness to what Polly is telling me, can you please listen?”

She said, “Yes. Ms. Polly used to work with kids.”Randolph Churchill poses with his 1957 book "What I Said About the Press"

I replied, “I know, I’m one of them,” and asked Polly to please tell me about the meeting again.

Polly retold the story and Shari nodded her head that she had heard. Polly cautioned her, “You must not tell anybody about this. You have to keep it secret. It’s not good, not good…you can’t talk about it. It’s too dangerous. You’ll get in trouble.”

Again, I tried to reassure her, “Polly, everybody’s dead. Nobody’s going to get in trouble. Everyone’s dead that had anything to do with it except you and my birthmother.”

She asked if my birthmother had talked to me about it, and I told her no, which is why I had come to her about it. That was basically the end of the discussion.

I gathered my things, and I walked out of that facility singing the Hallelujah chorus. I could now place Randolph Churchill in the middle of my case!

Read The Fifth and Final Name

The Fifth and Final Name- Memoir of an American ChurchillA book that has raised controversy across Europe, The Fifth and Final Name is now available in the United States in both paperback and hardback. The e-book is also available for Kindle, Nook and iPad. The Fifth and Final Name can be purchased at,, or on iTunes. The audio book is also available to download at

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