Help me to find my boy
FATHER'S Day is bittersweet for former Gympie High student Mark Noffke.
The 49-year-old father of three and grandfather of two found out eight years ago he had become a dad far earlier than he thought: way back when he was a teenage lad knocking about Gympie.
Mark hasn't lived anywhere near Gympie for 32 years, but he has a son about that age who was conceived here.
The thought of that son occupies Mark's thoughts more and more these days and he is now on a quest to find him.
He has no idea where he lives or what his name is, and only a vague idea of how old he might be and who his biological mother is.
Father and son had a shot at finding each other on that day eight years ago, but that evaporated when the details of a phone message were lost.
The story opens circa 1979-1981.
Mark was, to use his own words, pretty wild.
The former Central and Gympie High student had a few girlfriends around that time, and left Gympie when he was about 17.
He was in a production of Oklahoma with the Zodiac Players and says there is a chance his son's mother was also in that production.
Before he left Gympie, between 1979 and 1981, he had a relationship with a young woman he thinks may have had blonde curly hair and whose name may have been Michelle.
But he is not sure.
The son who was born out of that relationship was adopted out at birth and grew into a man without meeting or knowing his biological father.
Eight years ago, possibly upon finding out he was adopted, the son made contact with his biological mother, who then made contact with Mark's mother.
Unfortunately, the details she left over the phone were lost before Mark could follow them up.
"Because I didn't ring up he probably thinks I am not interested," says Mark. "That would be terrible. He might want to find me and he might not."
Since that phone call Mark has developed an acute need to let his son know that he is there for him if he wants to meet him.
"I would have been at high school or just left high school (when it happened)," says Mark.
Finding him won't be easy.
"I rang (the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages) but because I didn't have a name I didn't get anywhere," he said.
"I have been really thinking about it and yearning to let the boy know.
"He may be curious to know about me and I am curious to know about him: the colour of his hair and his eyes. That sort of thing.
"I would just like him to know that if he needs help in any way I will be there for him.
"Who knows where he is? I actually rang my old schoolmates to see if they could help me pinpoint who this girl was."
If anyone can help Mark, he can be contacted on 0422 047 831.