Losing His Wife
He felt the pain and anguish that came with losing someone he’d spent most of his life with. Tony Trapani was lost without his wife, but he had to keep chugging along. But when he was faced with going through her things, he could never have been prepared for the letter he found.
Tony delicately opened the letter and read its contents. But Tears soon spattered the old paper as he broke down in a sobbing cry.
When Tony read the letter, he couldn’t believe the words that his wife had written on that page back in 1959. In that letter, Tony made a discovery that he would never have believed possible before reading it.
For more than five decades his wife had kept a secret from him, and now the truth was finally coming out.
The Perfect Couple
Tony Trapani and his wife Vera had been together for more than 60 years. They were the very image of the perfect couple, and the prime example of what people say about the type of relationships our elders used to have back in their day.
They seemed to be an unshakable and inseparable unit. They often joked about how they could read each other’s thoughts. Or at least, that’s what they thought.
For everyone who saw them from the outside, it seemed like there were no secrets between Tony and Vera. They were completely non-judgemental about each other, and seemed to understand each other to perfection.
But above all else, there was something that they said was the secret to the lengthiness and peace that characterized their relationship.
They just didn’t sweat the petty stuff. No one that knew them, not even their closest relatives, remembered ever seeing them fighting or even arguing.
They seemed to live in complete harmony with each other; even if they disagreed about something, they always were able to find a happy middle ground. However, like every couple, they had their own frustrations and hardships.
During their marriage, Tony and his wife had only ever wanted to have one thing, children. However, this was sadly not possible as his wife could not conceive. This discovery left them heartbroken.
As a result, the couple remained childless. Eventually, they came to terms with it; but the shadow of what could have been kept coming back to haunt them every now and then.
Coming To Terms With It
But still, they kept carrying on with their lives, and came to accept the fact that each other’s company was good enough.
Truth be told, they were genuinely happy in their marriage. Even though they didn’t have kids, they shared a bond that most people can only dream of, and that was their legacy. But one day, the Trapanis were struck by tragedy.
After the couple began approaching their 90s, their health started to deteriorate, especially Vera’s. It was a really painful process for Tony to see.
Seeing Vera lose her former vitality and strength by the day was absolutely heartbreaking for her husband. They both knew what was coming. They cherished their days together, hoping that the end would take a few more months to come.
Taking A Turn
Tony’s life took a turn after his wife passed away as the result of the long illness. Even though he had been preparing for this for months, it was a tremendous blow to Tony.
For the following days, he became a shadow of his old self. After a life together, he couldn’t even conceive of an existence without Vera.
Even living in the house they had shared for decades was too painful. Every corner, every piece of furniture, reminded him of this or that moment she lived with his wife.
Tony spent the first few weeks after Vera’s death reminiscing about the past. Scenes from their youth, adulthood, and most recent years kept replaying in his mind. He began through his wife’s belongings, and that’s when he found something that changed the way he saw Vera forever.
He was going through his wife’s filing cabinet when he stumbled across something among their pictures together, trinkets and other stuff she kept in there.
There was a well-hidden letter. The paper was yellow and looked quite old, and there wasn’t a name on the envelope. Intrigued, Tony couldn’t help but open the enigmatic letter that would change his life forever.
Message From The Past
The postmark on the letter was from March 1959, and the letter had been to him. Tony was curious as he had never seen the letter before in his life. Tony carefully opened it and his eyes darted back and forth across the page.
He sat in silence as he read the secret she had kept from him.
The letter read: “Dear Tony, I bet you are surprised to hear from me after so many years. I was just thinking about you tonight like so many other nights. But I thought I would write to you and find out how you are.”
The message wasn’t from his wife but from a girl he had dated before he married his wife.
The following paragraph turned his world upside down as he read his ex-girlfriend’s words, “Tony, please don’t be angry or surprised to hear this. I have a little boy. He is five years old now – gray eyes and beautiful black hair. What I am trying to say, Tony, is he is your son.”
Tony was dumbstruck.
The letter ended, “Please, Tony, if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, please come and see him. Every day he asks me where is his daddy and believe me, Tony, I can’t even answer him anymore. I would be forever grateful to you if you would just see him. I’ll close now, hoping and praying you will answer.”
Tony and his family all believe that his wife had found the letter and read the contents. She had then decided to keep the truth from him and hid the letter behind the drawer. Now that he knew the truth, Tony set out to find the son he didn’t know he had.
However, Tony had no idea that there would be more revelations along the way.
The family started by searching for the name he had been given in the letter. His girlfriend, Shirley Childress had told Tony that her son was called Samuel Duane.
Tony’s sister, Arlene Schulte, had a brilliant idea. She began to search for connections to the child using Facebook. And eventually, she found out about someone.
Samuel Duane Childress, meanwhile, had grown up in Pennsylvania and had often spoken to his mom about his absent father. It wasn’t easy for him growing up without his dad in his life.
As he told Fox 17 in January 2015, “I always asked my mom… ‘Well, what does he look like?’ She said, ‘Well, go look in the mirror.’”
And Childress knew that his mom had written to Trapani, telling him that he was the father of her then five-year-old boy. However, she didn’t receive a reply to her plea to meet with him.
She therefore assumed that, even though the letter had been delivered to its intended recipient, the father of the kid, Trapani had rejected his son.
Indeed, the idea of ever meeting his father remained a distant hope throughout Childress’ youth. But that all changed when Trapani’s sister connected with her nephew’s wife on Facebook.
Soon, the long-lost father and son would meet for the very first time after being apart, and even unaware of each other’s existence, for all their lives.
Childress, now 63, met Trapani for the first time on January 19, 2015. And, understandably, the meeting was an emotional one – not least because the son had believed that his dad had forever turned his back on him.
Childress would tell Fox 17 at that time, “Just to know him now is so important to me. It’s going to fill that void.”
For Trapani, meanwhile, it was the opportunity to bond with the child he and his wife had always longed for but could never conceive.
The visibly emotional man told Fox 17, “He’s my full son that I’ve had my whole life, but why my wife hid that letter is beyond me.” However, after reflecting on the matter, he found some possible explanations.
It took Tony months to understand why Vera could have done something like that. Why would she keep his son away from him? How had she been able to keep up her front for so long?
At first, Tony felt betrayed by his late wife. But in time, he came to understand why she could have kept that hidden from him.
Maybe the discovery made her too aware about what could have been her own shortcomings; maybe she thought it was her fault that they couldn’t have any kids
And finally, maybe she was afraid that Tony would end up wanting to get back with his former lover, as he had given him what Vera hadn’t been able to.
As time passed, Tony began understanding more clearly how the news that he had a son with some other woman might have made her feel insecure. He forgave her and decided that the best thing to do now was to get to know his long lost son.
The two of them began seeing each other regularly, talking about their life stories. In one of their first conversations, Childress told Tony something that made his heart sink.
He Was In Jail
Childress had spent some years in jail. He got involved with the underworld when he was just a teenager. It wasn’t easy for him growing up without a father figure or a man by his side that he could look up to and learn from.
Bad choices and bad company ended up leading him to a federal prison. Now, he was fully rehabilitated. But Tony understood something.
If Only Things Had Been Different
If he had been in Childress’ life when he was a kid, he would have probably never taken that path. Tony regretted how the situation played out, and felt guilty about his role on it, even though he had been left in the dark.
However, all of a sudden, one possibility crossed his mind that made him rethink everything.
Could He Be Sure?
Could he really be sure that Childress was really his son? After all, he didn’t have any proof. Maybe they shared a few traits, like the color of their hair and their eyes.
But was that really enough proof that Tony’s former lover’s son was also his? There was only one way to find out.
A Paternity Test
The only way to determine for sure whether Childress was really Tony’s son was a paternity test. Trapani told Childress about his concerns, and he agreed to take the test.
After all, he wanted to be sure, and he would rather remain fatherless than live a lie and believe Tony to be his dad when he really was not. So they both took the test and waited for the results to come.
A few weeks later, they received the test results; and as it turned out, they were not related at all. However, they decided to maintain a relationship with each other.
“They’re keeping that bond,” said Donna, Childress’ wife. “That paper doesn’t mean anything to him. That bond has been made – and we’re going to move on from here.”
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.