81-year-old man makes bombshell discovery inside letter hidden by dead wife

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GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (WXMI) -- An 81-year-old Michigan man has discovered that he has a son he never knew existed.

The man had tried having kids all his life but thought it was a life goal he never accomplished.

But a letter sent by the child's mother more than 50 years ago told him of his then 5-year-old son. That man is now 61.

It was a message believed to have been hidden by his wife for decades.

Tony Trapani, 81, said that after his wife passed away, he was cleaning out one of her old filing cabinets when he came across the letter.

Father and son only met for the first time Sunday, and Trapani said he feels like a new dad.

Samuel Childress, meeting he father for the first time, said he spend his life wondering. "I always asked my mom, I said, 'Well what does he look like?' She said, 'Well, go look in the mirror.'"

The letter sent by Samuel's mother back in 1959 is postage stamped on that date.
"I have a little boy," it reads. "He is five years old now. What I'm trying to say Tony is he is your son. He was born November 14th, 1953."

Childress's his mother told him that she had sent the letter but figured his father was ignoring him, he said.

Here's where the story takes a drastic turn. Trapani claims that his wife at the time intercepted the letter and hid it in a filing cabinet for decades while the couple couldn't conceive a child on their own.

"Why my wife didn't tell me," said Trapani. "I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried."

"He's my full son that I've had my whole life, but why my wife hid that letter is beyond me."

Growing up, Childress said, it was his understanding that his father got the letter but didn't want anything to do with him. He grew up in Pennsylvania, with meeting his father was just a distant thought.

"Just to know him now is so important to me. It's going to fill that void," he said.

Father and son are now catching up on a lifetime of memories, making the most out of the time they have left, knowing they can't go back in time or dwell on the secret that kept them apart for so long,

The family is also planning to have a paternity test done just to be 100 percent sure.

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15 comments

  • Joan Vennetti

    Good story! Being adopted myself I understand that kind of wondering. Someday I hope to be that lucky! My adopted parents are fantastic people and I’ve been blessed with a great life. But to meet someone who maybe looks like me, has characteristics similar, Could give me a history of who I am. Would be priceless beyond compare. Someday…..

  • ann

    im glad they met up. Lots to learn about one . My assumption is the wife of as barren and maybe she was worried he would leave her. Or maybe she didn’t know what to do. Times were different. Now it’s a mouse click away.

  • dannyn

    Whoever wrote this clearly did not revise it before publishing. It was a pain to read, I had to go over it 3 times to understand the story… I’m sorry, but horrible writing skills… this entire article needs to be re-written and re-published.

    • angela

      it took you 3 times and you can’t understand it? Your a dumbass!! Lmfao!! Hahahaha!!! Clearly there was a mispelling or two. But if you can’t comprehend r u a idiot…. Your a pain!!! Haha!!!

      • A thinking man.

        Angela, you fail completely as an internet troll. Reading your comment clearly reveals that quite possibly, you may have been the proofreader, or the editor. There was no statement that the article was misunderstood, as you falsely assume. It was intimated that it was rather difficult to read, and as the viewer clearly expected more articulation, rightly so, than was displayed, it took multiple attempts to sort the story. No one said they didn’t finish reading it, nor was their a statement made that the article was summarily unreadable.
        Being a 12 year old and using a computer to insult people you do not know, as you are doing, in no way strips the stereotype you seem to perpetuate.

        *You’re X 3. *r u a?

        Feel free to remove the veil of disrespect you wear, Angela.

      • colleen

        Angela–there were more problems than a few words out of place. Whole ideas were out of place. If the writer had stated up front that the “wife” was not the mother of the child, things would have gone much smoother. It was very difficult to understand.

  • laswan57

    As a woman myself I’d say she hid it out of fear. Maybe she thought he would end up being with the mother and they would be a family and she would lose him. Not only that, she wanted children but not another woman’s.But on the other hand if this were the case I think she would have thrown the letter away. So it’s anyone’s guess. Glad he found his son. Make the best of your time together. I doubt you need to be told.

  • Anne

    I am shocked to imagine that whoever wrote this (1) was hired as a writer; (2) was paid as a writer; and, (3) is now published. I will assume that this person’s boss (1) must be less educated than the writer; (2) does not have a boss; and, (3) suffers daily, not knowing there is a reference book on the subject known as the Dictionary.

  • Justin Thyme

    What a b**ch! This sounds like something my ex-gf would do. She didn’t like my daughter and lied about the things my daughter didn’t do just to get her in trouble. I had to set up a hidden cam to get to truth and the gf was a liar who was jealous of a 10 year old. Crazy women!