By Ashleigh / Dec 13, 2022
A Tough Time
Losing a loved one is never simple, no matter the circumstances. Tony Trapani was left with the responsibility of sorting through his wife’s belongings and cleaning out her filing cabinet after she passed away. He then discovered a letter from 1959.
Tony sobbed as he read the letter. His entire universe fell to pieces.
Tony read the letter and was astounded by what his wife had written on that page in 1959. Tony discovered something in the letter that he had never considered possible before reading it.
His wife had kept a secret from him for more than 50 years, and now the truth was actually coming out.
They Were Perfect
Vera and Tony Trapani had been married for more than 60 years. They were the epitome of the perfect pair and the best illustration of what people mean when they remark about the kinds of relationships our grandparents had in their day.
They gave off the impression of being a solid and cohesive team. They frequently made jokes about each other being able to read minds. At least, it is what they believed.
There didn’t appear to be any secrets between Tony and Vera to anyone who observed them from the outside. They seemed to comprehend each other perfectly and were wholly non-judgmental of one another.
Above all things, though, they claimed that there was something that was the key to their relationship’s longevity and tranquility.
They simply weren’t bothered by little issues. Nobody who knew them, not even their nearest family members, had any memory of them ever fighting or even bickering.
Even when they argued, they were able to come to a joyful compromise, so they appeared to live in perfect harmony with one another. They did, however, experience their own struggles and frustrations, just like every marriage.
Tony and his wife have always wished to have children during their marriage. Sadly, his wife’s inability to get pregnant made this impossible. They were devastated by what they learned.
The couple so continued to be childless. They eventually accepted it, but every now and then the possibility of what might have been kept coming back to taunt them.
It Was Enough
However, they persisted in living their lives as usual and eventually realized that being in each other’s company was sufficient.
They were actually content in their marriage, to tell the truth. They didn’t have children, but they did share a closeness that most people only get to experience once in a lifetime, and that was their legacy. But disaster struck the Trapanis one day.
The couple’s health began to decline as they neared their 90s, particularly Vera. Tony found it to be a really upsetting experience to witness.
It was distressing for her husband to watch Vera gradually lose her previous vigor and energy. They both anticipated the outcome. They treasured their time together and wished that it would last a few more months.
After his wife’s terrible sickness and death, Tony’s life changed dramatically. It was a huge blow to Tony even though he had been waiting for it for months.
He diminished to a shadow of his former self during the next few days. He was unable to imagine himself without Vera after spending his entire life with her.
It Hurt Too Much
Their shared home of many years was too traumatic to live in. Every room, every piece of furniture, brought back memories of her time spent with his wife.
Tony reflected on the past for the first few weeks after Vera’s passing. His memory continued playing back scenes from their youth, adulthood, and most recent years. When he started looking through his wife’s stuff, he discovered something that forever altered his perception of Vera.
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.”