GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – An 81-year-old Michigan man learned that he was a father after recently discovering a letter that lay hidden for more than 60 years.
Tony Trapani, 81, said he had always wanted children, but he thought it was a goal that had eluded him forever.
After Trapani’s wife died, he was cleaning out one of her old filing cabinets. He discovered a letter written more than 50 years ago that his wife had intercepted and hidden in the cabinet, Fox 17 in Michigan reported.
The letter, which was postmarked in 1959,was sent by a woman Trapani had known in the 1950s. “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.”
From the information in the letter, Trapani was able to track down Samuel Childress. The father and son met for the first time last Sunday.
Childress, now 61, said he spent his life wondering about his father.
“I always asked mom, I said, ‘Well, what does he look like?’ She said, ‘Well, go look in the mirror.’”
Childress said his mother told him she sent the letter, but she guessed that his father was ignoring him.
Trapani said he isn’t sure why his wife hid the letter, but she may have been jealous.
“Why my wife didn’t tell me?” he said. “I don’t know. She wanted children. She couldn’t have any. She tried and tried.”
The father and son are now catching up, trying to share a lifetime of memories and making the most of the time they have left together.
“Just to know him now is so important to me,” Childress said. “It’s going to fill that void.
The two plan to get a paternity test to be 100 percent certain of their relationship.