Tony Trapani was married to his wife for 50 years before she passed away. The couple always wanted children; however, it was not to be. Tony’s wife could not conceive children, so for 50 years, it was just the two of them. This was tough for Tony, but he loved his wife, and he was happy his whole life.
Cleaning Out the File Cabinet
When Tony’s wife passed away, he had the task of going through all of her things. When he got to the filing cabinet, he found a letter that was very well hidden. It was addressed to Tony with a postmark of March 1959. He had never seen the letter before. It contained a life-altering secret that his wife kept from him for over 50 years.
The letter was from a woman who Tony had dated before he married his wife. In the letter, she asked how Tony was doing. She told him that she was thinking about him the way that she did most nights. He couldn’t believe that this letter existed. It was the second paragraph that threw him for a loop. She wrote that she had a 5-year-old son with black hair and gray eyes, and Tony was his father. She wrote that she was sorry from not telling him and his son asked about him all the time. She asked if Tony would please agree to meet his son. Tony’s family assumed that his wife got the letter first and read it. Not wanting Tony to know about his son, she hid the letter away.
Searching For His Son
Now that Tony knew the truth, he wanted to find his son. With a little help from his family, Tony started his search for his son. They started with the woman who had sent him the letter. Her name was Shirley Childress. His son’s name, Samuel Duane, was also included in the letter. Tony’s sister, Arlene Schulte, started searching for Shirley, Samuel, or other potential relatives on Facebook.
Samuel Duane Childress
Samuel grew up with his mother in Pennsylvania. He says that he often asked his mother about his father. When he asked what he looked like, she told him to go look in the mirror. Samuel knew that his mother had written Tony a letter to tell him that he had a son. He assumed that Tony got the letter, but he wanted nothing to do with his son or his mother. Growing up, he lost all hope of knowing his father.
An Emotional Meeting
On January 19, 2015, thanks to Facebook and Tony’s sister, the 83-year-old was finally able to meet his son. Samuel says that it was an emotional meeting. He was finally going to meet the father who he thought had turned his back on him all those years ago. He knew that the meeting would fill a void that he had his entire life. For Tony, it was the opportunity to bond with a child that he wanted his entire life. He says that the reason that his wife hid his son’s existence was beyond him; however, he was thrilled to meet Samuel.
An Instant Bond
When Tony asked how he felt when he first met his son, he said that it was the same way that a parent first feels when they see their newborn child. They both say that they felt an instant bond. They knew that they were father and son, but they both wanted proof.
Neither man wanted to rely on the information in the letter, so they both agreed that it was best to take a paternity test. The men took the test, and for the next two weeks, they spent a lot of time together, getting to know one another. On February 2, 2015, the test results had come back. It was negative. There was no chance that Tony and Samuel were father and son. Both men were devastated.
An Unbreakable Bond
Regardless of the results of the test, both men still felt a strong bond. Because of this, they decided to continue their relationship. Samuel chose not to continue his search for his biological father. He spent his life looking for a father figure, and he found one in Tony. Both men say that genetics don’t matter. They feel a father/son bond, and that is all that matters.
A Roller Coaster Ride
From the time Tony’s wife died, his life had been a roller coaster ride, complete with up’s and down’s. After his wife of 50 years died, this man discovered a letter she’d kept hidden the whole time. As if this weren’t enough, he found out that he had a son. Not soon after, he found out that his son wasn’t his son. It was a lot for Tony to handle, but in the end, he got the son that he always wanted, even if genetics said otherwise.