An 81-year-old Grand Rapids, Michigan, man met his son for the first time this past Sunday.
Tony Trapani was cleaning out some filing cabinets, following the death of his wife, when he came across a letter that had been written to him in 1959 by a woman informing him that she'd given birth to his son.
Apparently, his late wife had kept the knowledge of his child with this other woman a secret for over 50 years.
The other woman's letter read:
“I have a little boy.”
“He is five years old now. What I'm trying to say Tony is he is your son. He was born November 14th, 1953.”
That little boy was Samuel Childress, who is now 61 years old.
Trapani and his wife were unable to have children of their own, so Trapani doesn't understand why she kept this secret.
In an interview with Fox 17, he said:
“Why my wife didn't tell me, I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried.”
Trapani seemed somewhat resentful for his wife's decision:
“He’s my full son that I’ve had my whole life, but why my wife hid that letter is beyond me.”
When Childress's mother never heard back from Trapani, she assumed that he wanted nothing to do with them.
Childress spent his entire life thinking that his father had abandoned him:
“I always asked my mom, I said, 'Well what does he look like?'”
“She said, 'Well, go look in the mirror.'”
Despite the fact that Childress did not have his father present for most of his life, he is happy to have met him now:
“Just to know him now is so important to me. It’s going to fill that void.”
For the time being, father and son are enjoying getting to know one another. But they say they'll be taking a paternity test - just to make sure.