"My grandmother has all the dirty little secrets but she's too proper to spill anything, until this one night when she told me about my grandfather's (her husband's) family. Essentially they were poor, living on the streets and trying to earn money during Australia's gold rush. Anyway, the family had too many kids and not enough money so they sold one of their kids to a Chinese businessman; no one knew and she hasn't said anything of it since then."
"My dad was raised on a farm in a small city. A kid they went to school, with let's call him 'Cleburn,' tried assaulting one of his (my dad's) sisters but was caught by their older sister who called the cops. He did almost no time for it and was back in school within three months. My dad said he ended up running him out of town. Last year I was rummaging through my late father's photo books. In there was a news article titled, 'Cleburn Smith found in lake after x weeks missing' and in the blank space of the clipping, it said, 'I'll never forget what you did for me' signed by that aunt. Found out recently the guy actually had taken advantage of her and gotten away with it. His sister didn't catch him and police said they couldn't arrest. I heard I guess the fairy tale version. Can't say I blame my dad, truth be told I'd do the same for my sister."
"I found out over Christmas whilst doing a family history search online that my dad had fathered 2 children by a different woman about 20 years ago. Side note - he and my mother have been married for over 35 years.
The births were registered in the north of England, in the Newcastle area. This rang alarm bells immediately because my dad had worked in this region for 5 years with the company he worked for in the early '90s. I was only a little kid and I missed him so much and so did my brothers and mom, he worked on 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off rotation, so he was always back and forth.
Then I dug a little deeper, just to confirm. I found the children (now grown women) Facebook pages. They still used the last name given to them at birth (our fathers). I didn't contact them because I had a suspicion they'd have no idea they had siblings and my suspicions were confirmed when I contacted their mother on there instead.
At first, I told him I was a 'relative' of my dads and I wanted to know more about any children he potentially had because I was trying to track him down. She confirmed that he was the father of her children after I sent her some details and a photo from that time. She proved it 100% by scanning and sending me copies of the birth certificates and some photos she had of him and their daughters when they were just babies and she told me to call her.
I called her - I can't say I was nervous or anxious about this call but I remember feeling livid. Livid at him mostly, for what he'd done to my mother and us as a family whilst he had supposedly been working hard and 'all alone' up north whilst his wife and children sat on their thumbs in Wales patiently waiting for his return every two weeks for five years.
I told her my name and that I was actually his daughter, his only daughter I thought up until that moment and that I had two other brothers who were older and my parents had, in fact, been married for over 35 years. This poor woman screeched down the phone crying, she never knew any of this. When she met my father it was in a pub in Newcastle about 3 months after he had moved up there. He said he was single and didn't have any family, and was from Wales (but he lied about the area in which he grew up). A couple of months later they were expecting their first born and about a year after that, a second daughter. She said when he went back to Wales every two weeks she thought it was for work-related stuff and that he would call every other evening from a local phone box because he didn't have a landline.
When the daughters were just little kids (the oldest being about 3) he left one day to go to Wales and work and never came back. She tried to contact his company he worked for and they said he no longer worked for them. This was around about the time to my knowledge his 5 years in Newcastle was up, he had left the company and moved back to Wales. Because he had lied about where he lived in Wales, she was unable to track him and now being left with two girls and no job, she had to get on without him.
I haven't brought it up with him obviously because of my mother but Christmas was so difficult for me personally knowing this. For two days leading up to Christmas, I was so out of it and messed up that I slept for 18 hours straight on Christmas day and missed the whole thing. My father was fuming because I'd 'ruined Christmas' and I very nearly then exploded but I kept my mouth shut. Then, on Boxing Day, I got a call again from the mother in Newcastle telling me she had told her daughters very delicately what had happened and that she will leave it up to them to decide what to do. So far, they have done nothing. I have not been in contact with them at all and vice versa since. However, the mother did call me around February time to check in with me and see how I was (she's a very nice woman).
Part of me hopes one day they come knocking on our door - because they know where to go now and part of me doesn't because of my mother. Over the past 7 months, my relationship with my father has disintegrated and is the chief cause of his 'stress.' It's so bad he's telling me it's exacerbating his heart condition (which he is on pills for). My parents are laying it down to some kind of 'mid-20's rebellion' because I didn't have a rebellion when I was a teenager apparently - I just want to kick him in the face every time I see him.
Part of the reason I want them to knock on our door looking for their dad is so that the weight is lifted, but how do you go back from that? My mother is a proud but fragile woman and it will destroy her."
"My aunt (mother's sister) lives in a convent and has for the last forty years. It's a pretty strict convent too, one of those where the nuns never ever leave the convent and spend most of the day in mass.
My parents and my aunts and uncles all grew up in the Belgian Congo, so obviously I love looking at pictures of their youth because they're very exotic. I always noticed that my aunt (the nun) was a very beautiful blond girl, always happy, and a bit of a hippy. In the pictures, she's often talking and having fun with other young adults and never looks anything like the somber, religious woman she grew up to be. Nobody on my mother's side of the family is in any way religious, and even my grandparents were atheists.
When I was about 16, I asked my mother what happened to her that she suddenly 'found religion' in such a drastic way. The story was pretty dark. Her father, my grandfather, was a doctor in the jungle. He lived pretty far from the rest of the colonials and was part of a massive government project that tried to stamp out malaria and other diseases in the less accessible parts of the Congo. So often, he (and my grandmother, who was his assistant and taught the children in the jungle how to read and write) were away for weeks on end as they trekked through the jungle from native village to village. While away, they left the children in the care of their native employees.
On one of their treks, though, the revolution happened. Native Congolese were driving around in pick-up trucks with machine guns, shooting at every white person they saw, hacking people to death with machetes. In the main cities the situation was not all that bad as the Belgian military was there to protect them, but in the remote outpost my grandparents lived there was only a small contingent to protect them. They were very quickly overwhelmed by the massive crowd of revolutionaries and had to pull back to a defensive position, which left the revolutionaries free to attack the houses of the colonials. The employees of my grandparents tried all they could to stop the revolutionaries from entering, but in the end they were all slaughtered with machetes in front of my aunt (my mother and uncle were hidden in a crawling space under the floor, my aunt - who was 16 at the time - was not small enough to fit in there). The revolutionaries then proceeded to assault her for the better part of a day until the Belgian soldiers were finally able to proceed up to the colonials houses and rescue them. They were put on the next plane back to Belgium. My grandparents only came back half a year later, as they were hidden by the natives in the jungle and moved from village to village until they finally were able to find a way out of the Congo.
My aunt was obviously very, very traumatized, and in that first half a year back in Belgium (a country she had never seen before) she got no real support whatsoever from her aunt (my grandmother's sister) who took them in until my grandparents came home, because she was a dirty little atheist that probably deserved everything that she got. She handed her over to the local priest to 'heal' her and 'save her soul,' who then proceeded to work her over and replace her shattered mind with religious dogma and eventually pushed her towards said convent.
When my grandparents came home, she was already a novice. They tried to reason with her, get her to come home, but she barely wanted to speak with them and only tried to convert them to Catholicism too. For the rest of their lives, my grandparents only saw their oldest daughter behind the bars in the meeting room of her convent. They were never again able to hold or kiss her.
My aunt only once came out of her convent (they're allowed only one day 'off' in all their lives), and that was when my grandmother lay dying. They hugged for what seemed like hours and my grandmother cried with joy until the moment she died."
"My mom's side of the family tends to not be very pleasant, thus, my mom keeps my family out of their affairs unless it's a funeral. Because of this, I never knew about a few of my cousins until recently. Turns out I have a cousin who once went out drinking and driving in the winter and hit a car with a young family in it. His stupidity killed the mother, severed the father's legs off, nearly disemboweled the toddler via seatbelt, and shook up the baby. After all of that, my aunt still claims that 'her precious baby boy' is completely innocent and 'God works in mysterious ways.'
I'm pretty happy that my mom never brought us around them."
"My grandpa has Lewy Body Dementia (think Alzheimer's with plateaus instead of a steady decline) and I look after him a lot. I spend on average probably 50 hours a week at my grandparents' house because with his LBD, Parkinson's and COPD, he requires someone there at all times.
He has these 'cycles' where every so often he becomes hyper and lucid, seemingly becoming his old self. In the days before another cycle begins, he starts talking in his sleep. Mainly these dreams are past experiences he is reliving very vividly. He wakes up thinking his dreams are real, so he constantly believes that what was in the past is now.
Well, one day he was ramping up for another cycle and was talking in his sleep as per usual. He's vocalizing his side of his dream, and with a voice full of sorrow asks 'David (grandpa's brother), why did you shoot Daniel (grandpa's son)?' and snaps awake. He asks about Daniel, if he's ok and did he lose his arm. I tell him it's an event long past, and he denies it. He thinks he needs to get up and go see Daniel in the hospital. He starts getting loud and calling me names for stopping him from seeing his own son. I ended up having to sneak a pill into him and he falls asleep shortly after.
Daniel was my grandparents' second oldest child (of 8 children), and he was shot by my grandpa's youngest brother, David. David was 12, Daniel was 11 at the time. My whole life I was told it was an accident and it happened in a cornfield (As in David was shooting into a cornfield and didn't know Daniel was in it). I asked my mom about it, and her face went stark white. She told me he asked about Daniel's picture one day years ago and started tearing up when she said yes. She told him David shot him on accident, and she said grandpa's voice broke as he said, 'If it was David, it was no accident...' and rolled over and cried a long time. When she asked her mom, she was told that of instead of a cornfield, the shotgun was in the kitchen. David grabbed it and went to the porch where Daniel was and shot him point blank while he was sitting in a rocking chair. Back in those days, you had to go town to see/get the doctor, and by the time the doctor arrived it had gone beyond his skills to save Daniel.
I also learned that my great-great-grandfather killed my great-great-grandmother. They were having marital problems because he had a drinking problem. Their families lived side-by-side (adjacent property), so she went to live in her family's house while he sobered up. She still worked in the fields with him and their kids, did all the cooking for both families, etc. After fixing a meal one day she goes out to help finish a row of beans so they can all break for lunch, and my great-great-grandpa asks the kids to go get washed up. He asked my great-great-grandma if she is ever coming back to him, and she says no because he drinks too much and had failed to quit umpteen times. He pulls out his shotgun and chases her into a ditch where he shoots her. My great-grandma saw this and ran through a field of briars and hid at another neighbor's house. After killing his wife, my great-great-grandfather put the barrel in his own mouth and pulled the trigger."
"My parents used to always joke about how 'we picked the wrong boy at the hospital.' I never thought much of it. A year ago (I'm now 17), they told me that when I was born it was almost the same exact time as a boy whose parents abandoned him. The boy was almost the same size as well. Now, you'd think that this would never happen, but I was born in China at a hospital that somehow mixed us two up. Essentially, they weren't exactly sure if I was the son of my parents. My mom looked at the two of us and swore that I was the one, despite the nurses' tags stating otherwise. Genetic tests were (relatively) expensive then and were refused by my mother. They didn't care at the time since there was no parent to claim the other boy.
Now, I'm about to go off to college, and I have no intention of finding out whether or not I'm the biological son. Strange when I think about the other boy though. People always say I do look like my parents though, so I have little doubt that mother knew best."
"After some heavy partying, my aunt on the 4th of July told me two things that no one else knows. My mom got pregnant when she was a senior in high school by a friend and didn't tell him. She graduated in 1970 and had my oldest sister. Fast forward a few years later-she meets my dad, they get married and have 5 more children. We always knew my oldest sister wasn't my dad's daughter, as my dad is white, my mom Mexican, and my oldest sister half-black, but we always considered her our sister, no half-sister conversations. It turns out my grandparents were very ashamed that my mom had been pregnant and unmarried and they all decided the best thing to do was to give my sister up for adoption. When my mom had her, she just loved her and my grandparents also decided they were making the wrong decision with adoption. They had no name picked out, so they named her after the only nurse that showed kindness to my mom. Fast forward 14 years, that sister was acting out (mostly due to my physically and emotionally abusive dad who I still have a complicated relationship with), and she ended up getting pregnant. My dad demanded an abortion, my mom refused, so he took my sister himself. My sister said she miscarried. My mom still doesn't know but my aunt later overheard him at the bar we owned discussing the cost with a regular.
On to number two. So it's 1980, my parents have their 4th child together, 5th total. My sister M is born with partial hearing and some cosmetic birth defects. At the time of her birth, a doctor advised my mom that because of our family history with reproductive issues, she basically needed to throw in the towel and consider herself lucky she had as many healthy children as she did. She got her tubes tied before she left the hospital. A couple years later, she discovers she's pregnant again. Our family in terms of gender at this point is F-M-M-M-F. She tells my dad, who tells her in no uncertain terms to abort. She convinces him to wait until she can see her gyno first, to see if it was even sustainable. Her doctor tells her they'll do an ultrasound, the only time she's ever had one. Everything is normal, healthy, she's almost 20 weeks and it's a girl. She takes the news to my dad, all but that last part. He tells her to abort again, angrily, and she suggests finding out the gender first. She says, 'Is there a way you'd consider it if it's a baby girl? They can tell now on the ultrasound.' He says no, and later that night says, 'Only if it's a boy.' My mom calls my aunt crying, who says 'so tell him it's a boy after your next appointment.' She does, he's thrilled, they have the baby, and it's the first time my dad's allowed to be in the delivery room. They announce 'It's a girl!' and my dad yells at my mom and leaves. He doesn't come back the week she's in the hospital. My uncle does, and since she didn't have a name yet, she asked for his opinion. He said he always thought his name would be cute for a girl. And that, my friends, is why my name is Jeri."
"I have a sister who is four years older than me and a half-brother who is 14 years older than me (from a different father).
My aunt, my mom's sister, sent out an email to the entire family that vented about 60 years of hatred toward my mother. Right at the end of the email, my aunt clearly indicated that my mom had another kid that no one knew about and had given the kid up for adoption. Huge news to my family who knew nothing about this.
I asked my mom about this and found out that the father of the kid was my brother's dad, but my mom and him weren't married when this happened 45~ years ago, so it was looked down upon by others. My mom eventually married my brother's father and had him, but that was a few years later. After they got a divorce, she got married to my dad about 8 years later.
After my aunt sent the email, we found out that she had committed suicide by dousing herself with gasoline, tied herself to a pole in a garden, and somehow managed light herself on fire.
No one is sure where all this came from. She was fine this entire time. She was actually a really funny person, super introverted but had great timing with her humor.
But she did lose her job about 5 years ago; this was after my dad died in a motorcycle accident. My mom had an extra trailer house on the property that didn't have any renters in it so my aunt moved on my mom's property. After she got moved in, my mom finally realized that my aunt was super passive aggressive. Over the years, I think resentment started building up between the two of them. This past spring, there was this big blow-up between the two of them because the aunt 'decided' that she wasn't going to pay the full amount of rent due because she spent money on some yard work instead. My mom, who is living on social security with no income, didn't like being told what she was being paid and basically told her to pay the full amount. The aunt stormed off in a huff and came back with the whopping $25 that was missing from the rent.
Over the next couple of weeks, they didn't speak to each other and things just got really awkward between the two of them. Shortly after that, the email came out.
And this wasn't just an 'I hate your guts' kind of email, it was about 2,000 words of seething hatred just oozing. It went all the way back to their childhood. Every line in the email started with 'I regret-' with something that she had done for my mom's family, like picking my sister up from the airport like 8 years ago, stupid petty things like that.
Suddenly, the email got worse. She essentially said that my dad had killed himself on purpose to get away from my mom and that it wasn't a motorcycle 'accident' at all. Right after talking about my dad was when she dropped the secret baby news on us.
It was extremely emotional for the family to read. I can't imagine how my mom got through it. And then, to top things off, the way she killed herself shortly after sending the email. No closure, nothing. All over $25? It just doesn't make sense."
"When my brother and I were 9 and 10 we basically outed my dad as being gay. At the time my parents had a friend of theirs living with us who was going through a bad divorce and my brother stumbled upon some gay adult films in the house, we were laughing at it because we didn't even understand what it was but my dad got upset and told us it belonged to this woman. Flash forward 6 months and we got our first 'family' computer (this was back when people still used AOL and dial-up), the woman was no longer living with us yet my brother and I kept finding gay adult film on our computer. I'm assuming my father figured we weren't savvy enough to figure out how to do anything but play solitaire so he wasn't that careful. We kept quiet because we weren't sure how to handle it. By the time we were 12 and 13 we started asking our mom (who was still married to him) questions and she admitted that right after I was born (I'm the youngest), he divorced her and left her with both of us to go explore himself. He later came back and they remarried. She knew that he may have been bisexual but thought he was determined to make their relationship work.
By the time we hit our teen years it was obvious he was not bisexual nor was he interested in having a relationship with my mother despite the fact that he did not want to end their marriage. This has led to a rocky relationship with my father. I'm bitter that he kept my mom in a relationship with him for appearances rather than allowing her to find someone who would love and care for her as a husband and wife should. I'm angry at the fact that because I did not grow up with an example of a 'normal' husband-wife relationship, I have difficulties relating to my SO. I'm also upset that growing up, my father was always angry, yelling, and verbally abusive towards me and physically abusive towards my brother, at times it felt like he cherished us and at other times we felt like burdens to him. At least now I understand that it wasn't us but him that he was angry with. I feel that he was bitter about his gender and at the world in general and he took it out on us. Now he's paranoid that we all keep secrets behind his back (like he did to us). If I tell my mother something going on in my life like deciding to go back to school or that I might go out of town with my friends without informing him first, he accuses us of being liars and keeping secrets from him - keep in mind I'm in my mid-twenties, graduated college and no longer live in the same town as he does. Recently we've found out that the entire time I was growing up he was having secret rendezvous with random men so that's a whole new thing to deal with. Honestly, I don't care that he's gay, it's what he has put my mom through. His real gender is no longer a secret, if someone asks he tells them and he will often go on dates, I'm happy that he's finally accepting it, I just hate what he put the rest of my family through to get there."
"I am named after my great aunt. I was told by my mother and my grandmother that she died a few years before I was born in a terrible motorcycle accident. I was also told never to bring up my great aunt's name around my great grandmother as the loss of her daughter still troubled her. Understandable. Nothing was ever mentioned or said and I grew up understanding only the barest of details about her and her passing. A little odd to not know much about the person I was named after, but, whatever.
When I was 24, my great-grandmother passed away. At the meal after her wake, my great uncle begins losing his inhibitions and letting all the family secrets fly out. In passing, he mentioned my great aunt's suicide and everyone at the table solemnly nodded their heads, except for me. 'What suicide?' I asked, 'Gran told me she died in a motorcycle accident.'
'Yeah, that was the cover story,' he replied, 'Your great grandmother was too embarrassed to tell anyone what really happened and she had to explain the closed-casket at her daughter's funeral.'
I came to find out my great aunt was a lesbian and in love with a woman from her university. The other woman felt the same way and they hatched plans to figure out a way to be together without their parents knowing. When my great grandmother discovered their plans, she went mental and sent my great aunt halfway across the country to separate the two. Little did she know that both women had made a suicide pact that if this were to happen, they would shoot themselves in the head, which they did. My great grandmother, in her homophobia, caused two young women, in love, to kill themselves.
Apparently, she never forgave herself for what she did and it haunted her till the day she died.
After I found out the truth, I was first incredulous that my entire family had lied to me about the origin of my name, and second, I was deeply disturbed that to ease my great grandmother's guilt and shame everyone accepted the lie.
Since then, I tell as many people the truth as are willing to listen so that my great aunt's memory is served. Every year since I found out, I have attended Pride, I donate to LGBT charities, I volunteer for LGBT organizations, all in her memory."
"My father is the result of a Nazi taking advantage of his mother in WW2 Croatia. His stepdad tried to kill him many times as a young child, each time his mother would put my father under her skirt to protect him, and threaten to kill herself. My father left home at the age of 15 after being threatened one too many times by family members and others, too ashamed of his origin. Went to Australia to start a new life. I didn't find this out until my late teens."
"So my grandfather is roughly 80 and has five kids (one of which is my father) all ranging from ages 40-50. Well about three years ago, he had a knock on the door, and it turns out that he had a family before he met my grandmother in Iowa and never told anyone.
He had married his first wife in California when he was sent out there in the Navy and had two or three kids with her. He went and got himself deployed, and she apparently left with the kids while he was gone. Being the mid-1900's, he never found them, so he went on a cross-country trip to New York for some reason. Luckily for me, he met my grandmother and had five kids, never telling anyone about his former life.
Well while he was doing this, apparently wife #1 was moving around the country as well, and every couple years, she put those kids in foster homes but then busted them out, had three more kids from three different dads, but kept my grandpa's same last name. So one of the original first kids went on a mission to find my grandpa, found him, and they all came to visit.
The best part is my family is SUPER WHITE TRASH, and they all live in one trailer court owned by my uncle. The new family came, and they just moved right on in, just as white trash as our family. We call them the 'new family' though they're really the old family, and it's like a red neck turf war."
"My family suspects my great grandfather in the murder of my great grandmother.
He had what we suspect were undiagnosed schizophrenia symptoms. Some males in my family have diagnosed similar problems. Their marriage was emotionally abusive. My grandmother, their only child, recounts him being amazingly cold. She's never told me she suspects him, but all her children do. The police recorded it as a botched home invasion and didn't investigate him. They were divorced by that time. Only his old things were missing from the house, and the murder weapon was ruled to be an unaccounted for ax. He continued to have odd relations to the rest of the family coming for Christmas because they didn't have proof. They didn't confront him. A picture of him hangs in my grandmother's house because her mother painted it. It's somewhat haunting."
"My friend's mom was one of a few children from a Catholic school when she was a kid who pressed charges against a priest who was accused of taking advantage of children, 20 years after the fact. During a family Thanksgiving dinner where she had been partying too heavily, she admitted to the whole family that she had never been touched by the priest, nor any of her friends, they just wanted the cash from a settlement. She still has all of the money and I shouldn't know, but my friend told me she did the same thing."
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