Monday, August 11, 2008

The Secret

Wow! I don't know how to start this post. I don't know if I can make any of it make sense to anybody but I will give it my best shot. About a month ago I received a phone call from an aunt of mine who lives out east. The last time I had seen her was at my dads' funeral Was a life time ago, 40 years! In all fairness to her she did not realize that she was my aunt. She did not know that my father was her half brother. She thought that my father was her mothers' brother by adoption. My poor aunt and her brother did not learn the truth until their mothers funeral a number of years ago, which I was unable to attend so I missed the big reveal. Both my brothers and myself did know the truth but were not allowed to address my grandmother as such in order to keep the secret. She was always Auntie to us. Anyway, my aunt had lost track of me and my younger brother and even though she tried to contact my older brother, he keeps to himself. She had found me because one of my friends who grew up in the town my grandmother raised her family was a good friend of my cousin who was a legitimate grandchild. Through speaking to her, my aunt got hold of my phone number and called. She invited me to a family reunion. I went. I learned a lot that I didn't know about my ancestry. I learned who my grandfather was. He was listed as unknown on my fathers' birth certificate. My dad passed away not knowing who his father was yet it turns out he knew his father very well. They were very close. My dad was raised believing he was adopted. His adopted brother was his father. Now you are probably scratching your head and saying "HEY! I thought he was raised thinking his real mother was his sister!" Well yes you are correct. He was also raised thinking his father was his brother and he was raised believing he was adopted. He never knew that his parents were really his grandparents.

Now before you start questioning my gene pool I know that would be a convenient explanation to some of my eccentricities you have to realize that my grandmother was adopted. She was not related by blood to my dads' father. She was 16 at the time she became pregnant with my father. Her adopted parents moved from the small center they lived in to the big city where they could hide the indiscretion. At this time they adopted my father. You have to remember it was a very different time back then. This would probably be a little scandalous now but back then it was very scandalous! Even though my grandmother was adopted, by having an affair with her adopted brother it was a little incestuous. I now understand why all the secrecy. It explained a lot. I am sure my great grandparents were trying to protect their grandson. BTW...I knew my grandfather as an uncle. As you can imagine this all blew my mind.

Now to continue with the story oh no! it is not finished yet! Turns out that my grandmothers' twin sister was adopted by a family who lived down the street. They knew each other and knew that they were sisters so they were close to each other. My grandmothers' twin sister married a brother of my dads father. This needed to be explained to me as I was to meet my dads' real cousins that I didn't know existed.

It turns out that my grandmother did find out who her real parents were. Now this is really wild so don't conk out on me here! My great grandmother came from a very, very rich family from Hungary. She took off with the stable boy. They came to Canada. He was a real rouge. They had many children and lived in a hovel with a dirt floor. He had many affairs and drank and probably gambled as well. A few years after the twins were born, my poor great grandmother could not take it any more and had a nervous breakdown. My great grandfather had her committed into the insane asylum in North Battleford. She lived there until her death. My grandmother and her twin sister were reconnected to their brothers and sisters. I needed to know this because I was going to meet one of their children.

All of this has brought a lot of closure to me. I now know that I am 1/4 Hungarian, 1/4 British and of course from my mothers side 1/2 Norwegian. BTW, that is where all of my craziness comes from. I have seen my family tree that dates back to the 1800's and let me tell you! There was a lot of funny stuff of first cousins marring each other! They sure thinned out the gene pool! Did you follow this? Hahaha!

Uncles and cousins taking pictures of the group.
Hey guys! Would you get in the picture?

That is better!

This guy is my dads' first cousin. He looks a lot like my dad. I don't for the life of me understand how "The Secret" was pulled off. The truth was starring everybody right in the face all those years. I cried when I saw him. Even his ears are the same! He gave me a big hug and said: "Hello cousin!"The red head in the picture is my first cousin. The blond with the sunglasses is my dads' aunts' daughter. Hahaha!

This is my Uncle that I didn't know existed and my aunts husband.
When we met my uncle cried and said: "I am your real uncle!"

This is my aunt that tracked me down and another of my dads' first cousins.
My aunt is so much like my grandmother!

I had a really great time meeting everybody and we plan to stay connected. Everybody was very nice. I am proud to be related to them all. I am looking forward to the next family reunion.


Fluffy said...

And I thought my family history was confusing! I am so glad to hear that you had such a good time.

jientje said...

Ooooohhh, how confusing, I'm not sure I understood it all but the bottom line is that you have found somevery nice people that are related to you, and that you're very happy with that!
Fascinating story!!

Margaret said...

Holy! What a story. I almost felt like I was reading the review of a novel. Isn't it nice that you found all that family. I am so happy for you.

Ken and Jelly Sandwich said...

That is so cool, how exciting to meet new family after so many years.

Sandy C. said...

Like an intricate, winding map! Wow! And I thought my family was difficult to follow. Sheesh! :)

We also have an adopted relative on my moms side, who has a bunch of family and went on to have a ton of children. 'til this day, I still don't know how half my relatives are related to me.

So glad you had this all sorted out :) Sounds like there is some true clarity now.

footsack said...

Wow that was amazing!! I am so happy that you found your family after all of this time.

Eve said...

In tracing my genealogy I have found a few places where the tree doesn't branch as often as expected, too. Seems they like their cousins back then. Perhaps that's where the expression "kissing cousins" got started. I'm glad for you that you are meeting your family.

The Invisible Mo said...

I felt like I needed to draw a diagram to keep up. haha. Very interesting and great for you to know your history.