These lovely people are my parents way back in 1961. We were at a family reunion of the Keller family in Gibson City, Illinois. Mom looked like she wasn’t having a bad time. I’m not sure about Dad – somehow he looks like he would rather be somewhere else. LOL
My mom was a traditional wife and mother. She stayed at home with my sister and me off and on until I was 11. Then she went to work as a cashier in a store across the busy street that crossed our street. She could walk to work and she loved it. I loved it because she gave me her credit card to buy school clothes.
Mom had a younger sister who was in an abusive relationship and didn’t much care about getting out of it. Now Mom, one with absolutely no love for any sort of abusive behavior and NO PATIENCE WITH SOMEONE who would take the abuse and go back for more, put up with a lot from her sister. And her sister committed the NO-NO of the 1950s and got pregnant by some guy at a restaurant where Mom worked part-time – this was when I was 3 or 4.
Needless to say, the guy wasn’t marrying anybody. And he swore he would get all his friends to testify that she slept with them all if she tried to prove paternity. This was back before the magic of DNA testing. And that DNA testing has been the JOY of my life.
Mom was the kind of woman who care way too much WHAT THE NEIGHBORS THOUGHT. Probably because she was judgmental and nosy along with the rest of them. I remember thinking, as a teen-ager, how Mom would look out the windows of our home, not to admire the pretty day, but to see what the neighbors were up to. We lived on the most boring street in town, so there wasn’t much excitement.
So there’s my mother’s attitude toward unmarried mothers and abusive people, and that’s the reason I have two new family members since 2018.
One of them I knew about. I was in college in 1971 and phoned my mom for some kind of moral support during a nasty relationship with a guy who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. I call him the skirt chaser. He was more of a skirt catcher. Long story short, when I phoned Mom, I didn’t get the advice I was looking for that day. Instead, I could tell by the tone of Mom’s voice that there was a MAJOR PROBLEM GOING DOWN. I asked her what was wrong. And I hear “Your sister (notice she is now MY SISTER and not HER DAUGHTER) had a baby last night and I had to go get the girls.
I think that if we had paid attention, we would have assumed she was pregnant. She started wearing baggy tunics and complained about how much weight she was gaining. She was huge. I’m sure Mom suspected she was pregnant. Mom was a sharp lady. Sigh. Well, that was the day I found out that I had a nephew who wouldn’t be staying in the family, just like my aunt’s daughter didn’t stay in the family.
It was different with my aunt’s daughter because she was with the family for almost 3 years before my grandmother had the local minister and his family take her. Her stepfather was so abusive, he’d started in on the baby and Grandma wasn’t going to let that continue. It was a horrible wrench to have Cindy GONE after having her with us. She was the baby my sister and I played with and she was CUTE and then SHE WAS GONE.
My nephew was adopted immediately after birth. I guess my sister wasn’t at all happy about it, but she had two children from her first marriage and she couldn’t take care of them. Not that she particularly tried. My sister has always been, shall I say, a bit self-centered. I am trying to be polite here.
So my nephew was gone. There was still trauma being experienced at the old homestead because 5 years before that, my sister had her first experience of an unwanted pregnancy with her “boyfriend” and he didn’t want to marry her but finally did because his uncle forced him to. My mother ended up in the local psych ward over that little adventure. The shame was too much for her to handle.
Sigh. I sigh a lot. Anyway, there was a history here of getting accidentally pregnant. I can’t tell you how much that helped me when I became sexually active. Whew. There would be no unwanted pregnancies coming from this girl. No way in hell I would put myself through the ire that was Mom.
A few years went by – 7 to be exact. I didn’t see much of my sister and her kids, thank God. She had a horrible habit of stopping by my parents’ house and staying for flipping hours. I had moved back home after dropping out of college and I had depression issues. I was there at the house and, if Mom and I wanted to go shopping or something, before we could get out of the house, here comes the brigade of noise and bitchiness.
I moved in with my soon to be husband in August of 1978. We moved into a nice duplex and my sister decided to start dropping by whenever. One night, while she’s rambling on non-stop about people I don’t know and stuff I don’t care about, we missed her daughters. They were then 12 and 11. Imagine. My soon to be husband found them in THE CRAWL SPACE UNDER THE HOUSE. Now what kind of odd ducks are those? Would you go to someone’s house and EXPLORE THE CRAWL SPACE? I was all for nailing it up and leaving the little shits down there until they started screaming. Then I would get out the Raid. LOL
So that was the kind of “visits” my then husband and I avoided at all costs. Sometimes we would pretend to be sleeping or not at home. Anything to stop the constant boredom of listening to the same old schtick over and over and over and putting up with hellions running all over the house. We had nice things, my husband being European and liking objects d’art. They only broke a few things before they were banned permanently. Sigh. Here I go again.
Anyway, back in May of 2018, I got a message from a lady asking me if she could see my family tree because she thought she was related. I said sure and gave her permission on Ancestry to see it. I didn’t think anything about it, because I do have a lot of undiscovered family.
I have a cousin who also had my sister’s condition of always getting pregnant. She did it 17 times and her children were sold for cars and cash. I can’t say Mom thought a great deal of her “niece” who was only 2 years younger than her.
After a month or so of this lady looking at my family tree, I received an email through Ancestry for a young lady who said she was looking for her family and her friend was helping her. She too wanted to look at my family tree. I had no problem and granted her permission.
Right after I gave the young girl permission to view my family tree, her friend contacted me via Messenger video call – which I missed because I HAD NO IDEA YOU COULD DO THAT. I wrote back to her immediately and she asked me my sister’s name and age in 1978, if I was willing to share that information. I did. And she asked me if I knew a man from Champaign. I did know him.
After about 5 minutes, we figured out that the young girl looking for her family, is my niece. And not just my niece, but a niece I knew absolutely nothing about. I had no idea that my sister had a child in 1978, 3 days before my first wedding. To be fair, the wedding was a bit of a distraction. Not because it was a large and expensive wedding or anything, but because it was a WEDDING and I had to have a dress (got one for $15) and a cake and stuff like that.
My sister and her two daughters came to my wedding. I noticed nothing about my sister except that she was relatively normal. The kids were subdued, which should have been a clue for me. They were NOT EXACTLY quiet young ladies. So there you go. I found out in 2018 that I had not one nephew somewhere in the country, but a niece also. And I found out that my niece, while wanting to know her background, did not want to know her birth mother. Her parents were fantastic people and she had a brother and a family all of her own.
I was thrilled to find that she looks more like me than my sister. It made me feel CONNECTED in a way that I needed at the time as my only child was in the middle of a major psychotic episode AGAIN and would not allow me to visit him. I had spent all of the last 23 years doing only what can be called kowtowing to my child – guilt will do that to you. As far as I was concerned, his illness was MY FAULT. His father had passed away in 2014 and he was the one our son would talk to – nicely when he was psychotic and snottily when he wasn’t. Dad wasn’t there to insulate me from the pain of having our son turn on me, yet again. I was in BIG trouble because now his turning on me took on dangerous implications. I needed a connection with someone.
I gave my niece the information she needed and we stay in touch. I don’t want to push myself on her as I was not there during her formative years. I just happen to be a stranger who shares her DNA. And I explained to her about her older brother and the treatment her two half-sisters and one half-brother experienced at the hands of their mother. I explained about the abuse that wasn’t known – or if it was, my mother didn’t do anything about it. I think that, if she had known, she would have, but I can’t be sure. I didn’t know until Mom died, when my eldest niece told my father and I how abused they were and how they were afraid they might die from being beat ………………… how horrible it was. I should have known. I suffered at the hands of my sister’s physical abuse also. But I was an adult and I took her down.
I remember one incident of her attacking me as an adult and I gave her as good as I got – or better. She never tried to hit me again. Which was a good thing for her because I had eaten all the shit I was going to eat off of this supposed sister. She had created problems in our family from the time I can remember. Always fighting with Mom, always running to Dad and telling him tales. Always blaming everyone else for the bad things that happened to her – she’s never changed. And after Mom died, when I thought there might be a chance that we could at least communicate – I found out that she was trying to force my father to sell his home to her for half it’s value – even though he had no money, no assets but the house and had helped her from 1970 when she had to come home because her husband kicked her out ……………….. she still wanted to screw my father.
That was it for me. I got rid of her and her influence over Dad, I brought him to live with us – after all, I was the daughter who helped my parents – not the one who constantly needed HELP. I told my “sister” to take a flying leap and that was that. After Dad died, she tried to force me to probate his will. LOL. Super funny – her boyfriend’s daughter was an ex-judge and assisted her in getting Dad’s money put in trust FOR HER and basically emasculating my father and THEN gets the trashy bint to try to force me to probate a will in ANOTHER COUNTRY with no assets. LOL. Stupid stupid woman.
Fast forward to last week. I get a message from my niece that I will have a new DNA match. She got him and SURPRISE he is her half-brother. Surprise – he is my nephew. He’s 50 now and I am so happy he FINALLY TOOK THE DNA test because he found us and we found him. He is the spitting image of my grandfather and my male cousins and my father. He is a wonderful man, a proud father and he is the kind of person you want in your family. I told him that I know it is hard to accept, but the life he has had is much better than the life he would have had. And now, I have TWO. I have a niece and nephew I can communicate with – unlike my other nieces and nephew who are poisoned by their mother’s nasty personality. I have family.