16. Conflicting beliefs.
“My great uncle, who became a Catholic priest at a young age, came out to his parents as an atheist while in seminary. They threatened to disown him if he ever told anyone else, or if he left the seminary (They came from a small town near Boston; I guess it would have been social suicide back then). So he stayed, became an excellent priest, and apparently never told anyone until my dad asked him for advice when he was considering the priesthood as well. He swore my dad to secrecy until he (my great-uncle) was dead, because he was afraid of the impact it would have on his congregation if they found out.
I discovered all this about a year and a half ago, when my dad was extremely drunk and ranting against religion. Completely shook my view of my great-uncle and great-grandparents – they always sounded like the model family, and my uncle was an amazingly peaceful and humble man, didn’t stop working in the community until shortly before his death three years ago. If anything I think it made me respect him more, in the end.”
17. Tough times, I guess…
“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 off the streets and trying to earn money during Australia’s gold rush. Anyways, the family had too many kids and not enough money so they sold one of their kids. He would’ve been my grandfather’s great uncle I suppose. She had kept it secret all this time.”
18. This is awkward…
“My cousin is actually most likely my sister.”
19. Classic mix up.
“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 in the almost 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.”
20. “I made sure he’d never bother her or any other woman again.”
“My mom and I cared for her father as he deteriorated with old age. As his mind went he told stories from the war, from his youth, and about my grandmother’s first husband.
My grandpa had a crush on her before WWII but never acted on it because he was dirt poor. He lied about his age and joined the Navy when he was somewhere between 14 and 16 so he could be respectable. So he could be worthy of her.
While he was away she married a man her parents liked. Her first husband beat her badly, would get drunk and assault her then call her mean names and make her sleep in the barn. She stayed because divorce wasn’t something you did at the time.
My grandpa got back, all snazzy in his uniform, and was told she’d married and where she lived. He showed up to say hello and there she was, a bloody mess. He took her to the Doctor, got her cleaned up, and convinced her to divorce him.
A year later they were married. Her ex kept showing up to harass them.
The story we’d always been told is that her ex finally got the hint and moved away.
The story my grandpa told me, in a lucid moment, was basically this:
‘I hated him for what he’d done to her. I knew he’d never leave her alone. I made sure he’d never bother her or any other woman again.’
I think my grandpa confessed to killing his wife’s ex husband.
What you have to keep in mind is that this was a very rural part of the Midwest in the 40s.”