I refer to him as my "secret brother" because we discovered him by chance.
First, I have to tell you how I found out that I had a secret brother; My parents divorced a few months after I was born. My mother and three sisters lived in Texas, and my father was in California. So one summer, my mother packed up the car, two of my sisters and me (my oldest sister was already out on her own), I was seven, and we drove to California. Her purpose was to confront our father and get him to pay child support. In the '60s and '70s, if a dad wasn't following the court order to pay child support, there was no repercussion.
I can still remember that road trip. Singing songs in the car like you see in movies and stopping at little touristy places along the way. My father lived in San Bernardino, which is East of Los Angeles. We were on the 10-freeway headed to our father's house, and as we got closer, eucalyptus trees lined both sides of the freeway. Those trees are still there, and I mention them because I remember that first visit every time I drive through here. Upon arriving at my father's house, my mother told my two sisters, who were older than me, to go around to the back of the house because my father might try to run out the backdoor. I was surprised that she said that, but she was right! He tried to leave, and he ran into my sisters, lol. When he came around to the front of the house, this would be the first time I ever saw him.
Quickly my father explained to my mother that his Mother-in-Law was visiting, and she did not know that he had an ex-wife and whole other family. He didn't want her to find out, so we stayed outside. I was too young to know all that was going on. I learned that day that he had remarried and had two sons. The oldest son is just two years younger than me.
After shocking the heck out of my father, we drove to a relative's house in a suburb of Los Angeles and ended up staying for a few days. My mother decided we weren't going back to Texas during this time. Yes, we left behind a house full of furniture and personal belongings. My mother wanted a change, and she was miserable at her job in Texas. She was a Legal Secretary, and she found employment right away. We ended up living an hour away from my father's house.
Here is the crazy part; my mother was working for one attorney in a relatively small office. One day she was organizing and cleaning out old files when she came across a file regarding a paternity suit against my father. What are the odds, right? So strange.
Although my mother was surprised to learn that my father had another child, it was during a time that they were not together. They had divorced after having three children, then remarried, had me, and divorced again.
I often wondered about my secret brother but had no way of finding out who or where he was. I never had a relationship with my father and only saw him a few times throughout my life. Then, when I was in my 40's, I received a call from my half-brothers (the ones raised by my father), who informed me that our father was dying of colon cancer.
My three sisters and I began visiting him, and we took turns staying at his house, caring for him. If you're wondering why we would take care of him when he never cared about us, I would have to say that it's a testament to our mother and how she raised us.
During our visits, I would think about my secret brother and the need to ask my father about him before he died. I'm not sure why I was nervous to ask? Finally, one day I let the words out, and he confirmed that we did have another half-brother.
Finding him turned out to be easy, thanks to Facebook. I searched my brother's name, and several men appeared in the search. So, I messaged all of them something like:
I'm looking for "his name," where he was born, how old he would be, and telling him that his half-sisters were looking for him. Over the next week, I started to get responses, but they were all telling me that they weren't him. Then one day, I received a reply, and all the information matched up, and he included additional details about my father that a stranger would not have known. I know you probably think that I could have been catfished, right. I guess so, but he also looks like us, lol.
My brother lived several hours away, so he flew in to meet all of us that very weekend. It was a beautiful and tearful reunion, and my father thanked me for making it all happen. They got to see each other before it was too late and I'm happy about that.
What if we had never gone to California that summer and my mother didn't decide to stay? What if she got a job with a different attorney? We would have never known about him. Oh, by the way, my secret brother knew that he had half-sisters but thought that we all lived in Texas and didn't know how to find us, but he always wanted to. <3