Tony Trapani had tried to realise his dream of becoming father his entire life but it was a goal he never accomplished.
Unbeknownst to him, the Michigan man, had a son who was growing up almost 500 kilometres away in Pennsylvania.
The chance discovery of a letter written to Trapani by an ex-lover more than 50 years ago has reunited the father and son for the first time.
It is believed that Trapani’s wife of 60 years hid the letter for him for decades. He only discovered the message after she recently passed away, coming across the letter whilst cleaning out her belongings.
The letter was sent by the boy’s mother in 1959, according to the postage stamp.
“I have a little boy,” it reads. “He is five years old now. What I’m trying to say Tony is he is your son. He was born November 14th, 1953.”
The little boy named Samuel grew up believing that his father knew of his existence but was ignoring him, as that is what his mother had told him.
“I always asked my mom, I said, ‘Well what does he look like?’ She said, ‘Well, go look in the mirror,” Samuel says.
But Trapani claims his wife must have intercepted the letter and hid it. The couple had tried to conceive their own child to no avail.
“Why my wife didn’t tell me,” said Trapani. “I don’t know. She wanted children. She couldn’t have any. She tried and tried.”
“He’s my full son that I’ve had my whole life, but why my wife hid that letter is beyond me.”
Thankfully this story has a happy ending as Samuel, now aged 61, met with his father for the first time on Sunday.
“Just to know him now is so important to me. It’s going to fill that void,” Samuel said.
Trapani says he now feels like a new father. The 81-year-old is busy catching up on a lifetime of memories with his son and together they are making the most out of the time they have left.
The pair say they will not dwell on the past or the secret that kept them apart for so long.
The family is also planning to have a paternity test so they are 100 percent sure.