By Bob Letterman, August 20, 2012.
On December 3rd, 2009, when I was 68 years old, I was surfing on a Website for old friends and noticed a guy posting there who I had known in high school. I sent him a message and when he responded, I mentioned to him that I had dated his sister during February and March of 1962, 48 years ago.
He told me that he had forwarded a copy of my email to his sister Sandra, who subsequently emailed me and included her phone number asking me to call. We made contact and she then proceeded to tell me that I was the father of a 47-year-old daughter named Gail that I didn’t even know existed. Of course, this news put my wife Susan of 45 years and me into a complete state of shock.
Sandra told me that after we went our separate ways, she married a man a short time later, only to learn a month later that she was four months pregnant. She told her new husband the truth and they decided to keep it a secret between themselves and to raise the child as their own. A few years later, they divorced and the man kept and raised both my daughter and two other children he and Sandra had later in their marriage, Gail’s half brother and half sister. When the girl, Gail, was 14 in 1977, the man told her that I was her biological father, but that he never wanted to discuss the matter again. My wife and I had moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1966, eleven years earlier.
I continued email and phone contact with Gail’s mother Sandra, and finally decided to contact my new found daughter. It was a scary thing. I finally phoned her on December 7th, 2009. What if she wanted nothing to do with me. However, it was meant to be. Gail and I hit it off immediately! Neither of us had any doubt in our minds that we were father and daughter, but Gail decided she wanted to have DNA tests to eliminate all doubts forever. The results were as perfect a match as possible! 99.99%. It doesn’t get any higher than that. The shared alleles were 16 out of 16. To avoid confusion to the reader, my full name is William Robert Letterman, but I have went by Bob since a child.
Click on image to enlarge.
Gail had actually written me a letter in the late 80s which never got to me. She had sent it to a former place of employment where I had retired and moved on to run a business I had started in 1983. Then later, in 2007, she had found me on some websites including this one and read an interview where I was asked if I regretted not having children. When she read that I had no regrets, she decided not to contact me as she thought I wouldn’t be interested. Was she wrong!!!
I first saw my daughter in person in March 2010 when we met and spent the day getting to know each other. We began to discover what would be an amazing and incredible number of characteristics we had in common. I had always believed the environment was primarily responsible for most of our traits and characteristics. No longer! We are so unbelievably alike. Our interests are the same, our tastes, traits, idiosyncrasies almost identical. We look very much alike. In photos comparing us at the same age, we could have been twins. Since our initial meeting in March, 2010, my new daughter and I have become very close.
We have now have a relationship going on six years, (as of August, 2015), and it’s almost as if we had been together all those years. She, of course, still loves the father that raised her and always will. If she didn’t, I’m not sure I would have the respect I have quickly acquired for her. He did a wonderful job and I am grateful to him for it. We are now very close and my wife Susan and Gail are close as well, and a wonderful new family has developed over nearly six years since we discovered each other. As we live 200 miles from each other, we keep in contact by email daily, a phone call weekly and we get together monthly either at my house or hers or by meeting elsewhere.
I couldn’t be more proud of her and despite all the years lost, we have now a relationship that is strong, loving and lasting. We are both trying to make up for all those years and doing a marvelous job of it!
Here is a recent photo of me, Gail and a good friend at a Mexican restaurant in Houston, Texas.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Here are some photos taken last Christmas at my house, (2014). Gail and her husband of 32 years visit for Christmas every year since we met.
Gail and Susan. Click on image to enlarge.
Poppy and Gail.
Gail and husband Forrest.
To be continued.