An 81-year-old Michigan man has finally met his son.
The Grand Rapids man had wanted to have kids all his life, but thought it was a life goal he never accomplished.
“He’s my full son that I’ve had my whole life, but why my wife hid that letter is beyond me," Tony Trapani told KTLA sister station WXMI.
A letter was sent by the child’s mother more than 50 years ago that told him of his then 5-year-old son. That man is now 61 years old.
It was a message believed to have been hidden by his wife for decades.
Trapani said that after his wife passed away, he was cleaning out one of her old filing cabinets when he came across the letter.
Father and son only met for the first time Sunday, and Trapani said he feels like a new dad.
Samuel Childress was finally able to meet his father for the first time.
“I always asked my mom, I said, ‘Well what does he look like?’ She said, ‘Well, go look in the mirror.'”
The letter was sent by Samuel’s mother back in 1959.
“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 13th, 1953.”
Childress’s said that his mother told him that she had sent the letter, but figured his father was ignoring him.
Trapani claims that his wife at the time intercepted the letter and hid it in a filing cabinet for decades while the couple couldn’t conceive a child on their own.
“Why my wife didn’t tell me, I don’t know,” said a tearful Trapani. "She wanted children. She couldn’t have any. She tried and tried.”
Childress said that while growing up, it was his understanding that his father got the letter, but didn’t want anything to do with him. He grew up in Pennsylvania, and meeting his father was just a distant thought.
“Just to know him now is so important to me. It’s going to fill that void,” he said.
Father and son are now catching up on a lifetime of memories, making the most out of the time they have left, knowing they can’t go back in time or dwell on the secret that kept them apart for so long.
The family is also planning to have a paternity test done just to be 100 percent sure.
A version of this story was originally posted by WXMI in Grand Rapids and distributed by the CNN Wire.