Juicy family secrets you learned as an adult?

My grandparents were dyed-in-the-wool fundie Utah Mormons. As a kid, I sometimes got the feeling there were things I didn’t know about them.

In my late twenties I got the story:

-Grandma had pre-marital sex and got pregnant ca. 1924.

-She and grandpa got married and had the baby.

-Grandma named the baby John.

-John was the name of the guy grandma was apparently two-timing grandpa with.

-So, John maybe wasn’t grandpa’s kid.

-John was killed in a weird hunting accident when he was 24yo. He and a friend were climbing a fence, John dropped his shotgun, and it discharged into his chest.

-Grandma was convinced, until her dying day, that God took John away from her as punishment for her sexual impurities.

-John may have actually been murdered by his hunting partner, not by accidentally shooting himself. There was no investigation because the friend belonged to a “Utah Royalty” family (i.e. powerful Mormons) and no one wanted to rock the boat.

-John and friend/possible murderer may have been in a secret homosexual relationship.

-John’s wife was pregnant and had the baby shortly after John died. The kid was born profoundly retarded and with physical birth defects. Grandma took this to be more punishment for her sins. BTW, the kid lived into middle age.

What juicy family secrets did you learn as an adult?

Not juicy, but I found them out and told my mother what she had never known about two relative.

Her Uncle died in 1957. So come the funeral, a “wife” shows up and says she’s dead uncle’s wife. Uncle’s mother and father say “you aren’t his wife–he wasn’t married.”

But, he was and she was. I subscribe to Ancestry and tons of newspaper databases. So, I went looking and found out they we husband and wife.

Another of Mom’s uncles left home in 1925 and she only knew he was her mom’s brother, sent her Christmas presents in the 1930s and 1940s from California. Died in California in 1949. Family never had the money to get the body shipped back from CA.

Again, using my resources, found out he was army vet from 1912-1921, went on disability(mental I think) and resided in Military Veterans homes until he died.

My grandfather (by marriage) was in the KKK and probably murdered people.

Sounds plausible. He’s dead now.

Oh, and according to my mother, I was conceived by rape. Didn’t find out until a few years ago. I’m not sure what to think. The story is totally something my biological father would do, but my mother reads victimhood into everything.

I honestly haven’t heard any juicy secrets in my family. Strange, but there it is.

My mother became pregnant twice, both times after my father was arrested for anonymous gay sex in public toilets. I never did find out how those conversations went but I do know that my pregnancy got her a big old diamond and sapphire ring. Pretty sure my older brother was paid for in real estate. I have no idea how they explained the sudden fertility after announcing they were conceding barrenness earlier in the marriage but I do look like him and inherited his poor eyesight and queerness so I don’t think her long term lover was responsible.

Nobody was happy that court influencing pregnancies resulted in actual children but we were possibly a lighter sentence than gaol and the social ostracism of the day (mid 60s).

Actually I was a teenager (so not an adult) when my dad told me about a relative who was (I forget the exact relationship) something like a 2nd cousin or great uncle. He was probably 10 years older than Dad and was a career Naval officer. During WWII, he apparently served as a Naval Attache to the Russians. He supposedly spoke fluent Russian and earned the nickname of “Red.”

At some point not too long after the war, Red apparently dropped off the face of the earth. As in, suddenly he was nowhere to be found, the Navy disavowed any knowledge of him and discouraged any further questions.

The speculation within the family was that he had gone into deep cover as a spy in Russia.

Good Lord, where to start. Turns out the guy I thought was my grandfather actually wasn’t; my real grandfather left the family when my dad was a boy to move to New York to become a musician. Guess what I had done when I turned 20, before I knew that?

Speaking of my dad, he passed away three months ago. Turns out he was married and we didn’t know. We knew he was living with a woman who was helping to raise my half-sister, but we had no idea they were living as husband and wife. I’m currently in a legal battle with her over his estate.

I would say more but I have to save something for the play I’m writing.

One of my great-uncles was secretly married and had a family. “Secret” because he never mentioned it at family reunions and lived too far away for casual visits with anyone. Perhaps not mentioned because she was of a different race, and he didn’t want the drama? We’ll never know. I found out as an adult because that’s when the rest of us found out. Because he died and the obituary said so.

My grandfather, that great-uncle’s brother, was an atheist. I guess this was an open secret, but no one told me until he died. Once again, this feels like a stupid “secret” but I guess it’s down to the place and time. At least one of his sons was an atheist, too. I’m functionally an atheist. Who cares? Grandma, that’s who.

I found out my cousin was actually my brother.My Daddy slept with my Mothers sister. Scandalous!

Rumor has it one cousin was not the daughter of her mother’s husband - apparently my aunt “had” to get married. But they did stay together till he died, so something worked for them.

One of my great grandfathers committed suicide after losing his wife at a fairly young age. My grandfather was left to care for his 2 younger brothers, and he and my grandmother more or less eloped so the youngest brother wouldn’t be taken away. In those days, a single man was not permitted to have custody of his siblings. Again, they stayed married for over 60 years.

As far as I know, that’s as juicy as it gets.

My father always had these female “friends” that he would socialize with in bars and taverns. My mother seemed to hate them more than she did our relatives. In early adulthood, I finally realized what should have been obvious. The “friends” were prostitutes.

All of the ‘secrets’ aren’t juicy and the juicy things (minor mafia ties) are pretty well known. About the only one I know of that’s in the middle is an alcoholic relative that drove through an ice cream shop about 30 years ago. He died a few years back (natural causes) and one of the people in his mentioned in his obituary was “Bill W”. Lots of questions about who Bill W was and when explained, why Bill W was mentioned. Now, I’m no alcoholic/addict, but I was surprised I was the only one that knew the “Friends of Bill W” thing.

My grandmother married a Catholic (my grandfather). Can you imagine a nice, WASPy, DAR, New England gal marrying an Irish guy??? I fainted when I heard about it.

Not in my own family, but my husband’s.

He has always maintained that his dad’s family is German. I went into Family Search.org and hunted down his paternal relatives. It looks like both his paternal grandfather and paternal grandmother immigrated here from Russia. At the time my husband was visiting them in Colorado, it was the 1950s, and I don’t suppose Russians were looked upon favorably. I assume they pretended to neighbors and family that they were from German.

However, my husband doesn’t know any of this. He’s at odds with all of his family, and has requested me never to do any research on them because he doesn’t want to know.

My mom’s first husband decided, back in the early 50’s, that he wanted to start a commune and take on multiple wives. Mom said “Hell, no,” grabbed my two oldest brothers (still toddler/newborn at the time), and left.

Most of the juicy stuff I unfortunately learned as a child. But as an adult over a long number of conversations my father confession to me:

Dad, after being a serial cheater for about 10 years, impregnated one of his girlfriends . . . twice. She was married. She and her husband raised the children as their own. Her husband was sterile. My parents were together at the time. Of course she knew about the cheating; but not about the half siblings and I never told her.

Dad, while married to his 2nd and current wife, confessed he had an affair with his best friends daughter in law (much younger than me) while she was married and impregnated her. She lost the baby.

Dad had, to say least, extremely inappropriate relationships with not one but two of his step daughters.

And last but not least the LAST day I spoke with him he confessed he had indeed molested my older sister.

Mom confessed all her shit before I left home; when I was too young to know but old enough to understand.

I always knew I was not adopted. NO ONE would have given my parents kids.

It’s entirely possible that they were ethnic Germans from Russia. There were significant ethnic German populations throughout Central and Eastern Europe for hundreds of years.

I’ve posted this here before, but one story I learned (actually as a child) was about my elderly maiden aunt (on my father’s side) had been married in a lavish (Lutheran) ceremony. She and her new husband boarded the west-bound train (this was the 1940’s) and arrived in Portland. On the platform waiting for him was his children and still-married wife. My aunt caught the next train east and had the marriage annulled. No one would talk about this except my mother, who hated the aunt.

Are we talking about things we actually know as fact, or old family stories that can’t be verified.

Things I actually know to be true:

My aunt dealt with mental illness for most of her life and physically and sexually abused her daughter.

My sister’s first husband was gay, a cross-dresser, and tried to sell their daughter into prostitution.

Family stories we can’t confirm:

My grandfather came to America because he knocked up his boss’ daughter.

My grandmother cheated on my grandfather and their youngest child wasn’t his.

My uncle cheated on my aunt with one of her sisters.

Nothing really juicy or awful- for the most part, my family was about as ordinary and decent as it seemed.

The juiciest story I can share wasn’t really THAT bad. When I was 6 or 7, my brother and I slept under the Christmas tree every night that it was up. One night, while we were sleeping, the tree crashed down and I woke up to find my furious father screaming at us for destroying it.

Many years after my father’s death, my aunt was telling funny stories about the family, and broke up remembering how my Dad once came home tipsy and knocked over our Christmas tree.

So it wasn’t me- it was Dad!