Things you never knew about your parents

I remember being out to dinner with my mother when I was in my 30s. I asked her if I could have some of her water and she says “You know I never drink water”. No, mom, I never knew that and I’m sure I don’t want to know the reason why.

In the course of genealogy research, I’ve found out a lot of things about ancestors, including: My great-great grandmother was killed when the head flew off an axe and hit her in the head.

My grandfather died from a foot infection complicated by diabetes. He was a very successful fruit and produce supplier and died two days after providing fresh oranges to the childrens’ ward of the hospital.

My great grandfather was captured at the Battle of Bull Run. Later in life, disillusioned and depressed, he wandered into dense forest, took off all his clothes, took out his dentures, and shot himself in the head.

What have you found out, either intentionally or by accident?

Not about my parents, but about my paternal grandparents.

I knew my grandmother was a orphan and that my grandfather married her when she left the orphanage at 18.

What I did not know was that my grandfather was 48 years old when he did this.

I found out my Great-X grandfather was chopped to pieces by his slave. I knew I came from a long line of Southern slave owners but damn.

My grandmother popped in a close to full porn movie showing girls having sex with those realistic dolls and people dressing up as horses when I visited her a couple of years ago. I didn’t know she got a kick out of that stuff but she thought it was the funniest thing ever. Actually, I have whole lists of this crap because everyone I have ever been close to is a nut. I don’t even bother to tell people anymore because they just stare at me like a freak.

However, of all the things my father has done: getting kidnapped for attempted murder, drugs, affairs, double agent stuff, and much more, there is one secret that the only people that know it won’t tell me and that bothers me. Actually, I confronted him about that one a couple of years ago and he swapped it for another one. Our town was very small and we all grew up knowing this extended black family that turned out to be related to us rather closely. My great-grandfather pulled a Thomas Jefferson and his oldest son was conceived in an affair with the maid. The funny thing is that the man looked exactly like a black version of my grandfather but nobody made the leap. Among the somewhat racists in my family, that was literally a deathbed revelation and I swore not to reveal it even to my brothers.

My son is taking Taekwondo. My dad recently told him that when he was younger, he made it to brown belt in Judo. I never even knew my dad had an interest in, let alone studied any type of martial arts.

When I was 15, I accidentally found out about my father’s homosexuality.

I found out relatively recently that my mother’s parents–as English as the day is long–spoke French to each other to hide secrets from their kids.

My father is losong his short-term memory. But he remembers things long ago, some of which are quite surprising, such as the fact that he went to England as a kid by ship in 1937, and was one of exactly two passengers not seasick when the ship ran into a storm. When I asked his sister about it, she said, “I remember that.”

Another thing I found out from my father’s sister is how he met my mom. See, there was this band. Big-band music, in the early fifties. My mother and her two sisters were the backup singers (they sang very well, professional level). My uncle was the clarinet player (that’s how he met my mother’s sister…)

And there was my father. In the audience. Hopelessly in love with one of the backup singers…

Yep. My dad, the groupie. :smiley:

That was on an episode of Real Sex.

I was bored one day and I was Google-ing various family members names.

I typed in my mothers name. Low and behold I found this whole article singing her praises. Apparently she did some type of volunteer work for some kind of Canadian Womens Initiative group. (I know it was my Mom because they had her picture on the cite)

What’s even more surprizing is she lived in Pheonix AZ. at the time when all this was going on. How the hell she got involved with Canadians is beyond me. I keep forgeting to ask her about that.

Once, my mother was sorrowfully commenting on how my uncle got so irritated with my aunt all the time, and had, even when they were dating. “Well,” I said, “what was he thinking? He didn’t HAVE to marry her!” <insert awkward silence> “Oh.” I know that’s pretty mild, but I had a sheltered childhood.

When I was older, I found out that another of my uncles died after shooting himself in the stomach. He lingered for a few hours, and my dad was the first one to the hospital. When said uncle’s wife arrived, she said, “See? He can’t even get THIS right!”

The accepted opinion is that he shot himself to get away from her, which seems nearly reasonable, considering.

After my father had been dead for 35 years, I Googled him and learned that he’d won a golf tournament and also that he he’d shot a hole-in-one, both at the golf course down the road from us, both about a year apart, both shortly before I was born. I e-mailed the articles to my younger brother, who’s a fanatical lifelong golfer and who discussed golfing with my dad many, many times, and he was flabbergasted, as was I, in that neither had ever seen him with a club in his hand or heard from him (or anyone) that he had ever golfed.

I’m sure it’s him because not only is he named in the articles, but his hometown (Hamilton, Ontario) is also specified.

My mother shared this w/ me when I was a teenager. Apparently my father killed a guy back in the early 40’s. The story was that my dad had been drinking and this guy tried to roll (mug) him, he beat the guy up and left him. A few days later there was a story in the paper about a dead man being found where this occured. My dad had later confided in my mom and they kept the secret until she told me. She died in '73 and he died in '84 so I don’t think it matters much anymore. It fits, as my dad was one of those guys who tended to get mean when he was drinking.
I just told my brother about this a couple years ago, he’s 10 years younger than I am. He wasn’t really surprised either.

Wonder what would happen if you went back to the place where it happened and told the police–you might be able to clear an old case for them (and for the victim’s family) and I can’t imagine that you’d be harmed in any way by doing this.

I Bought a pocket watch recently.

Dad then told me the story about how his grandpa (my great grandpa) fought in World War I. A bullet hit his pocket watch and shattered it, but the watch probably saved his life. If it weren’t for that, neither of us would have been born.

I did not know my Father was dyslexic until I was in my 30’s.

I did not realize my Grandfather committed suicide until I was in my late 20’s.

Ive always known that my dad’s apartment was burnt down by an arsonist when he was in college.

What I didn’t know, however, is that he was fighting with my mother at the time, and actually accused her of setting the fire. This came up at dinner a few months ago and left me speechless. I can’t imagine my parents having a serious fight, much less acuse accusing eachother of arson.

My father was in the Navy at the time and there are several possible geographic locations where this might have happened, at least one of them outside the U.S., plus I can’t even pin down the time it happened, beyond the period of his service. My mother wouldn’t tell me the details, if she even knew them. I never mentioned this to my father, partly to protect my mother and partly out of fear of his reaction. My father did tend to B.S. a bit in later life and my brother tends to think that this may be just that, but I don’t believe that he would tell my mother something like that unless it were true and I’m positive that my mother would never have made it up.

That my father was in the Army Air Corps briefly around the start of WW II (I knew he spent the last couple of years serving in the Merchant Marines). Evidently he was asked to leave after crashing a plane :eek:

My brother told me that my dad met my mother when he took the same elevator she was operating in Dallas. This was would have been back in 1954 or so, in the days when hotels paid someone to wear a cute uniform and push the elevator buttons. It made me look at my dad (who died in 1980) in a whole new light. I mean, from pictures I can tell that my mother was a knockout then, and what kind of mad hook-up skilz my dad must have had to pick up a cute elevator operator between floors?

::stares, smiling nervously at Shagnasty, darts eyes at exits while making placating noises::

My Mom got interesting in genealogy and did a lot of research on our ancestors. When I read her discoveries about our ancestor Michael McGuire, who immigrated from Ireland to Maryland, fought in the Revolutionary War, and was granted land to pioneer in western Pennsylvania, I said to her, “Grandmother could have joined the DAR.” My Mom answered, “She knew it and always said ‘Why would anyone want to join them?’!” My ancestors have been staunch Democrats from way back. My Mom was born in 1934 and got the middle name Eleanor after the First Lady. Michael McGuire fought at both battles of Breed’s Hill and Yorktown, the very beginning and the very end. Phenomenal!