I flew to the UK on friday evening to spend two days with my Mom, helping her finish off the packing.
She's moving house today and so I went on a last-minute mercy mission to help her go through the 30 years of accumulated junk, mayhem and memories. You can imagine how it went.
As always when clearing a house we found a cache of old photo's.
I looked at a photo of my Dad and his sister and something wasn't right.
"My aunt looks like she's got some black blood in her" I said to my Mom. Really, this girl looks nothing like the rest of the family in the photographs.
"Yeah, she was always dark skinned. And she never did look like your grandfather".
And so, we carried on working our way through the photo's.
"Who's this in the photograph with Nan and Granddad?" I asked. The photograph showed my Nan aged about 21, looking very elegant - beautiful, even. And she was with my Granddad, who was equally dashing. They were with a very handsome gentleman, and someone had written on the picture 'the boozers'.
"That's Mr. Frank. We always heard tales of him as Mr. Frank," said Mom. Seems he was a close family friend when my grandparents were kids, when they had just started dating. And it seems he was a permanent fixture in their lives until my Aunt was born.
Now, looking at the photograph and those that were in the same wallet, two things were crystal clear.
Firstly, Mr. Frank and my Nan were very close friends. There was no questioning the body language in some of those shots.
Secondly, Mr. Frank was a very handsome, very dashing, well-dressed, well-built gentleman of colour.
"Do you think...." I started.
"No" said my Mom. "No. It's not possible. Although. Oh. Oh! Do you think?"
She looked like someone had opened her eyes for the first time.
She stood up and started to giggle. "Oh my. Oh my oh my."
We laughed and laughed.
My Nan had made my Mom's life hell for a long time - nothing was ever good enough for her, and my Mother was certainly not good enough to marry her blessed son. She'd run the family like a power-crazed despot, whose only rule of law was that she was always right. She spun tales about her sisters, about her neighbours and was always there, ready to judge, ready to point out someone else's failings - especially my Mom's.
My Nan had been such a moral crusader, judgemental about the slightest thing, yet it seemed highly possible that her daughter was not her husband's offspring.
It's a shame that there's no-one around on that side of the family anymore. It's a secret that has truly gone to the grave.
If only we could get Jerry to give us a DNA test.
Alas, we're left to draw our own conclusions...and boy are we enjoying that.