Secret Relative

When I was fifteen, my friend Ronnie came over to visit me with a Blue Car he called the Beast. it was a 1939 Dodge. He took me for a ride around the golf course where we both lived and stopped in front of his house. He said “How come you never visit your cousin? This is her car and she lives in that house. I told her I wanted to take you to the sophomore prom and she said I could use her car. She knows who you are.”

I was puzzled, so I asked, “What’s her name?”
“Margareta, she is your uncle Giovanni’s daughter and she’s real pretty too.”.
I knew I had an uncle Giovanni, he came to our house once at Christmas but he came alone. I thought he lived in Detroit, why did I think that? I didn’t know much about him and me who loved mystery, this was a Mystery!

Ronny didn’t know much either. I went home and grilled my mother on the subject. I was good at it too, my favorite T.V. program was Dragnet and I wanted just the facts Mam. My mother was so evasive, but she finally caved when I told her I was going to pester Daddy until he told me. Mom said she never got into the Rossi family feuds, Italians were argumentative and it was best to let things go and not take sides.

I didn’t want to take sides, I wanted to know how I could have a first cousin I had never heard of and she lived close by. Mom said, nobody liked Giovanni’s wife and they thought she was involved in some shady business, apparently his first wife Eula disappeared. What! I wanted to know everything but mom said someday she could tell me but not now. We moved to California three months later and my parents never did tell us anything.

I was young and just moved on but lately I’ve been wondering what really happened. When you have a big family there are lots of stories, some good, some bad but all entertaining. My sister Elaine in L.A. has been looking up relatives and she is on the hunt to find out what happened to Giovanni’s first wife. She has found cousins who paid investigators to find Eula, but they never did. I’m thinking this is another book.

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