About My Father

My parents divorced when my brother and I were very young, probably 2 – 3 years old. My father, Julius Charity, remarried twice, producing seven more Charitys with his second and third wives. So altogether, there were 10 Charitys in Pontiac and for most of my early life I believed we were the only Charitys in the state of Michigan. I didn’t learn otherwise until I discovered the Internet and Prodigy. I plugged Charity into one of the online phone directories and hundreds of results were returned, most of them in Virginia. I was so surprised that I printed out all of the names. Then I posted a query on the old Prodigy message board and received this reply:

A few weeks later I received another reply from Edward:

This information was a little hard to swallow. I live about  30 minutes from Detroit and had traveled there several times with my father to visit his mother’s relatives. Not one time did he mention that his father’s family lived there. I imagined all sorts of reasons why my father never mentioned these people to us. Maybe he didn’t have a relationship with his father. Or his father had remarried and the second wife didn’t like him. Maybe there was some sort of family falling out, maybe my father’s mother discouraged contact. There had to be some earth shattering, valid reason, for these people never having been introduced to us.

Well late last year I finally asked my father why he never took us to meet his father’s family.  He had no real answer. Was there animosity between him and his father? No. He saw his father regularly until he married my mother when he was seventeen. Then life happened — a wife, one kid and another on the way, and he didn’t have the time to visit his father as much as he had. Ok, but did he still see him at all? Yes. Then what about us? No time. I was 24 years old when my great-grandmother died, and 36 years old when my grandfather died. In my mind there was plenty of time.

I really shouldn’t have been surprised by his answers. When his mother, my grandmother died, he never called me. I found out by seeing her obituary in the newspaper. I waited for him to call but he didn’t. I didn’t attend her funeral because I was angry and confused. When he still hadn’t called a few days after the funeral I called him. All he said was “you couldn’t make it, huh?” I hung up the phone. Years later when I discussed her death with him he was surprised that I knew she had died from breast cancer. “How did you find out,” he asked. I had gotten a copy of her death certificate. “Why didn’t you tell us (me and my brother) that she was dying?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders and said “she asked to see you before she died.”  Why didn’t he contact us? Again, he just shrugged his shoulders.

You can probably guess that my father and I don’t have a close relationship. I used to be angry, but I’m over it.  I’m also over him as a father. He’s more like a casual acquaintance. I’ve never said that to anybody, never said it out loud, but it’s the truth.  And because of it, I don’t know how I feel about being a Charity.

Comments

  1. Wow! I can related to the lack of communication between you and your father.
    I did not know much about his side of the family, except for what his late sister told me.
    I have learned more about his family since he passed away.
    Some of the people on his side of the family have been wonderful resources of family history.

    P.S.
    I love the updated webpage!

    • ccharity says:

      ALL of the information I have on my father’s family came from people other than my father.Glad you like the new site:)

  2. Yvette Charity Peterson says:

    Hi Christine!

    I am so sorry for what you went through. My grandmother left my grandfather in Richmond, VA for Pittsburgh in 1926 and never returned. My father grew up without every seeing his Charity family again for the rest of his life. In 1995 however, we made the connection and were reunited with the family. Please know that you have a wonderful family. Thanks! Cousin Yvette

    • ccharity says:

      Hi Yvette,
      69 years later. Did any of the Charity’s remember your father?

      • Yvette Charity Peterson says:

        Hi!

        Most of those who would have remembered him were gone. He had 2 half sisters who were older than he. His father died in 1930 so he totally had no connection. Thanks to the “green book” we made the connection. I haven’t been to a reunion for awhile but the ones I went to were nice and I met a lot of great cousins. Yvette

  3. Edward Charity Jr says:

    Christine, this is your cousin Edward. I was doing a little family research and of course ended up back here. It almost knocked me out of my chair to see the email posts that we exchanged back in 1992. I did want you to know that the original information you provided allowed me to link up with the Charity’s in both Surry County and Charles City County, Va. I’ve attended several family reunions and have kept in contact through Face Book. I live in Northern Virginia (across the river from Wash DC) and keep in contact with a number of Charity’s in the Washington Metro Area (MD, VA, DC). Keep in touch and great job on the site.

    • ccharity says:

      Edward,
      I received your email while I was in the middle of writing this post. That has to be some sort of sign . . .

  4. Hi Christine,
    It’s been a very long time since we corresponded and I miss that. :) Hope you are doing well.

    As for your father and your relationship or lack thereof, I have heard similar stories thru out the family. In fact, I have family members who don’t want to have contact because of negative experiences they have had with other family members. But, over the years I have developed some close friendship with some of our cousins. Some are closer to me than those on my father’s paternal side. I hope that you reconsider and reach out to some family. I know of some who really want to meet you and your family. As in most large families, you’ll find some who you may not want to form a relationship with. Also with large families, older family members did not necessaryily know who they were related to. I have that situation in my mom’s family. I grew up around them as well and never knew I was related. So even if you and your dad don’t make amends, please give the rest of the family a chance.

    Linda

    • ccharity says:

      Linda,
      it’s good to hear from you :) I know I don’t communicate very well but I do keep up with your site and the Charity Family Facebook page.

      • So glad to hear that. :) I am hoping to attend my first reunion this summer. This should be interesting. :)

        BTW, can you tell me the surnames in your mom’s family? I have a friend who I think might be related to you family. Her maiden name is McCory and she lives in Philly, but her family is from MS. Some of her surnames are Newell, Sparkman, McKinney and Clown.

        Linda

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