Actually, AOTB, more like snowy Detroit, Michigan. I'm visiting my father and stepmother, this time. I won't make it to So Cal until next summer, for my younger sister L's graduation.
And MsD, for the record, I know what you mean about "who knows when his dad would have said anything". If it had been up to my father, I probably would never have known about J. Any info I have gotten has been from my brother P, or from my mother. And every time I have gotten new info, I go back to my dad and ask him "Is this true?" He always has a new tale to tell, as if it's some small thing, like: "Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that part..."
The really messed up thing is that he completely denies J's existence to my stepmother. He will acknowledge to P, L, and I that he is at least the legal father of J, but my stepmother has no idea. When I was thirteen, rebellious, and angry with my father, I told my stepmother everything I knew about J, and my father somehow managed to talk his way out of it. She chose to believe him over me. She still buys whatever story he gave her. I confronted my dad about it when I was sixteen, and he told me "Všn, your stepmother just wouldn't understand. She was raised in a very conservative family, and it was already a bit difficult for her to cope with the fact that I had three children with two different women by the time we met. If I were to tell her this whole messy story about J, it would just send her over the edge, and I don't want to do that to her. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. As far as I am concerned, I have three children. Not four." I haven't said anything to my stepmother about it since, frankly, I told her everything once already. She chose not to believe me, and I'm not going to go and pull up all of this old drama again. Do I think it's right that my father kept this all from her? Absolutely not. But is it my place to say anything? Not anymore.
What I find interesting is that P, L, and my mother are all friends with J on Facebook. I used to be, but I deleted him from my friends list last year when he ignored my messages. And my stepmother also has a Facebook. I am really, really surprised that she hasn't noticed that "J Bruden" is a real person and just so happens to be on their friends lists...
Well, sometimes people choose to keep their heads in the sand, I suppose.