Angie DeLuca


:::Trigger Warning::: This true story contains incidents of abuse, rape, and incest.:::

My maternal great grandfather was a Grand Imperial Wizard in the KKK. After he was murdered at the age of 35, great grandmother was left with four kids to raise l, so becoming a brothel madam was easy money. Pay no attention to the four little ones running in and out of rooms.

Their daughter (my grandmother) became the woman at the end of the bar that set her life of despair in motion over a one dollar bet. The two brothers wagering that bet were my grandfather and great uncle. “Bet ya can’t get her (nodding to the woman at the end of the bar) into bed tonight.” 

That was the night my mother was conceived. My grandmother and her tiny product of a one night stand, moved out of state where she married multiple times and had three more girls. My mother was hated as a child – she looked just like her father (the one that “won” the bet) who was a scoundrel and drunk. Grandmother would beat my mother regularly, per my mother and substantiated by her sister (my aunt). Grandmother was so disturbed and fascinated with all things “dark” that she took my mother (who was 12) a couple of blocks away from their apartment to gawk at a woman’s body in a vacant lot. It was the Black Dahlia. 

At the age of fifteen, my mother and her high school sweetheart saw having a baby as a way they could get permission to marry. This was 1950. My grandmother (who was full of her own transgressions) immediately chose to not deal with another mouth to feed, let alone two, so she put mother on a train – back to her father a half country away.

Gramps had three kids by different women and supported none of them. The boys and their young mothers were left to fend for themselves, creating much anger toward the “deadbeat dad.” My grandmother was more than happy to send a pregnant daughter away to HIM. Now he could deal with the result(s) of his nasty one dollar bet.

Mother lost the baby (so I was told) and she and Gramps set out on the road (best to not stay in one place when women are looking for money), pulling various con jobs to eat.

Until 1956 when Mom (21) meets my Dad (19) at a local Kresges in Kansas City. He was instantly in love. She wasn’t but always said she “grew to love him.” They married and three months later, he enlisted in the Air National Guard and was sent to boot camp. I was conceived and born nine months later.

I had three siblings after me, and was raised in a home that was physically violent and emotionally abusive. Mother was sent away when I was three to a mental institution where they gave her eight shock treatments and sent her out the door with a lifetime prescription of Valium, Darvocet, and more. Welcome to the 60s.

I was their built-in babysitter, cook, and house cleaner. I did anything I could to both get their approval and keep the peace. I was always told by her that I was an “uninvited guest” which fueled my allegiance and desire for approval even more. We fended for ourselves while serving her on the couch where she laid 24/7.

As the beatings got worse, I began sharing with a close friend. One night, when I was 13, mother caught me on the phone saying something I shouldn’t. I felt her behind me as I hung up and spun around. There she was with a loaded gun pointing in my face, and with all the vitriol in the world, she said, “You EVER tell anyone what goes on in this house and I’ll hunt you down and KILL you!” At that moment, it clicked. She was nuts and I had to get out.

I told my Dad what she was doing and his response was that he would talk to her, which I knew would come back to me in even more narcissistic abuse. I stopped telling him anything after that until the end.

At 17 I started dating and was proposed to. I came home a few minutes after curfew to a darkened house. Out of the darkness came a fist – breaking my nose and sending my glasses across the room. I saw her face, crazed with anger. Guess I wouldn’t be cleaning the house and telling Dad she did it anymore. When I told Dad what she did he said, “If you don’t like it, move out!”

My parents couldn’t wait to get rid of me and I couldn’t wait to get out. I married at 19 and became part of an amazing Italian family where everyone had a place at the table, Nonna would teach you how to cook, and holidays were enjoyed drama free. 

When people would hear my story, they’d ask how I came out of it sane. I always gave credit back to my husband and his family who taught me love and how to be a family.

I went on to retire from a 32 year career with the “most magical place on earth”, having traveled the world in sales and leadership, and now I’m almost 67 with an almost 50 year marriage, two wonderful adult children who are married with kids of their own. 

That brings us to last year.

I had done a DNA test through Ancestry about eight years ago to learn about my ethnicity and possibly a Cherokee Indian relative I’d heard stories about. I had told my then-living mother about the results…that Dad wasn’t 100% Norwegian like he said. In fact, he was none. I remember her changing the subject and asking me to see if I could find her high school sweetheart for her. My Dad had been dead for quite awhile at this point, so I agreed.

Last year, my estranged sister contacted me thru Ancestry to share her DNA – she’s 50% Norwegian. We are half siblings. Honestly, I was kind of happy. I’m only 50% of that crazy circus!! Then I remembered mother asking me to find her boyfriend. Aha!!! I must be HIS!!!! I had no problem being their love child. I researched my heart out but to no avail. No matches to anyone in his family. So that’s when I enlisted the help of our NPE support group.

Turns out, one of my Gramps’ sons had a daughter who matched way closer than she should have – she matches BOTH of my parents…and so do many others in my mother’s tree. It was determined that my father is either Gramps, one of his two sons (my mother’s half brothers by different women) or one of his brothers. Everyone that would have information has died so there aren’t many facts to confirm.  Here’s my best guess based on my memories, timelines, and behaviors:

I believe the other half brother, who would have been around nineteen at the time, came looking for his father (Gramps) to get money (per Gramps himself – this was the only mention of his son EVER) and found something more precious…his pretty 21 year old half sister who’s husband was away at boot camp. I also believe she told my Dad three years later that I wasn’t his, and he threw a fit that she lied, sending her into a mental breakdown and the ensuing shock treatments.

Dad was always aloof toward me, but Gramps was my savior (out of guilt?). He was the one that took me away when my parents were having one of their many violent fights. He was the one who bought me things and took me to movies with my friends. He lived with us later in his life and would play Santa for us, take us on trips to see his family, etc.

Dad did the basic things – he worked his butt off to give us shelter, food, and clothes, but that was it for me. The rest of the kids went to the dentist, were taken to see HIS family on the holidays, etc.  He did walk me down the aisle, so I’m grateful for that.

So there’s the generational trauma I know of – I’m sure there’s way more. I always had confidence that the fire inside of me was greater than the fire outside of me. I also always knew I wanted to keep the “circus” that was my family away from my husband, his family, and my kids. There was no way I was going to let all of that destroy the magical life I had built.

I tell my fellow NPEs that the way we got here is THEIR story – the way we live our lives is OUR story and we deserve better. We can make a decision to be the one that stops all the generational trauma that was never healed. We are the relief from pain our ancestors prayed for. It demanded to be healed and we are the ones to do it. We are just THAT special.