When I was a young child, I sometimes wished my last name wasn’t Hughes. During this time Howard Hughes was a very popular guy. Not just for his being a well*respected business magnate, investor, record-setting pilot, engineer, film director, and philanthropist, known during his lifetime as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world, but also for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle. The eccentric part always seemed to get the most attention.
I remember when I was about 8 years old my dad would drive my sister and me to the YMCA for Saturdays “kids only” swimming. He would drop us off and come back 2 hours later to take us home. We did this all year round because the winters were mild. We were one of the few kids that came every weekend, so there were always new kids there. My sister couldn’t tell the truth to save her life. No one, with the exception of my mother, believed her when she talked. Because my sister, at the age of 12 weighed 200 lbs and she was allowed to bully and abuse me, I found it was easier and safer to participate in her lies than to contradict her.
One of her favorite ones was to tell people that we were related to Howard Hughes. We called him “Uncle Howie”. I usually didn’t talk much. My “job” was to just back up her lies. I have to tell you, some of the stories she told about us and Uncle Howie were so far out there I couldn’t see how anyone would believe them. Of course, she was talking to kids between the ages of 6 and 12. However, I could tell by the look on some of their faces that they knew what she said wasn’t true and I would be so embarrassed.
Fast forward to 2020. My husband and I watched a documentary about “Uncle Howie” and he asked me if I thought we could be related. I laughed and said, “Not very likely!” Well, that planted the little seed in my head so for the last 3 weeks, I have been doing research on him, seeing if any of the dots connected. A couple of days ago I ran that line through all the dots, and I found that we are related. Very, very distantly but close enough to consider him “kin”.
My sister passed away 8 years ago, but I think she would have been amazed that her lies had become truth. This was really a “Freaky” find.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.