Over the past 37 years, we have shared columns about families, politics, healthcare and a lot of living and dying. Today, we want to share a story that a few of you may have kept up with on Facebook. About two years ago, Donna Kubesch began to wonder about her ancestors, and she decided to take a DNA test which she sent off to Ancestry.com. This is the story, told by my friend, Donna, during our visit on Sunday afternoon:

I sent in my DNA to the company and was basically checking to see if I had any American Indian in me as I had been told by my dad, but came to find out I had zero. After I looked for the different nationalities in the report, I did not look at the information any more. About a month later, a cousin came to visit me and she said, “Let’s check to see what updated information you have on your account.” She looked at my DNA and said, “We need to have a long talk.” Since she is such a “guru” at looking up stuff on Ancestry.com, she was able to show me that I had a brother, without any question, who was originally from El Campo, and looks exactly like my father. His name is Feliz Horta.

After getting up enough nerve, I finally called him and he was as shocked as I with the news. I sent him pictures of our dad, and it was like looking in a mirror. Feliz was a track star and went to Texas A&I University in Kingsville, which is where all of the Trant side of my family live and went to college. About two weeks later, he and I met and I had to sit down because it was like watching my dad walk through the door. Feliz went to Texas A&I on a track scholarship and was good in math and science, just like our dad.  

So, as I was getting my DNA test completed and sent in, little did I know, so was Feliz and Mary. Mary is another surprise sibling, born in Cuero, adopted and raised in Syracuse, NY. Her adopted parents were best friends with the doctor that delivered her in Cuero. Both fathers had gone to Harvard. Her adopted father was an orthopedic surgeon and built golf courses, of all things! She was brought up as an only child and both of her parents passed away by the time she was 18.  

She met her husband, Chris, and he wanted her to find her family. So, for 30-plus years, they spent thousands upon thousands of dollars hiring private detectives and only to keep hitting a “brick wall.”  Her last hope was to hire a lady who was associated with Ancestry.com and had a television series about finding lost relatives. Months later, I appeared as a relative on Mary’s account! The lady called me and told me that I had a sister that lives in Syracuse, NY, and asked if I would like to talk to her.  

I called her and she must have screamed and cried for 30 minutes because she had been waiting for this phone call for over 30 years. It was my pleasure to tell her that she also has a half-brother, and that news sent her into another crying spell for about 20 minutes. We all got a hold of her and sent her as many pictures as we could. She was totally overwhelmed and extremely happy! Then, COVID came into the picture which put her trip to Texas on the backburner.  

This year, she was finally able to fly in with her husband, daughter and grandchildren, and attended the Monterey Wine & Arts Fair in Wharton to my surprise. It just so happened that Whitney Sklar (a long-time family friend) and our friends from West Columbia were there beside me watching Billy Snow perform. While taking pictures of Billy, they turned their cameras, to two sisters meeting as we grabbed each other for the first time. Billy saw the action and announced to the crowd, “This is the first time these two sisters have ever met,” as the long embrace took place and the crowd watched in awe.

After the wine fair, Mary said she wanted to meet Felix, of course, and she wanted to see where she was born in Cuero as it was very important to her. We spent the entire week meeting my family, Felix’s immediate family, seeing parts of the coast such as Galveston beach … basically, everywhere we could go to see all of the important things while spending every minute getting to know each other. Even giving them their first taste of real barbecue from our famous Hinze’s BBQ, was so much fun! Who would have known they had never heard of, or tasted, pecan pie? 

The final part of the trip came down to having to say goodbye and it was the hardest of all. I do want everyone to know this … only God can take a mistake and make it into a miracle. While all three of our lives were completely different growing up, we were all hugging and embracing each other throughout the entire week, feeling the love that each of us so desperately needed from one another.  

Donna, we thank you so much for coming by and sharing this miracle in your life. We all have family histories, and maybe this will encourage some of our readers to probe into their ancestry and to accept whatever you may find. And a special thanks to my good friend, Clifford Jackson, for surprising me today with a wonderful visit. You are an asset to our community!

Billie Jones is a longtime resident who writes a weekly column on items of interest in this community. She can be reached at bhjones6@sbcglobal.net


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