“I thought maybe with grandchildren and as successful as Gene became (he was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1987) time would heal,” she said.
He was married, although separated, and in the process of getting a divorce.There were, she said, no promises from Gene, although they married three years later. But she says now, there was never any doubt about the real reason she was thrown out of the family. “They said ‘You’re going to be his little white trophy.Terri Upshaw says the bitterness from that controversy remains and she has not stayed in contact with the son, who now lives in Florida.Until this story broke, Upshaw endured the sting of rejection from her San Francisco family in silence.She can understand that her parents were dubious about the arrangement, moving cross country with a much older man — Gene was 38 at the time — and still married. She believes her father to be an unrepentant racist. You’re younger than he is.’ But the bottom line was ‘He is black.’ I had a good upbringing, learned a lot, but when it came to the color of someone’s skin, you didn’t question it.” Gene’s first wife, Jimmye Lee Hill-Upshaw, died in 2002, her skeletal remains found in a field in Oklahoma.
And when Gene died suddenly, there was a controversy over the signing of his will and Gene’s son with his first wife, Eugene III, claimed his father could not have signed the will in his final hours because he was incapacitated.
I told them, ‘I hope you do, but you know how you were raised here.’ We’re 3,000 miles away and it will probably always remain that way.
I’m so blessed by all that I shared with Gene and I never regretted making the decision.” Not that she’s given up on San Francisco.
She visits regularly, she says, but never has the urge to visit Tadich Grill.
“There’s a lot of good restaurants in the city,” she said.
But the world of online dating can be difficult in a very specific way for those who identify as multiracial. Whether it's some drunk guy saying, "You're so hot, I don't care that you're Hispanic" (I'm not Hispanic), or someone finding out my dad is from India and then only wanting to talk about curry and Bollywood, my experiences as a multiracial woman have been marked by people just not knowing how to bring up race without being incredibly awkward.