A Secret Life . . .





On my father’s side of the family, I have an uncle who tells one story about his mother whenever the family gets together. Same story. Every time. When he was in the second grade, he had an accident at school and was sent home early. When he got there, the house was locked, and he couldn’t find his mother. Because he didn’t want anyone to see his wet pants, he hid on the porch for what seemed a very long time. Turns out that his mother had been at the movies, something she did every Friday afternoon with money she saved from the groceries, but she never told anyone, and she made him promise that he wouldn’t tell either. His father was never, never to know.

         His mother died first.

         Still, my uncle kept his promise. It wasn’t until after his father died that he began to tell the story of his mother’s Friday afternoons. Now he tells it and retells it—like it’s been bottled up too long. Like he still can’t quite grasp the fact that his mother had a secret life.




Filed under Family Stories, Personal Narrative, stories, Uncategorized

4 responses to “A Secret Life . . .

  1. My first reaction was cute – cute that his mother found the time for herself. Then I started to wonder why it was a secret, why could his father never know, even after she had passsed? And that I thought was sad …

  2. Little baby sis

    Now that our uncle is gone too. Do we keep on telling the secret story about our Grandma? It makes our family more real, some how to tell this story. Don’t you think? Or maybe it is a story that says “We may not even know our own family” some how?

  3. It makes more real. Every family has these stories, I’m sure.

  4. Thinking about this story, it seems it could have been less about secrecy and more about privacy. We all have things we don’t share, not out of shame or fear of disapproval so much as they are ours alone, something we enjoy or savor and don’t care to have aired or discussed by others. Something we can think about that is ours alone. As a mother, wife, etc., much of our life and choices are discussed by our families as though they had ownership in them. Knowing in our hearts that they dont’ know EVERYTHING about us can be a source of a secret alright–a secret pleasure!

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