Sunday, March 18, 2018

77/365 Secrets and Lies: Other Teachers

Kelly rushed. Gertrude made herself the hero and expert. Greg evaded the question. Wilma always licked her lips and nodded.

My boss was fond of puffing up the evidence: "A number of parents have called..." only to find out one parent had called. "Teachers from the [elite girls school] said they heard" meant the secretary, a school mom.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

76/365 Secrets and Lies: Kelly

She was on top of me in the hall getting the story out in a rush, repeating herself, reassuring us both that she'd done nothing wrong.

I asked the 8th grade boy I trusted for his view.

He had no reason to lie.

I now knew what Kelly looked like, and sounded like, when she lied.

Friday, March 16, 2018

75/365 Secrets and Lies: Gertrude

Heard it from a friend. The teacher recommended to another mom that her son skip music for more resource time; she declined.

Then heard it from the teacher, but the mom was begging and she told mom that wasn't possible.

The mom had no reason to lie.

I knew what Gertrude looked like when she lied.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

74/365 Secrets and Lies: Jack

Liberian child, back during the Charles Taylor genocide. Compliant, smiled a lot, spoke a pidgin English I could barely understand. Every assignment started "Greetings to you in the Lord Jesus Christ," even math.

His mother and siblings looked nothing like him.

Truth: he'd been given to them to rescue, by his family not allowed to leave.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

73/365 Secrets and Lies: My lies on my forms

Please list your child's latest lead testing results: <none>

Has your child ever had a seizure or history of seizures: <no>

Does your child have any medical conditions we should know about: <no>

Is there significant family health history: <no>

Bridget Blake of the 19th century lied to every official. I'm living up to my namesake.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

72/365 Secrets and Lies: Shh

"But why would she hide that? What good would come from it?" I asked.

Then thought about stories I'd heard--the neighbor who had the prefrontal lobotomy. The stigma of epilepsy. The availability of good medical care and medication.

Of course she lied.

Then I glanced down at the daughter I lied about on every form.

Monday, March 12, 2018

71/365 Secrets and Lies: Seized

My aunt came clean one Christmas. "I used to think getting the flu meant being dead to the world for days. Until I got the flu after being medicated. Then it dawned on me. All those fuzzy memories, my brothers carrying me to bed. I'd gotten sick. And I'd had a seizure. Who knows how many."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

70/365 Secrets and Lies: Seizure

My aunt had two seizures. Maybe. My uncle had some. I knew they were in the family tree.

I wasn't surprised when my 4 year old had one. Devastated, not surprised. My cousins started reporting--either themselves or their children. Social media starting to patch together genetic trails and uncovering secrets some people didn't want known.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

69/365 Secrets and Lies: Non secret

So, your aunt Paula knew before she died, Mom told her. I know Chris knows. Surely Pat and Glennon.

Actually, as I think of it, your dad might be the only one in the dark.

She laughed.

I never slipped. Never said it til now. Not even to my sisters.

(They don't read my blog).

Friday, March 9, 2018

68/365 Secrets and Lies: Morning

I asked him all the questions in the morning.

Yes Mom knew. She went with him to pick up the final papers.

No kids. There were no others out there to knock on my door someday.

He was thin-lipped about it. Told me I was the only one who knew.

Of course that wasn't true.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

67/365 Secrets and Lies: Who knew

He got up, went to bed. Just a pause with me staring into the darkness and he said, "well, I'm beat" and went to bed. I sat there a long time. There were so many questions I had to ask. I was in my thirties--did I have siblings out there I didn't know?

Did mom know?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

66/365 Secrets and Lies: Response

So I see you've discovered the little family secret non-secret.

My parents were visiting back when I lived in California; one night everyone else went to bed and Dad was sitting in the recliner and it was late and we'd been talking and he looked straight at me and said, "I was married before your mom."

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

65/365 Secrets and Lies: Spilling

Baptismal record with dates of confirmation, communion, and this annulment.....declared right before he married your mom?

I hit send.

I immediately regretted hitting send.

Too late to take it back. I thought about what a lousy secret keeper I was. How I just SAID things.

I waited, clicking "check mail" every 15 seconds for hours.

Monday, March 5, 2018

64/365 Secrets and Lies: Aunt

So I emailed my aunt who knew him best. I hate to say this but I can't take it anymore. I have to tell someone and I need to know. If I need to keep it all a secret or if I'm making a huge ugly mistake, just tell me. I found your dad's baptismal records.....

Sunday, March 4, 2018

63/365 Secrets and Lies: Annulment

I stewed for a week. I hunted, found nothing. Was there another family out there? I guessed at California where he was stationed during the war. I mulled over who she must have been. I wanted to ask my father--I couldn't. What if this was something no one had ever known? I couldn't. I couldn't.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

62/365 Secrets and Lies: Grandfather

Sifting through church records recently publicized. Finding his name in the baptism rolls and smiling. Late night summer hunting for scraps of hints of family lines across poverty, disease, famine, despair--but this one is younger, I knew him. He met my daughter before he died. Surely nothing to see here.

There is the word: annulment.

Friday, March 2, 2018

61/365 Secrets and Lies: Bridget

Bridget Kidney. Bridget Dwyne. Bridget O'Dwyer. Ellen Cronin's sister. Edward Blake's wife. Ned and Richard's mother...maybe Mary's?

Later she's a Toohey-Touhy-Touhey-Towy-Tuohy, like a call of a bird. Mollie's "mother" and daughter of Mrs. O'Houlihan who died of cholera in East St. Louis in 1876 with everyone else.

Famine refugee. Maybe she was all of them.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

60/365 Secrets and Lies: Genealogy

My genealogy is filled with liars. People afraid of government officials. Why do they want to know how old I am? What if they find out he isn't my son? I can't risk the truth so I risk the bigger lie.

Today I'm her daughter.

In ten years I'll be yours.

Fifteen years, someone else's entirely.