Word of mouth
In this age of "reality," it seems
that no secrets are left unshared.
Prior generations held it inside.
Preferring to reveal next to nada.
Call it decorum, propriety or
restraint - secrets were best left
unsaid. As boomers boomed our
culture shifted from confidential
to candid confession. Most of us
sit at the shrink sifting through
our lives trying to make sense
of it all. Few finding answers.
No wonder we're still talking...
I'm not sure that dwelling on the
past with a paid stranger gets us
anywhere. Putting together the
pieces is a natural process often
best accomplished with a close
friend and a bottle of Cabernet.
For me writing this blog helps
me travel life's journey. Some
of you have cautioned me about
true confessions. While this blog
is personal it often inspires others
worldwide. So right or wrong, it
feels right. And so I write on...
How did our parents navigate life
without spilling their guts? They
opted to keep their secrets hidden
rather than bare their souls to all.
As a child any action happened
behind closed doors. Rather than
air their dirty laundry Mom and
Dad kept to themselves. None of
my business meant I knew nothing.
While I'll never know all the details
I have slowly put the secret pieces
together. Now I finally understand
why they were who they were.
Everybody liked Dad especially
my Mother. Her knight in shining
armor, he could be a bit of a wimp
when it came to her. Ethel ruled
the roost and I resented it. Later
on I figured out why each played
a role. And it all made sense. My
father was a child of divorce. His
father was a bigamist. Later my
grandmother was a kept woman.
His grandmother raised him in a
house full of females. And so my
father let my mother run the show.
Ethel was a child of privilege until
the crash of 1929. A year later her
Dad left to visit his home in London.
And never came back. Ethel and
her mother moved into a tiny maid's
room in her grandmother's apartment
and slept in a shared single bed. One
can imagine their shame. After Mom
was gone, I traced her Father's life
via the web. Only to discover that he
had married another woman without
ever divorcing my grandmother. NO
wonder he never came home again.
We were never were home for Easter.
Years later I figured out why. You see
my parents lost a beloved daughter at
age fourteen shortly after Easter. We
never discussed how she died nor any
details. All I knew was that Pam was
gone and my job was to fill the void.
In truth she never left. Her pictures
were everywhere. And randomly my
Mother would suddenly start to cry.
But nobody ever said a word. So we
never had a ham, nor jelly beans, nor
bonnets. Hence I now adore Easter.
I saw my birth certificate for the
first time at age fifteen. Oddly it
showed that I was born outside
of Philadelphia. When I queried
Ethel as to why, she got choked
up. Joking I asked "What, am I
adopted" to which she replied
"Yes, you are!" Suddenly all
changed and yet nothing ever
changed. I was theirs and they
were mine. That's because they
needed me as much as I needed
them. Oh how I loved them!
It took a failed marriage and four
children before I figured out what
was right for me. When I shared
my truth - my conservative parents
were not pleased. However they
freely loved me unconditionally.
After I met Frank, Ethel finally
understood that being gay is all
about LOVE. And while we rarely
spoke about my "lifestyle" I knew
that she understood. Yet we rarely
broached the subject. Thus in this
case... the less said... the better.
While blabbing on about personal
things is obviously personal, most
of the time it's helpful. When one
hurts sharing a secret can help them
heal. I'm happy to share the lessons
I've learned. If for no other reason
than that sharing them seems to give
the pain of my process some sense
of noble purpose. You see, there's a
reason for everything. So rather than
keep it a quiet, I prefer to speak up
and make things a little bit better.
No wonder I spill my guts!