The teller of secrets

Today would have been my parents’ 62nd anniversary. But my dad died a few months after their 50th, in 2000. I always remember the date, though, because my mom always referred to me as an early anniversary present. I was born five days shy of their third wedding anniversary. Coincidentally, my eldest niece was born five days short of HER parents’ anniversary. Also, since my parents were married in 1950, it was always easy to calculate how long they had been hitched.

Odd thing about my parents. My father revealed almost nothing about his past. My mother, though, starting when I was nine or ten, would drop tidbits about her past, my parents’ joint history, and, more peculiarly, events from my father’s past at which she was not present, to my sisters and to me. So she told us stuff about him that he never told us about himself. Some was so spotty that it engendered more questions than answers. A few things fell into the category of “We REALLY did not need to know that.” Other bits were useful; WHY my father didn’t particularly like Christmas made a certain amount of sense.

One item she mentioned was that she had experienced a miscarriage in April 1951, in the second trimester of the pregnancy; it was a male. She was rather matter-of-fact about it in the telling, but she noted that my father was rather devastated by the situation. So when my mother got pregnant again, in 1952, she reported that he was a bit at arm’s length emotionally about it. It wasn’t until the baby arrived safely that he could even think about coming up with names.

This explains the frantic calculation of names he did on scraps of paper at his cousin Ruth’s house before he came up with Roger Owen Green, with the initials ROG. From time to time, I muse how my life would have been if, instead of being the eldest child, I had had an older brother.

0 thoughts on “The teller of secrets”

  1. This is something we have in common. My mother also had a miscarriage two years before I was born, also a boy. It would have made life different for me. For a start, my name would have been Andrew James instead and I might not have had a sister as my parents decided to stop at two children.


  2. My father’s marriage to my mother was his second marriage. I have a half brother that I have never met. Dad never talked about him at all, and, as far as I know, had little contact with him. My mother told my brother and I about it when we were kids, shortly before my parents were divorced. It freaked my younger brother out for a long time. I’ve always thought of myself as the oldest, but, from time to time, I ponder this person who is my older brother. We tried to find him when Dad was sick before he died, but had no luck.


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