Top Secret



We all have them, those hidden places in the heart, or in the mind.  Our own secret fantasies of being the most popular kid in school, the homecoming queen, the Valentine Princess. For the guys, who doesn’t want to be the star quarterback, the hottest guy in school, the one who always has the prettiest girl on his arm?

These are relatively harmless dreams, mostly unfulfilled but it’s nice to dream, right?

I had a fantasy about being able to sit down at the piano and be a famous concert pianist.  Or maybe a #1 bestseller novelist. And of course, I wanted to be married and have  the ideal Father-Knows-Best kind of family 🙂

I still have some hidden secrets, things that even Terry doesn’t know.  And I’m not telling anyone what they are–no, not even you!

Are you as surprised as I have been at how easy it is to spill private things into blog posts?  I mean, I’ve never told you anything that would embarrass my family or make you–or me–blush; I have, however, shared some  things over the four years I’ve been doing this that I don’t usually discuss. Is it the anonymity we find behind our computer screens?  I don’t know.

Did you ever have a crush that you kept hidden?  Like, for an entire school year?  And every time your crush said “Hi!”  you thought, “Oh, maybe this is it! Maybe now he/she will notice me.”  And every day, you make up scenes  of accidentally bumping into your crush, spilling your books all over, just like they do in the romance movies.  Your crush may always be friendly, but the day you see that person walking off with someone else and you know all hope is gone, you just want to go somewhere and cry and eat chocolate.

These secrets are normal and harmless, most of the time. Sometimes, though, the hidden things reveal themselves in horror and tragedy. I’m thinking of Columbine, and many other situations in which the shooters have felt they were bullied, ignored, disliked.  I don’t believe there is ever an excuse to terrorize a school full of children, or to take lives because you’re hurt and angry.  There have been plenty of times in the course of my life when I’ve been bullied, teased beyond endurance, misunderstood, misquoted, misrepresented.  I had terrible acne starting when I was only 10, and I believed for a long time that the only thing other people saw was my collection of zits.  Good grief, I even had a big old volcano erupt on my chin on my wedding day!  But notice–it was my wedding day 🙂  I have certainly lived happily ever after, for the most part. And still, there are secrets, hidden thoughts, desires, dreams.

I recently turned 70, and I’m here to tell you that age may change the direction of your hidden secrets, but you’ll still have them. Wisdom is knowing when not to share them. Lots of people tell me things in my counseling office that they say they’ve never told anyone else, ever.  I’m glad they feel safe with me, and I promise you I’ve never revealed any of those secrets, ever.

So relax, if you’re worried about your hidden dreams.  You’re normal. No, really! Everyone has them. Not everyone achieves all of their dreams, but most of us get to realize one or two over the course of our lives. It’s enough.




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He was a farce, and he knew it. Everyone else saw his cheerful, good old boy, hearty handshake exterior. They didn’t know.

Neither did his wife, or his kids.  He knew how to cover his tracks, and he was extremely cautious.

Truth, however, has a way of coming to the surface when you least expect it.

He had preached a scorcher that Sunday morning, had the rapt attention of his congregation, and was warmly and humbly thanked by many for pointing out their sin–which, of course, he had no way of knowing about. Still, it was gratifying.  His people trusted him.

On their way home, his 16-year-old son said, “Dad, I need to talk to you. Alone.  Right away when we get home.”

“Sure, Son.  Anything wrong?”

“Yes.  But not now, not here.”

All of them were quiet the rest of the way home. His wife, his other son, his daughter, all clammed up. There was a tangible sense of tension in the car.

Finally, alone in his office, he and his son didn’t bother to sit down. As soon as the door was closed, Jeff confronted his dad from a distance of less than one foot.  In a low, quiet voice, he said, “I know what you’ve been doing, Dad. It’s so sick, I can’t stand it.  You need to know I’ve contacted the police.  They’re coming. Soon. They’ll have a warrant to take you computer, your tablet, you smart phone.

“You’re busted.  You’re nothing but a bag of hot air.  I have no respect for you.  None.

Image result for father and son in an argument

“Little girls, Dad?  Really?  You thought no one could know, but you forgot that I’m the one who showed you how to use the internet.

“You make me sick to my stomach.”

At that moment, the door opened and two armed police officers walked in. They were holding a warrant for his electronics, and for his arrest.

It took less than ten minutes for his whole world to come crashing down on his head.

Now, they would all know.

No more secrets.



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I’m really late today, and I have an excellent excuse.  I slept until 10 a.m. because I decided to.

I’ve reached the delightful stage of life in which, when I’m not working, I can sleep as long as I please.  Now, normally I wouldn’t be able to stay asleep that long, but I took some meds last night that guaranteed me a solid, long-lasting sleep.  Except, of course, for the nightly stumbles anyone my age makes to the bathroom at least once per night. (Shhh. Whisper that sentence.  It’s impolite to refer to personal hygiene in public. At least, that’s what I was taught.)

Have you noticed that a lot of things that used to be said in a whisper are now  shouted from the rooftops?

I remember when people whispered, “She has cancer,” as if it were a character defect.

There are parts of one’s anatomy that, if they had to be mentioned, were done so euphemistically or in a whisper. Not any more.  There just don’t seem to be any  body parts that aren’t up for general conversation these days.

Not in my house. I think it’s embarrassing, and probably needs to be mentioned only to a doctor. I don’t want to know about your private plumbing.  Not even in a whisper.

Of course, anything that had to do with (whisper) sex was also said covertly.  I probably should state here that I do not believe there’s anything dirty or inappropriate about married sex.  I just don’t want to talk about it with you unless we’re doing so in my capacity as a therapist, and that isn’t particularly comfortable for me. Sometimes I have to do it, but I’d rather not.

And then there is the other side of whispering–the side I despise.

 Any time I see someone whispering something in someone else’s ear, in company where other people are thereby excluded from the conversation but have to observe that there’s a secret being shared, I’m tempted to do what I did now and then as a teacher. “Susie/Johnny, would you like to share your secret with the rest of us?  No?  Then don’t be so rude as to whisper it. If you don’t want to share it publicly, don’t say it in a public place.”

Seems to me that whispering secrets in a public setting is just rude and inconsiderate. In my experience, it’s almost always gossipy and mean. It doesn’t need to be said.

And now I think I’ll go find a late lunch.



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Many years ago, I was watching an Alfred Hitchcock  program in which a woman opens a closet door and a dead body falls out on top of her.  Never have forgotten that image.

Way before I saw that program, though, I remember believing quite sincerely that there were monsters in the closet.  And under the bed. And in the hallway to the bathroom from the bedroom.  These monsters magically disappeared in daylight, but they always, always came back in the dark.

Closets weren’t always scary places, though.  Sometimes I hid in a closet just because I wanted to be alone.   Sometimes I’d tear my bedroom closet apart because it needed to be cleaned, and I’d find treasures I’d forgotten.  Sometimes, if unexpected company showed up, lots of things got stuffed into closets. That didn’t happen often, because I really am pretty neat, but still–nice to know closets are there when you need them.

My parents’ bedroom closet was off limits from Thanksgiving to Christmas. One year, I did the unforgivable.  I looked.

It ruined Christmas day for me, although I acted surprised.  I never did it again.  Not worth it.  Not worth the guilt, or the chance of being discovered.

Sometimes I wish I had a closet that would be just big enough for my computer, a small desk, and a chair.  A closet I could lock. I’d get more writing done.

Terry just created a broom closet for me out of cabinets leftover from our kitchen makeover. He’s really a genius!  The closet is the perfect size for my brooms, mops, dustpan, and various other cleaning equipment.  So tidy and handy.  I really love it.

The word closet has so many applications, doesn’t it?  I thought about writing something scary, but I’m just not in the mood, so you got miscellany instead 🙂