About Secrets and Lies

When we came back from Chicago in 1930 I was enrolled in 6th Grade at Cheltenham School. I found it difficult to make friends in a class that had been surging towards graduation to Junior High School with all the same classmates from Grade I. Besides, I was very shy and found it extremely awkward to put myself forward.

One friend I did make was with Alfredo DeBruhl. A tall Mexican-American who was not accepted by any of the other students. Our classes were always together and we used to go to the branch library to do our homework together as we were given many assignments that required us to by-pass the school library. We even found time to play football, one on one, on the library front lawn.

Not long after we had accepted each other, Alfredo asked me to lie for him. He had been absent from class the day before and he needed a written excuse to take to the office so as not to be considered a truant. All I asked him was how I could write a letter for him that the office would accept as his mother’s? He answered that all I had to do was to write real fast and sloppy.

You know, as I think back, I didn’t even hesitate though I knew that I was compounding a felony. I wrote the note, saying that he had been sick, even though he looked as though he had never been sick a day in his life. My note writing was not often , maybe, once a month. The hardest part for me was to try to remember how I wrote the last one.

Finally, we graduated from the sixth grade and I went on to Lake Junior High School. I never saw Alfredo again, because he did not go on to Lake. I often what happened to him, but I was too shy to try and find him.

I have never told anyone about this secret, until now, and I am still uneasy about trying to find out what happened to Alfredo DeBruhl.