The Second Diary
by Ciara Threadgoode
When people keep diaries, they usually record trite tidbits of daily life. Dorothy Rose Nolte Hughes, however, hides a second diary under the polka-dot towels and causes quite a stir in the family. Her use of metaphor, alliteration, and analogies keep readers learning some new turns-of-phrase and laughing while uncovering some family truths that lay hidden from the world.
Dottie's daughter isn't interested in the language and turn-of-phrase, however, only the secrets revealed to the one who finds the diary. Dottie’s favorite granddaughter, her husband, and their six dachshunds take care of Granny, but her diary leaves them not only befuddled and confused but also excited and elevated in spirit.
Moving back and forth between the granddaughter's story-telling and the grandmother's diary entries, readers are compelled to keep reading to the very end and learn about fairytales as part of the truth. Does the truth hide in fairytales and come forth when least expected or do fairytales hide in truth and just sort of spontaneously spew forth?
“Guess Whose ‘Gast’ Was Flabbered”
Dorothy Rose Nolte was born in her parents’ handmade, four-poster bed on April 1, 1936 in the small town of Truckee, California. She was the third child and first daughter of Preston Robert, my great grandfather and Cherise Rose Nolte, my great grandmother after whom I was named. I’m Cherise Rose Cones, or “Cherry,” and I’m thirty-five.
My grandmother (Dottie as she was often called) passed away in her sleep a little more than a month ago. Because her passing was still too fresh for my mother, and every other relative was amazingly too busy to help, my husband Gene and I were volunteered to clean out my grandmother’s house and prepare her unclaimed belongings for an upcoming estate sale.
“We were thrown under the bus,” as Gene so eloquently put it.
And honestly, we were. To avoid any family squabbles during an already difficult time, I agreed to do it. I was Granny’s favorite granddaughter; she’d told me numerous times. Gene and I did visit her more than any other family members. We were also the only childless married couple in my family and became known as “DINKs” (Dual Income, No Kids), so everyone assumed we had nothing better to do than to cater to all of the family’s unresolved issues. Not true. We loved doing what we wanted and the thought of a small human relying on either of us was both terrifying and stressful. Our six dogs were our babies, but somehow that didn’t seem to matter much to the family members with babies of the two-legged variety.
During our first day of cleaning we found a diary under Granny’s mattress. I remembered the book because my niece had given it to Granny on her seventy-sixth birthday and at the time I’d thought it an odd gift to give a woman her age. My niece was tickled with her gift to Granny but I’d actually forgotten all about it until our recent discovery.
I thumbed through it and found it quite boring. She recorded the weather, a few recipes, and some random news in a prim and proper calligraphy, almost as if she’d known that the book would be discovered and read. I placed it in the box of things for my mother to examine and then moved to a bedroom closet. On the third day of our cleaning and sorting, Gene found a second diary neatly tucked into the linen closet but purposely placed under a stack of pink polka-dot towels, her favorite color and design.
He quietly flipped through it before stopping to concentrate on one page; I was busy in the kitchen working in the pots and pans cupboard, noticing that he had become extremely quiet, which he rarely was.
Suddenly, he let out a piercing yell, “Eureka!” followed closely by “Cherry, honey, you’ve got to read this.”
A quick peek into my husband’s eyes, Eugene Thomas Cones, and I know he doesn’t get excited about the usual male topics. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about sports. He doesn’t drink beer or any other type of alcohol, referring to it as “milk of amnesia.” He doesn’t hang out in the garage surrounded by classic cars or collect antique guns and knives. Absolutely no fishing or hunting as he wouldn’t hurt a fly; in fact, over the years of our marriage, he has prevented hundreds of insect deaths and is as eco-groovy as any one person could be.
Gene is into anything that smacks of gossip or celebrity or fashion. And the man absolutely loves clothes. No, he’s not gay although he truly fits all of the stereotyping or profiling criteria. I’ve often told him that he’d missed his gay calling, although I am completely sure he is not homosexual. He was just built differently from any other guys I’d ever known. He’d grown up in a house full of women. With six sisters, he was the baby and only boy, plus his father and male influence, was rarely home. He traveled and was gone most of the time when Gene was young. For me, his upbringing explained a great deal about the man he is today.
My husband was wondering why I kept giggling as I was reading this. I love the way The Second Diary is told by two different generations, past and present. It's a warm & humorous look at families, love & life that will have you wondering what secrets YOUR family is hiding.
About the Author
Ciara Threadgoode is this author's pseudonym. It's believed that Edgar Degas once said, "While I want to be famous, I also yearn to remain unknown." This author would concur. She collects sunsets, colorful fall leaves, evening silhouettes and 1959 pennies. When she's not traveling, Ciara spends her days feeding the birds, learning to play the guitar and making handmade patchwork quilts for gifts.