DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL? by Lettice Randall

It seems everyone has secrets in their life. There are secrets that we wouldn’t dream of revealing to another soul. Then there are secrets we may share with a few select people. And then there are those secrets we might tell nearly everyone we know, save one or two particular people. My secret belongs in this last category.

I was living in my own apartment in Newmarket, New Hampshire and working at Sylvania Electric Company in nearby Exeter. I was looking forward to the coming Friday and the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend.

I arrived home from work at about 4:30 that particular afternoon. Just as I entered my large studio apartment, my phone started ringing. It was my boyfriend, Charlie, calling from Boston where he was stationed aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Wasp. After exchanging our usual greetings, Charlie asked me, “How would you like to go to New York City this weekend? Because of the holiday, I’ve got a long weekend with no duty until Tuesday morning so I thought it would be a fun thing to do. We’d leave Friday afternoon after you get out of work and come back Monday. We could see the sights and go to the World’s Fair. Perry Bailey and his girlfriend, Judy, will be going too. Perry has offered to drive. So, what do you say? Are you up for it?”

“Wow, yes! That sounds like fun!” was my quick reply. I loved New York City and would never turn down an opportunity to go. But I had one problem. My parents! They’d never go for the idea of a single, 18-year-old girl traveling to New York City with her 18-year-old boyfriend. Especially when the 18-year-old girl was their daughter! Sure, I was legally an adult, living in my own apartment and paying my own way, but somehow I was sure that wouldn’t matter to my parents. What to do? I could just go on the trip and not tell them, but I was sure they’d be expecting to see me on this long holiday weekend, so that option was out of the question. Then an idea came to my evil little mind. I thought of a friend I had at Sylvania named Linda. I had heard Linda mention that she was going to be camping with her parents for the weekend up in the White Mountains. I’d just tell my parents I’d been invited on the camping trip with Linda and her parents. Perfect! My parents didn’t know either Linda or her parents so I didn’t need to worry about them finding out my surreptitious little plan.

Finally, Friday came. I got home from work and finished packing my suitcase. Charlie, Perry and Judy had just arrived from Boston to pick me up and after eating a quick supper at a local restaurant, we were on our way. New York City or bust!

We arrived in the city just about midnight and found an affordable hotel in what I am sure was the worst part of New York. Gulp! Was this the Bates Motel? Thankfully there were two locks on our door! In spite of the creepiness of the hotel, we all had a good night’s sleep. The next day, Saturday, we set out to explore the sights of New York City. First we took the ferry out to visit the Statue of Liberty. I’ve see her many times, but I’m always awed by the sight of that big lady and what she stands for and this time was no exception. Later we managed to get to the top of the Empire State Building where we ooo’d and aaah’d over the sights from the observation deck. Magnificent! Then we dropped by Radio City Music Hall, but I don’t recall that we saw a show. I think we just checked out the facility. The next day, Sunday, we spent the whole day at the World’s Fair. As I remember, it cost each of us $2.50 to get in. Hard to believe, isn’t it? I had been there the year before on my senior class trip, but the time there with Charlie, Perry and Judy was much more fun.

We returned to the hotel that evening all tired out but totally keyed up by the busy activities of the last two days. In spite of all that excitement, we were able to sleep soundly.

Monday morning arrived all too quickly. We awoke, packed our bags and checked out of the hotel, thankful that we had not encountered Norman Bates while staying there! After a little breakfast, we were on our way back to New Hampshire. We arrived back home in the late afternoon. Charlie, Perry and Judy spent a little time at my apartment where we all chatted about the fun time we’d had in the city. Then it was time for them to leave for their trip back to Boston. Judy would be left off at her home in Lynn as they passed through there on their way back to the ship.

After they had left, I called my parents in Portsmouth to tell them about my grand time camping in the White Mountains. I’m sure I must have had my fingers crossed the whole time I wove that fantastic tale! Watch out for that lightning bolt!

Fast forward about two weeks. I was in Portsmouth visiting my parents. It was a Saturday. My mom had noticed that the mailman had just come so she went out to the roadside mailbox and got the mail. When she came back in, she looked a little sheepish. “I’m afraid I opened this big envelope by mistake. I didn’t notice it was addressed to you, TC. It contained that pink and white silk blouse I made for you last year and a note that said you’d left it in your hotel room in New York City over Memorial Day weekend.”

I didn’t know what to say at that moment, and neither did my mother, not then or ever after as it turns out. For that I was thankful. But it seems my devious plan had backfired. When I had discovered my blouse missing from my suitcase, I’d called the hotel and asked them if they would please be so kind to send it back. Surprisingly they agreed and then I gave them my address. Only problem was, I’d mistakenly given them my old address at my parents’ home in Portsmouth and not the address of my apartment in Newmarket. Now it seems all my plotting and planning was to no avail. My secret was out. What more can I say. I WAS BUSTED!

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