Johnny Be Good
A WOMAN DOES WHAT SHE HAS TO DO TO PROTECT HER FAMILY.
wives in her affluent Long Island suburb, Peggy’s not married to a
doctor or a lawyer. She’s married to an uneducated Irish immigrant
twelve years her junior, and has to work two jobs to help make ends
meet. In between the carpools, the laundry, and the food shopping,
she also has to make sure her youngest son takes his ADHD medicine so
he doesn’t flunk out of high school. Maybe if her lazy husband
would get off his ass and help around the house, she’d have time to
connect with her children and be the type of mother they deserve. But
Peggy lacks that luxury because if it wasn’t for her, the whole
family would fall to pieces.
mother’s obedient little girl. Moving into her childhood home with
her husband and infant twins, she’s starting a new life and should
finally be happy. Right? Wrong.
deceased mother. If Veronica were smart she’d burn it and leave her
family secrets buried with the dead. But as her mother so often said,
Veronica’s never been that smart.
And I’d stolen Sean’s future away from him not once but twice. Of course once I had Marybeth and then the twins a year later, Sean’s singing and fiddling days were over. A father of three before he was old enough to vote, Sean was buried in Daddy duty when he wasn’t painting half of Long Island. He played the occasional wedding or bar gig when the band’s new fiddle player couldn’t make it, but for the most part Sean’s time was accounted for and he didn’t wander too far astray from the house on Rose Hill Road.
Although during those early years he didn’t really want to wander. The children adored him, although surrounded as he was by their tall sturdy bodies and blonde heads he looks less like their daddy and more like an older brother. But he cared for them and he’d come to feel something like love for me. Sean never said so—he wasn’t that kind of man—but I knew he was drawn to me. When the children were asleep and Auntie Mary was next door at Kitty’s, he’d seek me under the warm eiderdown that had been a wedding gift from his mother. He’d kiss my neck as I mashed potatoes for dinner. He’d slide his hands along my always ample bottom as I walked past him in the hallway. He felt something for me—of that I was sure. And for years that had been enough.
Of course a forty year old mother of three is not the same as a woman of thirty-one and cute blond babies are not the same as the grade schoolers with lives and interests of their own. Sean was a twenty-eight year old man with strong arms and jet black hair. The children didn’t need him as much, or at least I think that’s what it felt like to him. He was saddled with me and my sharp tongue and ever-widening hips. Of course there was a pretty little Irish nanny at one of his painting jobs. Of course she’d tossed her thick red hair whenever she brought Sean and his painting crew glasses of cool water. Of course she’d gone to school with one of his cousins and her soft lilting voice triggered a longing for home. Of course she was only in America for six months, saving up some money before she opened a cafe in Killarney with her sister. Of course there’d be plenty of work for Sean, a small apartment above the cafe was theirs for the asking. It was only a matter of time before a pretty Nuala entered Sean’s life. I should’ve been grateful one hadn’t entered it sooner.
But I wasn’t grateful. Not at all. When I’d smelt the perfume on his t-shirt, I knew something was going on. I took a day off from school and followed him. I nearly threw up when I saw him kiss a girl as slight and delicate as a fairy. I’d shut my mouth, of course. I stopped taking the pill and plied Sean with steak and wine one night when I sent the children to the neighbors for a sleepover. I went to St. Anne’s every morning and lit candles. By the time Sean and his love had gathered the nerve to tell me— together, wasn’t that admirable of them?—I had news of my own. I was four months pregnant and had waited to tell Sean until I got the all clear from the doctor and all the tests back. I was expecting a boy. A healthy baby boy. But of course I wouldn’t stand in their way. Sean had to follow his heart and if his three children, no four, if his now four children were not enough to keep him here on Long Island, then I would, of course, not object to a divorce. Don’t worry about me, I’d said. I’d manage. Somehow.
Seven months later Nuala was back home in Killarney selling scones and Sean was holding his son at the St. Anne’s baptismal font. And for good measure he was back a year and a half later with the black-haired baby girl who’d inherited his mother’s chin and his own black eyes and inky curls.
I did what I had to do. To keep my husband here at home with his family. Where—I told myself—he belonged.
There were other Nualas and Mollys and Kathleens over the years. But none of them lasted. I pretended not to know and Sean pretended not to know that I knew. Or may-be he didn’t pretend. Maybe he didn’t care whether I knew or not. But while I know—I know Goddamnit—that I stole something vital from Sean, I gave him the two younger children who needed him and loved him in a way the older three could not.
And that was not nothing.
The Girls on Rose Hill
surrounded by flower filled gardens and a white picket fence. A house
she fled at eighteen. A house full of secrets.
Ellen reluctantly returns home to care for her and uncovers a clue to
the one secret that has haunted Ellen all her life: the identity of
her father. But that is just one of the many secrets hidden behind
the beautiful facade of the house on Rose Hill.
complicated relationship between three generations of women. It will
touch you, make you laugh, and make you cry. Bernadette Walsh's
subtle use of language, traditions, and manners painted an authentic
portrait of an Irish Catholic family. I loved it."
center of a political sex scandal. Today, Maura is a thirty-five year
old hospice nurse who spends her days caring for the cancer-ridden
and comatose and her nights reading romance novels. Her life is
boring and safe and just the way she likes it.
interest in the twenty year old scandal and the attentions of her
most recent patient -- a thirty year old Wall Street investment
banker whose black hair and blue eyes are oddly familiar.
|Bernadette Walsh, Author|
I have always been a bookworm and had always meant to write a novel
“someday.” You know, when I won the lottery and could live in
beach house and feel inspired. Twelve years ago I decided to stop
waiting for my winning lottery ticket and sat down and started
writing. In between work and family obligations, I piled the words on
top of each other until they formed sentences, paragraphs, chapters
and eventually a book. While I’ve hopped around genres, all of my
books to date have a common theme: strong women handling what life
throws at them the best way they can.
The Devlin Witch (Books 1-4 of the Devlin Legacy Series),
Cold Spring, Johnny Be Good, See Me and Friends Forever.
my website www.bernadettewalsh.com.
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