It had been twenty-four years since she’d last seen it, but my mother had said the place looked exactly the same. My mother frequently told me the story of growing up on a farm in rural Nebraska, but never would take us to see the farm. She had recently been to visit the farm by herself, but also wouldn’t let us go with her. I always wondered if something terrible had happened to her there, but she talked about how the farm had been a great experience and she wouldn’t change anything. I still had my suspicions.
Why else would she talk about a great upbringing and not want to share it with us? She had been back for three days when I made the decision to look through her things. As soon as she left for work and I was certain she was not coming back, I headed to her bedroom. She was always pretty honest with us about most things so I wasn’t really sure where she would hide anything. I first looked in the obvious places – her closet, underwear drawer, under the mattress. Nothing. But then I started thinking about places we never frequented. Like the laundry room. Or maybe the tallest cabinet in the kitchen. I decided looking through dirty clothes was last on my list of things I wanted to do. Underneath unused dishes, in the far top corner of the pantry, I found a newspaper article. My mother had a twin sister.