Truth to Fiction-Family Legends & Tall Tales


As the sweep of iced Canadian air pushed through the hard woods of New Brunswick, like a reaper strumming dead bones, a French immigrant family traveled by open carriage to the border of Canada, and crossed by foot onto American soil into Maine.


They managed by rail, and truck, and bus, and luck to find Boston.

The Father had a brother there already. The brother spoke of steady work, lodgings with heat, and stores where all you had to do was walk in and choose food, with fruit that came from wondrous places- like pineapple and banana. Warm places. Islands. You could taste them.


The Parents of this family had little formal education. It wasn’t needed to continue the trade on a fishing boat. The family tradition of hand-to-mouth. Eat what you catch. Sometimes you don’t– eat at all.



The Father did odd jobs for Boston- like occasionally running bootleg liqueur  along the Bay of Fundy or repurposing coat closets with indoor plumbing for rich people.


The Mother was in service as an upstairs French maid for a prominent Brahmin family on Beacon Hill, until the Depression hit, and then even all the money in the world couldn’t save you. Or their jobs.


By 1934, with a new baby just born, the parents delivered their eldest child to live with nuns. They couldn’t feed her and her two sisters combined.


The Mother was allowed to visit for one hour, once a month. Sometimes the child didn’t attend the visits. The Mother was told the child was being punished for bad behavior, that God wiling, hopefully next month she’d be more obedient.



When the Mother inquired as to the offenses, she was told that it was of no concern to her as long as the child was under the roof of the Lord and the Mother continued to require their services.


The Mother visited every month- for over a year.



By then, the Father had decided to move to the water, to leave the city, where he could fish for their supper, and on their way, they gathered their eldest daughter from the Nuns, and vowed to never set foot in a Catholic Church again.


The daughter was afraid of closets now. They didn’t ask why, but the Father removed every closet door from every house that they ever lived together-in again.



And then, one day, twenty year’s of days into the future, with the warm caress of a tropical breeze blowing through the fronds of soft palms, like a mistress whispering in the ear of a lover, a nun was found dead in a closet.



The family had finally made it to Florida…


The fishing was good.

southern skyPINIMAGE

  • William Kendall - Quite a twist!ReplyCancel

  • Diane - And now I’m wondering how much was truth and how much – fiction . . . Wonderfully told. I’m shivering at the sight of my closet now!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Some of it WAS true, but I’ll never tell what! Boo!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - I love a good dead Nun in the closet story. You don’t read about those as much as you used to…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - HA! I know right? I’m also jonesing for a good priest nailed to his parish cross tale. That’s always a good one.ReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - That was pretty cool.ReplyCancel

  • Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry - Okay I thought I was afraid of the dark or what was under the bed…but now Closets? Oh my Cheryl, this was good.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - When in a Church do NOT open closets- they hide all sorts of things in them.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Tackett - Yikes…and that is exactly why I stay away from closets. All of mine will confirm that I haven’t cleaned them out in ages! Fun (in a creepy way) story.ReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - Yikes! Like the nun, I never saw it coming.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You were a Nun in a past life right? HA!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Cook Bonifant - Great, great, great story.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - You hooked me with the image of the iced Canadian air and carried me all the way through to the sound of a nun’s bones falling out of a closet…. Gripping story, masterfully told!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Like iced fingers strumming a dead log she fell…..BOO!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Lucas - Very craftily written…I was drawn into the chilly scene and the BAM, I was trolling off a deep sea cruiser in Florida! Fantastic – I didn’t see that coming!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s kinda a true story. I just followed my grandparents journey. Except for the dead Nun. Tho I’ve met a few I can see that happening to.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - A delightful halloween story from Cheryl NichollReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you. There will plenty more ‘stories ‘ to come this month. I love a good scare!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy Walker Cushing - Fun story! I love a good tale!ReplyCancel

  • Its All About The Yummy - I think I will leave my closet door open!ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Wow! I don’t think I’ll be going into my closet for a good long while now …ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Okay, that was a smash ending. Except my mind keeps thinking of things like decomposition would have happened in a twenty year span. Great family legend.ReplyCancel

  • Angela Hall Weight - I felt like I was write there! Loved it. What a gift you have with words. ReplyCancel

  • Angela Hall Weight - Right, not write. Oops.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Clever writing===just what I needed this morning to get me going!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m so happy I could return the favor seeing how you do ‘it’ for me every morning. HahaaaReplyCancel

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