Walnut Grove, Minn.-Recently, Alice Garvey wrote to The Prairie Review with a problem she was having in her personal life. Here’s what Alice had to say:
Recently, my husband, Jonathan, surprised me with a telephone in the house. Needless to say, I was about speechless! It was so extravagant and thoughtful. He said he bought if for me so I could talk to my mother since I had missed her. This was all very exciting, but only a couple of minutes into the phone call and I suddenly remembered why sometimes writing a letter is better. My mother inquired about Andrew’s grades and then dropped a bombshell about Harold being out of prison. Now, Harold was a man that I had married very briefly when I was just a girl, but the marriage ended after only three weeks when Harold was sentenced to prison. A while later I met Jonathan and married. I never told Jonathan about Harold and he really has a bee in his bonnet about it. He says he can’t believe I lied to him and it was so bad to find out after all this time. I just felt sure that if I told him he wouldn’t ever have married me. My mother always thought I should tell Jonathan, but I just didn’t think it was right. Now Jonathan seems to think he can’t trust me and I am afraid I’m losing him. AITA for not telling my husband about my first marriage?
Well, there you have it! Let’s see what the fine folks of Walnut Grove think of Alice’s predicament:
Caroline Ingalls: You’re NTA. I’m not surprised this is causing such a problem though–it wasn’t that long ago that Jonathan almost divorced you because you weren’t happy that you got a hat instead of being allowed to work at the post office a few times a week. You know, when Charles lets his pride get in the way, I have a way of phrasing things that seems very friendly but straighten him out real quick. I’d be happy to give you some pointers.
Charles Ingalls: NTA. I understand why Jonathan is shocked, but I don’t think he should throw away nearly fifteen years of marriage because of it. Everyone makes mistakes. If you’re going to judge people in your personal relationships by things they did before you even met them, you’re going to have a lot of trouble. I’ll have a talk with Jonathan on our next freight load.
Doc Baker: ESH. Your mother hasn’t talked to you for how long, months? And then only by letter? She maybe hasn’t heard your voice for years and after asking only a brief question about her grandson she then launches into talking about how your first husband got out of jail? She sounds like she just likes to stir the pot. I do agree with her though that you should have told Jonathan. If Jonathan held it against you and didn’t marry you, he WBTA. As it stands anyway, he acts like you’re an entirely different person since he found out, and that doesn’t sit right with me either.
Nellie Oleson: YTA. You should have told the truth. It was a silly thing to hide. Now excuse me while I go mercilessly taunt your son about it.
Laura Ingalls: Boy, the Garveys sure have their share of troubles. I think ESH because that family seems so dysfunctional compared to mine.
Nels Oleson: You’re NTA. Why this is simply small potatoes compared to some of the whoppers Harriet has pulled in her day. Why, as we speak she is counting up money to put toward some investment that she heard about from eavesdropping–AGAIN. I told her that behavior is unacceptable and I am deeply sorry that she spread this news about you. The woman just cannot be trusted! I think you should have told Jonathan, but this is small potatoes compared to what I deal with on a regular basis.
Mr. Anderson, the banker: Harriet is TA here. She should not be listening in on phone conversations! Boy am I going to get back at her though. To be clear, though, while I’m not calling Alice the AH here, I do think you should have told Jonathan sooner. Just like in banking–honesty is the best policy.
Albert Ingalls: You never know how long you have on this Earth. Instead of thinking about who the AH is, how about you just enjoy life? If you were to die a few episodes from now, would you be regretting this? If the answer is yes, then just move on.
Ruth Foster: I’m leaning towards YTA, but I think it’s important to ask yourself why you felt like you couldn’t tell Jonathan. He seems a bit explosive, doesn’t he? Now that we know your history a bit more, is it possible you have some father issues that are playing out in your relationships? Also, YTA because you had this conversation with your mother over the phone instead of via postcard, where I could have read it and been the first to know.