The Secret Lives of Us Kids: a Childhood Memoir, 1941-1945

A new year, another book, and exciting writing projects are underway. Bonnie continues to write because she is compelled to do so.  She balances her writing schedule with her love of being outdoors, in her wild flower garden, or walking with her dogs and cats. She believes the preservation of our stories to be as important as the preservation of the environment in which we live.

The Secret Lives of Us Kids: a Childhood Memoir, 1941-1945 was released in December, 2914. The book depicts the lives of four children marooned in a harsh Montana oilfield at the beginning of World War II.  The narrative poems express notes of despair and dismay, but also describe delight in small things. When the carefree days of their ranch childhood were stripped away, they found themselves assuming adult responsibilities.  No one told them they had to become the caregivers of their younger brothers when their parents were unable to function. They just did it.

Us Kids

There are four.
Pat has black hair
like Daddy.
Black Irish some say.
He is curious
and so happy
to find how things work.
He is twelve.

I am the girl,
two years younger
I am told I am nice
My grades are mostly “A’s”.

Mike came with red hair.
He is a smart, sweet boy,
only eight and worries so.
“Sensitive,” my mother says.

Jerry is six.
He has a warrior’s eyes.
He says things like,
‘Our Cat is Gray Cat.
She is gray.”
He gave Joe, the canary, a bath,
and Joe expired in the suds.

We play together
when there is time.
Living here is not so bad
with each other.


Praise for The Secret Lives of Us Kids

Bonnie Buckley Maldonado’s new collection is full of gems draw you in and take you back to a harsh, hardscrabble past, an America made of dust and oil and scraps of cloth. Reading the collection is like being given a tour of the mid-20th century by an old friend with a piercing gaze and a wicked way with metaphor.”
- JJ Wilson, Writer-in-Residence, Western New Mexico University

Pat & Bonnie


Being Told

Why would a grownup
want to tell a child
what could only
make her feel bad?

He stood on the top step,
making him even taller.
I was pinned
to the bottom stair
by his words.
“She will pull out of here
one day, and she won’t come back.”

What did he know
about Mama?
She might kill herself first.
He didn’t know that.
I hate the way his mouth
said the words.
My stomach hurt.
I did not cry.