Track Eight: You Were Right

A Rose Mary Stretch of the Imagination, pt. 8

The story of Richard Nixon’s secretary, told as if Built to Spill’s seminal release Keep it like a Secret was a concept album about the Watergate Scandal.


Thomas Woods Sr. passed away in the summer of 1974. President Richard Nixon officially announced his resignation on live television 3 weeks later. Rose watched from the sofa in her mother’s living room.


At the funeral Mary’s doctor took Rose aside. He explained that unfortunately her mother’s condition wasn’t likely to improve. He was soft spoken and polite, even apologetic, as if he knew he had chosen a poor time to allow Mary’s health to deteriorate — Rose could see why her mother liked him.

“I know it’s a tough time for everyone,” he said, referring probably as much to the nation as to her own family, “But, I’m sure you might have noticed, being home with your mother… She’s going to need a full-time caretaker very soon…”


Mary set her knitting aside and gazed through the window. The buckeyes in the yard were full and cast shadows in the afternoon sun. “I miss your father,” she told the drapes. Rose stood up, turned off the television, patted her mother’s hand and stroked her graying head.

“I know, mom. I miss him, too.”


At the moment, Mary was sitting quietly near a casket on the other side of the chapel. People held her hand, re-introduced their children, spoke of how much Tom meant to them.

Rose thanked the doctor but told him everything was going to be alright. She had decided to stay long before.