Former Winnipegger Susan Freedman dipped into the secret love letters of her parents for her new Fringe show called Spilling Family Secrets.

She was 11 when she discovered the letters in a shoebox in her mother's closet and she cringed with embarrassment as she read them at the time.

Sixty years later her mother gave her the letters, and they took on a whole new meaning.

"I was very, very fascinated to really get to know my parents at 19 years of age. Who has that opportunity? To get to know one's parents before they were parents, it was a real gift," she said.

Freedman's parents wrote love letters to each other in Winnipeg from 1927 to 1937 from the time they were 19. 

"They wrote many letters and they wrote long letters," she said.

In preparing the play, Freedman transcribed the 75 pages of single-spaced letters, then whittled them down. She uses the letters as props in her one-person show.

Spilling Family Secrets Susan Freedman

Spilling Family Secrets is Susan Freedman's fourth Winnipeg Fringe show. (Alan Silverman)

"I do weave my own checkered career throughout, too," she admitted.

As for revealing secrets, she said the biggest secret is how they nurtured and maintained their fabulous love for each other.

"By the time I was reading the letters, which started just a few years ago, I had sorted out my major catastrophes," she said, laughing.

"I think this sort of a love story is inspirational to anybody, certainly to me, too. Had I read them when I was 19, I think the effect would have been different, perhaps more helpful, I think no less profound."

Susan Freedman presents Spilling Family Secrets at Venue 7 at Cinematheque July 16 - 27 at various times.