Mothers & daughters: 'She's the only one who really knows all my secrets.'

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Every Thursday, on Denell McArthur's day off from her job as a pharmacist, she and her mom, Naomi McArthur, 64, make a day of it: shopping, getting a manicure, going to see Denzel Washington in "The Insider," working out at Bally's Total Fitness in Penn Hills, just being together.

Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette
Naomi McArthur, 64, and daughter Denell McArthur, 40, both of Penn Hills.
Click photo for larger image.

"We just click," says Denell, 40, of Penn Hills.

Denell has two sisters and two brothers, and they're close to Naomi McArthur, too, but they both tell her -- without apparent rancor -- she's her mom's favorite. Proximity may be one reason: Denell and her mom live five minutes apart.

"After my divorce, she was living with me for a while, but we thought it best that she get her own place so I wouldn't be in her hair."

But they talk every day.

"She's always there for me. Don't get me wrong, if she doesn't like a guy, she'll say, 'Now honey, he doesn't seem like the right one.' It upsets me, but she doesn't throw it in my face."

Denell enjoys doing things for her mother, who had a stroke in November -- doing her laundry, ironing her clothes. It's the least she can do after all her mother did for her. Naomi McArthur urged her daughter to go to college and later to pharmacy school, and supported her after her marriage broke up.

"She knows all my business," Denell said with a smile. "I say, 'I shouldn't tell you this, Mommy, and she'll say, 'Oh, just tell me.' She's the only one who really knows all my secrets."

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