Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holy Night

It's two days before Christmas. God bless all the little children in the world...

A child asleep
a dark wintry night
stars in the sky
dazzling and bright...
Soft sighs and sweet dreams
from under the covers
and next to the child
a young mother hovers
watching her child's
innocent face
and thanking God
for this moment's grace...
A profile in moonlight
a small dimpled chin
a face of wonder and purity
and free of all sin...
The mother stands watching
protecting her child
from all that is dark
and cruel and wild
The rise and fall
of the child's chest
means slumber is deep
and now mother can rest
A kiss on the cheek
she pauses at the door
to gaze at her child
for a moment more
She stands and she wonders
Did Mary feel this way
when she gave birth long ago
on the first Christmas Day?
Did she feel in her heart
and could she already see
that her Son would be the Savior
of this child before me?
Peace settles over me
I blow a kiss to my girl
and silently thank God
for His gift to this world...
A Son who would be born
grow up and die
to save all on earth
therefore ensuring that I
would have a child of my own
to care for and love
and remind her always
that she's a gift from Above...
A quiet evening
before the most Holy Night
for this moment in time
all in my world is right.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the many blessings in my life. Help me always to love my child unconditionally and to raise her to believe and trust in You. Amen.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Healing Hands

Growing up Catholic, I was always taught the importance of going to Confession. In second grade, Reconciliation was a really big deal. I remember all the preparation and anticipation as my classmates and I got ready for this sacrament. I remember having butterflies in my stomach and feeling dizzy before my first Confession. Why? Well, I’d never done it before (obviously) and it was kind of scary to have to admit out loud all the things I’d done wrong.

When it was finally my turn, I choked. I remember thinking, Shoot. What have I done wrong lately? Yelled at someone? Didn’t make my bed? I came up with a few things for the priest—Father Herdigan heard my first Confession because the line for Father Len was too long and mom didn’t want to be waiting around forever—but I felt like it was kind of a letdown. First, I had thought I was going to be in a dark confessional and could hide, but it ended up being face-to-face. Secondly, I didn’t feel any kind of big healing power when I was done. It was more like, Okay, I just tattled on myself, I’m going to say a few prayers, and then what?

Unfortunately, it set the stage for what would become a strong aversion to going to Confession. Now, don’t get me wrong…I liked going to Catholic grade school, but I was annoyed that I didn’t have much choice when it came to going to Confession. We had to go on a regular basis because it was a requirement. (I just remembered a funny time when I was waiting in line to go to Confession and when it was my turn to go into the confessional, I opened up the wrong door and walked in on the priest. It was Father Maher. Oooops.)

As I got older, I became more and more disenchanted with the whole process. Heck, until last night, I hadn’t been to Confession in probably fifteen years. As I got older, I never saw the point and even began to resent the idea. I always thought that if I was truly sorry for something, God would know that, and if I asked Him for forgiveness, it would be granted. To a degree, I still believe that. And yet, I had reached a point in my life where my soul was feeling a little dirty. A few too many dark spots. And just asking for forgiveness didn’t seem to be enough. So, after much thought and careful consideration, I decided to attend the Advent Reconciliation Service at my current parish, Holy Family.

The service last night helped me learn what Confession is really all about. I learned that it’s not necessary to go through the whole laundry list of wrongs that I’ve committed—like muttering mean things under my breath when I get cut off in traffic or silently cursing the dentist when he’s drilling into an already tender tooth or getting impatient in long lines. Those “sins” happen because we’re human. It’s the bigger sins that pose a problem. Like being intentionally mean in thoughts, words and actions because anger and bitterness have taken a foothold or holding a grudge against someone for a long-past wrongdoing.

Face-to-face confession is a little intimidating, but I decided to bite the bullet and do it. The priest who heard my confession last night exuded warmth and kindness and as I really opened myself up and spilled out the darkness that had been tainting my soul, I swear I felt a burden being lifted from me. In a way, his hands on my shoulders were almost sucking that darkness right out of me. I found myself getting a little emotional and as my voice quivered, he quietly reminded me that it’s time to let go because the only person I’m hurting right now is myself. In my heart, I already knew that was true, but hearing it from him caused all my defenses to crumble. As he gave me my penance, a few tears slipped out of my left eye and he used the thumb of his right hand to wipe them away. He cupped my face and reminded me that everything was going to be okay, gave me a blessing and a gentle smile and sent me on my way.

The power of Confession had always been lost on me before. I never really understood it. I understand it now. It goes beyond just confessing things out loud. It goes to that deeper healing and understanding and really feeling the power of God’s love and forgiveness. And I’m feeling it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Holiday Memories

Every now and then, I start to feel nostalgic—which I suppose is obvious given my reminiscing here.

Today, I started feeling nostalgic about the St. Genevieve Christmas Bazaar. Every year in Maher Hall, there was a collection of items ranging from baked goods, to plants, to craft items that could be purchased by the students. It was a fund-raiser for the school, but it was also a fun opportunity to let the kids to their Christmas shopping. It was especially fun for the really young kids, who were sent with an envelope of money and a “list” of items to be purchased. All the parents who were volunteering at this big event would walk around with the little ones, helping them pick out gifts for their families.

I remember walking around, feeling overwhelmed by how much stuff was there. I wanted it all! The little Christmas magnets? Loved ’em. Yarn doilies? Everyone needs more doilies. Pictures, live plants, fake plants, key chains…it was a paradise of sorts.

But the best part was the raffle. There were certain items—a little bigger and a little nicer than the regular stuff that was for sale—that you could buy raffle tickets for and keep your fingers crossed, hoping that you would win it.

One year (and I’m struggling to remember if it was third or fourth grade), there was a neat little camera up for raffle and my boyfriend Jason really, really wanted it. I think he spent all his money buying tickets, sure that if he put in enough, he was guaranteed to win it. He was crushed when he didn’t.

And then there was me. I had a little money left over after purchasing a vast array of craft items and plastic flowers, so I threw in a raffle ticket for a Cookie Monster cookie jar. It was hand-made and came from someone who had created it in a ceramics class. I won that cookie jar. And I still have it. In fact, I’m looking at it right now.

For the most part, it has sat, completely empty, devoid of cookies or any other treats. So why do I keep it? Why do I let it sit empty, year after year?

Because it’s not empty. It’s full of memories…twenty years of memories…memories of an easier time, simplicity and innocence. It’s full of the memories of one little girl who is now a woman on the outside, but on the inside, still carries hopes and dreams for the future.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hide and Seek

Catholic schools are special places. And if you’re lucky, you also get to find the special places in the adjacent church and rectory. I was one of the lucky ones.

If I remember correctly, it happened while I was in third grade. I had already learned some of the shortcuts in the school, how to take extra-long bathroom breaks without getting caught and so on. But this year, there was something new to explore, and it was one of the greatest adventures I had while at St. Genevieve.

It was Thanksgiving time and we’d had a huge food drive to help the needy. I was one of the lucky volunteers who got to help load the food into the big truck. There was food in the school, as well as in the rectory. All of the student volunteers were assigned to “teams” and I got to be on the team that was going to get the food from the rectory. We finished really quickly and we didn’t want to go back to class yet, so the priests let us play hide-and-seek in the rectory. Now, there’s all this insanity about abuse in the Catholic Church, but these priests weren’t like that. They were just nice, which these days, seems to be a completely foreign concept.

Anyway, I swear that rectory grew to astronomical proportions once we were inside. From the outside, it was just a brick building, but on the inside—whoa. It was a myriad of rooms and hallways, a seemingly endless maze of red carpet and dark-paneled walls. There were so many places to hide—too many places to hide. I actually got lost at one point! I remember walking into the dining room (which contained the longest table I’d ever seen in my life) and thinking that it must have been made for giants.

I wandered aimlessly for I don’t even know how long, completely forgetting that I was supposed to be finding my classmates. At some point, I must have taken a wrong turn, because I suddenly found myself stepping into the church. I was in there, completely alone in the cavernous space. It was a cloudy day, so there wasn’t much light coming in through the stained-glass windows and all the lights in the church were off. Other than the subtle glow of candlelight, there was nothing. The silence was deafening. Never before and not since, have I ever heard such a loud quiet.

And there was something else.

I remember that I didn’t feel afraid. I could just tell that I wasn’t alone anymore. I remember sitting near the altar, admiring it and its surroundings. I’d never seen it that close up before. The tabernacle sat in a lone spot behind the altar, gleaming gold in the candlelight, shadows playing on the delicate scrollwork that covered the front. There was a special feeling growing and spreading in my chest—it was warm, comforting and strangely familiar. As I got up, I was aware that there was a slight movement, a small quick shadow. How could something be moving, when I was the only one there? There was no breeze, no stirring of the air.

When I looked up, I knew that the feeling I had of not being alone was accurate. There was someone there with me. A single candle was blazing next to the altar. It was a small candle compared to the many others in the church, but it was contained in a red, glass cup and was hanging there, the flame flickering, as though someone was gently blowing on it, not quite hard enough to extinguish it, but hard enough that the orange-yellow flame kept going sideways.

I stood there, mesmerized, curious, wanting to look closer, but knowing I didn’t have to. Father Len had shared the story of the candle in the red cup—as long as the flame is burning and you can see that glow of red, it means that God is in that place. And I was sure—I knew down to the very core of my soul—God was in that church with me. Considering that I was doing something I shouldn’t have been, sneaking away and prowling around the church, I was still strangely unafraid. A small smile tugged at the corners of my mouth as I whirled my head around, looking behind me, eyes darting up and down, scanning the ceiling, straining to see up into the choir loft. I wanted to see God in that moment. He was there. And then I realized I was looking in the wrong places. He wasn’t a person. He was that little flutter of a breeze that made the candle flicker. I had already seen Him.

I turned then, skipping out the side door—not to go back into the rectory, but to head outside. The truck was still in the alley, the last bit of food being loaded by students. My friends were there and they looked at me quizzically. “Where have you been? We were waiting for you.” I shrugged, not wanting to share. I remember locking eyes with Father Len and smiling. And I remember him smiling back at me, a knowing smile, a smile that went far beyond his mouth and extended up into his twinkling eyes. From behind his glasses, he raised his eyebrows just a little, and I remember the corners of his eyes crinkling as the smile on his face grew wider. It was a smile that said he absolutely knew where I had been and he knew that I had just experienced something special. We never spoke of it and word never got back to the teachers that we’d been allowed to goof off in the rectory for a little while.

But I knew then, and I know now, there are special places no matter where we go. And God is everywhere. He may not be hiding, but in the briefest of moments, we get to "seek" Him just the same. I know that I just have to pay attention to see Him.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sawdust

It happened, inevitably, at least once each school year. The dreaded vomit-in-the-classroom. Does anyone else remember the janitors coming in and sprinkling the sawdust down on the offensive, odiferous pile of barf? Man, there's a special place in Heaven for janitors. What would St. Genevieve have done without Pete and Alfonso?

My first experience with the sawdust/vomit combo was in kindergarten. I remember it was during our candy-sale kick-off, and the representative had brought us some yummy samples. We were chowing away (what else would kindergarteners do?) when all of a sudden, Scott raised his hand and began frantically waving it in the air. Miss Simeone, wanting to keep us quiet so the representative could finish her little candy-shpiel, just kind of ignored him. I can still see him, left hand up in the air, wriggling on the floor, obviously not feeling well, his right hand clutching his stomach and his face contorting and getting sweaty. The next thing I heard was "Miss Simeone, I have to throw up."

And he did.

Eeewwww.

Miss Simeone felt bad and started apologizing to everyone. The janitors were there in no time, joking with Scott so he wouldn't be embarrassed. And they brought the sawdust. I don't know if it made things better or worse--I remember that it just looked gross. And I remember my little friend Renee--her blondish hair in two braids, wearing a white turtleneck and denim overalls--laughing and holding her nose. Then I started laughing. And so did everyone else. Except for the candy lady. She didn't think it was funny that Scott got sick after eating her "delicious, melt-in-your-mouth" peanut butter puffs. Or maybe it just wasn't funny to her, because while trying to get past us laughing, snot-nosed kids, she accidentally stepped in a little bit of the barf-a-roni.

Sawdust barf-a-roni, that is.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fifth Grade Folly

I think everyone probably has a “stupid moment” that will always be remembered. I think I have many (many, MANY) stupid moments that I remember. Like this one:

I was in fifth grade at my little Catholic grade school and back in those days, we didn’t have cafeterias or anything, so we ate lunch in our classrooms. (Side note: Does anyone wonder how all of us kids managed to get through school without dying of food poisoning??? We all kept our lunches, which often consisted of lunchmeat sandwiches, in our paper bags, in the cloak room, without refrigeration…or even air conditioning!)

Anyway, I remember one day, my friend Heather and I were eating lunch. She had turned her desk to face mine and we were eating and chatting away when Raymond, my fifth grade boyfriend (I already had been dumped by Jason at this point) was trying to get my attention. In classic fifth-grade-girl manner, I completely ignored his attempts. However, I could hear a steady thump-thump-thump coming from behind me. I didn’t want to look over my shoulder, so I asked Heather, who was busy chugging her chocolate milk, to see what he was doing.

She glanced past me, and faster than I could blink, I was covered with a spray of chocolate milk. In my hair, on my face, dripping down my neck, all over my uniform. I remember that my round-collar white blouse had little chocolate milk speckles all over it. What had caused Heather to spray milk from her mouth?

Raymond was humping his desk.

Yes, we were attending Catholic school, we were fifth-graders, and Raymond was humping his desk.

Heather was laughing so hard she was crying, but she kept trying to apologize for spitting her milk out all over me. I was mad, but I ended up laughing, too.

I guess Raymond got my attention after all.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

First Grade Frustration

When I was in first grade, there was some debate over how my brain worked. (Of course, there’s still that debate now, twenty-plus years later, but for different reasons!)

Back in the day, our Catholic school did its own kind of testing to determine what level of classes students should be in. I remember taking one that was supposedly designed to measure level of intelligence and would determine if I should be in regular classes or smarty-pants classes the next year. For one of the sections, there were a couple of red flags that my teacher was concerned about. I had done well overall, but she was worried about the section I had completed on reasoning skills. While it didn’t make sense to me then, I get a huge laugh out of it now.

On this particular section of the test, the teacher would read the question out loud, and the students, who had answer sheets in front of them, had to circle the correct answer, which was in the form of a picture.

One of the questions was something like, “Which item should a child not wear?” There was a picture of a shirt, shoes, a lamp and a watch. I circled the watch.

One of the other questions was on the order of, “How does a squirrel get into a tree?” There were pictures of a tree—one showed the bottom of the tree, one showed the middle, and one showed the top. I circled the middle of the tree.

Ms. Salek wasn’t sure what to make of it, so there was a conference with me and my mom. The outcome? I remember trying to explain that I knew a child can’t wear a lamp. Hello?! Isn’t there a certain “duh” factor with that? You have to wait until you can visit Fred Flintstone, who had too much to drink at the Water Buffalo Lodge, before you can put a lampshade on your head! And my mom kept telling me I was too young for a watch. Made sense to me! A child shouldn’t wear a watch.

And as for the tree…well, we lived in a two-flat in Chicago on the first floor. When I would look out the living room window, I saw the middle of the large poplar tree in the front yard. The squirrels would jump onto the window ledge from the middle of the tree to eat the bird food my dad put out, and then they would jump back into the middle of the tree. Made sense to me, but it dumbfounded my teacher.

The good news is that they determined I wasn’t cognitively deficient. The bad news is that just for fun, I may let my child put a lampshade on her head, but not let her wear a watch.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fourth-Grade Miracle

A little humor for a Monday…

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher, Ms. Paolicchi, told the most amazing stories. They were all Bible stories—you know, Catholic school and all—and she told them with such fervor and enthusiasm, it was hard not be completely enthralled. My favorite, by far, was her version of the story of Lazarus. (For those of you who don’t remember, Lazarus was the guy who died and was placed in a tomb, but Jesus brought him back to life.)

Anyway, to this day, I remember Ms. Paolicchi telling that story for probably the eighty-gazillionth time (yes, I’m exaggerating), but there was something different in her presentation on this day. I even remember what she was wearing! She was wearing brown polyester slacks with a sort of drapey cowl-necked yellow sweater and brown moccasins. And she was wearing a dangly necklace with all kinds of beads on it. I don’t know why I remember that, but I do. It’s burned into my brain.

I was sitting at my desk (fourth row, third seat), chin propped in my palms, waiting for our religion lesson to be finished, but amazed at her dramatic voice as she described Lazarus’s grieving family and their heartbreak at his death. She was explaining how Jesus had been away, and that was why He wasn’t able to help Lazarus during his illness, and why he had ended up dying. I felt sad for Lazarus and his family, but already knew the outcome (we all knew Jesus was going to save the day), so my excitement probably wasn’t what it should have been as Ms. Paolicchi was working her way up to the miraculous and climactic ending.

I was sitting there, watching as Ms. Paolicchi assumed the proper stance. She was at the front of the classroom, and to her left was the classroom door. She had just gotten to the part where Lazarus’s family brought Jesus to the tomb, and it was like watching it in slow-motion as she turned to face the door on her left, stretched her arms straight out in front of her body, then pulled them back, sort of striking her own chest, took a partial step forward with her right foot and roared, “Lazarus, COME OUT!” At that very second, the classroom door opened, and the entire class of nine-year olds let out frenzied screams of terror. There were actual cries of “Ms. Paolicchi must really be Jesus! Lazarus is coming for us!”

You can imagine the fearful looks and then laughter when the janitor, Alfonso, jumped about three feet in the air with a completely bewildered look on his face. It wasn’t a miracle. Turns out, he was just coming in to collect our recycling bin. Talk about good timing! I don’t know who was more scared—the kids or Alfonso.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Paolicchi was completely unfazed by it. She continued with her story, then launched straight into our spelling lesson without missing a beat. How do teachers do that? Do they just learn to expect the unexpected? I don’t know. And maybe Ms. Paolicchi didn’t know either.

All I do know is that from then on, our class always paid attention to the stories in religion. And maybe that was the point of the story—to expect the unexpected and to always be prepared for miracles.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Fear is Born

Staurophobia--a fear of crosses or crucifixes

Growing up Catholic, I was exposed to the image of the crucifix at an early age. My mom and dad had one in their bedroom, there was one in the bedroom I shared with my sisters, and of course, there was one in every classroom at the school. I never really liked them—it just seemed so sad and painful, and I didn’t want to think about it. I’d also get upset if a student was acting out in class and the teacher pointed to the crucifix and said, by way of a reminder I guess, “Jesus died for your sins.”

It got worse when I was a little older and we would be on Easter break. At home, mom would watch the variety of what I would call “Jesus Movies.” There was “The Robe” and “King of Kings”, and inevitably, I would end up wandering into the living room just in time for the most graphic scenes. My stomach still turns when I think about it. I wasn’t allowed to watch a PG-13 movie, but mom would let me—sometimes even encourage me to—watch this. She believed it was okay, because it was related to our faith and had an educational component to it. FYI: I didn’t agree with it then and I don’t agree with it now.

Anyway, it wasn’t even any of those things that triggered my fear of crucifixes. The roots had probably started, but there was one incident that left me nearly unable to even be in a room where a crucifix is displayed.

Going to Catholic school, each grade attended a weekday mass on a designated day. Of course, this was in addition to attending regular Sunday mass. But it was at one of those weekday masses that the following happened:

There was a huge crucifix at the front of St. Genevieve Catholic Church. It was the largest crucifix I’d ever seen before (and since), and it was surrounded by smaller statues of the Twelve Apostles. There were enormous, ornate, beautiful stained-glass windows that flooded the church with color, and I usually spent more time admiring the windows than paying attention. That day was no exception.

As my eyes were wandering around the church, I did a double-take when I suddenly thought I saw Jesus breathing. I was mesmerized, convincing myself that it couldn’t be happening. But it was there—a subtle, but steady, rise and fall of the chest; a slight movement of the ribcage with each breath. I remember wanting to look away, but not being able to do it. And then, the rigid, forward-facing Jesus turned His head and looked at me.

There was a scream building in the back of my throat, which I quickly swallowed down when I had the sensation of waking up, and realized that I must have nodded off during Father Maher’s sermon.

It must have been just a dream. Vivid and realistic, no doubt, but still just a dream. I think about it far more often than I’d like to, and it comes back to me at the strangest times. Like when my in-laws gave me and my husband a crucifix as a wedding gift. My husband, bless his heart, keeps it tucked away where I can’t see it.

Now, all these years later, you would think I’d have outgrown my irrational fear of crucifixes. I haven’t. I know it’s supposed to represent ultimate sacrifice and love, but it’s still unsettling for me.

I guess it’s a fear that I’m not afraid to hang on to.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Long Story of Memories

It’s funny how once I started thinking about things from childhood, more and more memories came flooding back. Memories from each grade—memories of my teachers, my classmates, friends and enemies, people I loved, people I hated.

Maybe it’s strange, but I remember all of my teachers. I may not remember how to spell all of their names, but I remember all of them.

I remember Miss Simeone, my kindergarten teacher, and how I thought she looked like a larger-than-life, dark-haired Barbie doll. She always had fun activities like “Switch-a-Roni” and various sing-alongs to teach us new skills. I remember the first day of school and how she spent as much time comforting crying children as she did comforting crying parents. That was also where I met Jason, who would become my first little boyfriend.

There was Ms. Salek in first grade, who always did a funny dance in her chair when we would sing, “Hooray for God, Hooray for Me.” Mrs. Jandritz was the other first grade teacher, and I remember that I was upset I wasn’t in her class—until I realized how neat Ms. Salek was.

I was in Mrs. Bellezzo’s main class in second grade and went to Mrs. Gunther’s room for math. Third grade was one of my favorite years. Mrs. Bernadine Caldwell was fantastic and I actually stayed in touch with her, even after my family moved. Mrs. Kehoe was the other teacher, and I remember going to her room for the religion class—that was also when we had to memorize the Apostle’s Creed. Yikes!

Fourth grade was wild. Ms. Paolicchi seemed like she had landed on earth from somewhere else. Not in a bad way, though. She was stuck in her ways, for sure, but she had incredible enthusiasm for teaching. Ms. Ceranek taught the advanced fourth grade reading and science. I remember a story she shared about frozen blueberries and how they reminded her of her father.

Fifth grade was a blast, but kind of traumatic. Jason dumped me that year for Danelle. I recovered, though. Hello! We were only ten! I got over it and set my sights on Raymond. It was okay—he would give me neat little gifts and try to hold my hand. It was fun, but sometimes he wasn’t very nice. I didn’t complain too much when he moved to Florida at the end of the school year. The best part of that school year was being on student council. I was a nerd, even back then!

Sixth grade was different. We got to change classes more often. I was in Mrs. Pawlak’s class, but went to the other teachers—Miss Ragano, Miss Killeen, and Mrs. MacLennon—for reading, social studies and science.

Then seventh grade rolled around. I knew my family was going to be moving, so I tried to make the most of the time I had left. Sister Otilie was my main teacher, but there was also Sister Jean Michael and Ms. Zygowicz. And there was the basketball coach, Mr. Zarconi, who inspired me to play and play well. And to have fun. My playing was cut short a few months later when I hurt my knee, but I remember the role he played in giving us clumsy kids the confidence we needed.
There were other people in the school. Miss Lubbock, Mrs. Gleason and Mrs. Carli in the library. There was a variety of music teachers over the years—Mrs. Swantek, Mr. Brown, Mrs. Rae, Mr. Bosen, Mr. Barcanic. The gym teachers—Mrs. Harper, Miss McCormick and Ms. Westendorf.

I remember Ms. Snopek, the principal, and how she would scare students with the idea of a “spanking machine” if they got poor grades on their report cards. Mrs. Ketter was the assistant/secretary/nurse, all rolled into one. She bandaged up more scrapes and cuts than I could count—and that was just on me!

When Ms. Snopek left, Ms. Gawlik became principal—not the former fifth grade teacher. This was a scary woman who the students—and some teachers—were terrified of. There was a negative shift in school spirit and morale when she came on board. But I remember the new secretary, Mrs. Cholewienczki, who was the mother of one of my classmates and was super-nice to everyone.

I also remember Alfonso and Pete, who did the maintenance and janitorial work around the school. They were the best. Alfonso taught us how to do fun things like have garbage can races down the hall. And he taught us the importance of never, ever putting soda cans in with the garbage that was being incinerated. Pete was more subdued, but always there. I remember his plaid shirts and baseball cap.

I don’t know why or even how I manage to remember all of this…all of this and still so much more. There’s a reason I remember. Hopefully, I’ll discover that reason. I believe it goes far beyond just memories and how they shaped my life. There’s got to be something more.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Growing Up

I grew up Catholic. I'm still Catholic. I think I fit the profile of the proverbial "Guilty Catholic." I also think I'm okay with that.

Reminiscing is a good thing. The idea for this blog came to me last night as I was drifting off to sleep. (Bedtime is usually when I have my best ideas!) From out of nowhere, I suddenly remembered a single sheet of paper my older sister (Sister #1 of The Four Crazy Sisters--check us out at www.fourcrazysisters.blogspot.com) had brought home (from the same Catholic school, by the way), and it was a mimeographed picture of a Vampire with a short story on it. Wait a minute...Vampires? What kind of stuff were they teaching us?? HA! Anyway, I remember that the mimeograph ink was purple. We're not that old, but apparently this was before the day of black and white copiers in schools.

So, the thought of that blurred purple picture is what inspired me to do this. What fun to think about those early days of my education, the teachers I had, the friends I made who I haven't seen in over 15 years. Ah. Memories.

I loved my school in Chicago. The worst part came when my family moved 40 miles outside of the city and I had to be enrolled in a public school. Who knew I would miss those blue plaid uniforms and white, rounded-collar blouses? And white knee socks? And no makeup?

Life was simpler back then. I look forward to remembering those simpler times and sharing them.