I mentioned here the other day that my mom had been a nun when she met my father. I think the story goes something like this: my mom was playing the guitar at her convent when she locked eyes on my dad [a Catholic priest at the time] who was there on some kind of priestly business. She didn’t have a case for her guitar, and when my dad learned of this, he got the idea to woo her with a guitar case. You know those Catholic nuns aren’t loose women; a man has to step it up if he’s going to lock one of them down!
So my dad, the 'play-a' that he is, dropped off a case, a few days later, with my mom’s mother superior. Whenever I play this scenario in my head, my mom’s mother superior looks just like the actress who played Julie Andrews' mother superior in The Sound of Music. Then the Sound of Music soundtrack plays over and over in my head until I listen to some other song equally as ‘sticky.’ Luckily, I know The Backyardigians and The Wonder Pets have got my back on this one!
Anyway, that’s how it all began, and I am grateful fate played itself out this way. Although I may be somewhat bias given my very existence hinged on them hooking-up. On the other hand, I know my parents’ families were conflicted and struggled with my mom and dad leaving their respective orders. [Think mother-in-law who believes some whore stole her son from Jesus.] But, both my parents wanted to spend their lives with someone they loved and raise a family. Can you imagine...a priest who desired to live in a monogamous relationship with another woman and raise children of his own? SCANDALOUS!
My dad had entered the seminary when he was a freshman in high school and then continued on to the priesthood. It’s difficult for me to get hard numbers on this, but I estimate he spent around twenty-five years in the seminary and the priesthood.
My mom is a different story. According to her, she entered the convent sometime in her twenties after graduating from a Catholic all women's university where she studied theater. I think she felt a little adrift after college and ended up in the convent much the same way some women end up marrying the wrong guy. She’d spent four years in college with nuns [familiarity], the convent was there [proximity], and it was willing to put a ring on it [acceptance]!
If you knew my mom - then you knew she wasn’t nun material. She’d shudder and roll her eyes whenever we brought up the subject. You know, like how some day my kids are going to pull out a photo taken of me in the eighties with big bangs, and I’m going to be all...“Put that away! We were all wearing our hair like that back then!” Except my mom couldn’t say...“We were all celibate and becoming nuns back in the sixties!”
My parents ended up getting married, became artists and had my brother and me. They lived happily ever after until my mom died ten years ago from pancreatic cancer. I know my mom is somewhere right now going... “The convent? A nun? Really Meredith, that’s what you’re telling the Internet I was?”
So Internet, this is what my mom was...
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