Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Giv'n the Land, If They Lived Righteously

In second grade, I got my picture in the paper for Pioneer Days (I'm the squinty one on the far left). Ironically, I was one of the few Catholics in my school. If you couldn't already tell by the fact that there is one boy to three girls, the pioneers in question, were Mormons.

When I was in fourth grade, I started to wonder if all the Mormon girls had it in for me. Marcia, who lived across the street, delivered me some shattering news.

"You might be interested to know that you didn't get lice by accident, " she said. I contracted a case of head lice the week before and I was so embarrassed that I wouldn't even go into the store with my mom to buy the special shampoo.

"I don't get it."

"Diana Noble brushed your hair with her brush when she knew she had lice. She did it on purpose."

"Why would she do that?" I asked. I didn't believe Marcia since she was usually full of shit.

"Because you're a stinky hippie and you don't take a bath ever and she wanted to show you what happened when you didn't take a bath."

"I take baths, I just have curly hair so it looks like this...And anyway, she had lice first."

"Yeah, but she's Mormon and her family has a lot of kids so they're bound to get it at some point. Besides, her dad's a Bishop and there's a statue of him in the park." Diana Noble's dad was also a teacher at my sister's high school.

"My sister said he's full of himself."

"He's allowed to be, he's a Bishop. Plus, your mom is really old and she's not married and that's bad. You shouldn't be so loud and happy all the time. My mom says that you need to be taken down a notch."

"Why would your mom say that about a kid? My mom would never say that about any of the neighbors."

"That's because she's old. She acts like an older person should, except she should have a husband." The Mormons in our neighborhood were continually sending their brothers, cousins and uncles over to ask my Mom out and to offer us another copy of The Book of Mormon.

"So, your mom hurts you. You said it yourself."

"She doesn't mean it. She tells me she's sorry sometimes. I'm just saying this for your own good. All the other girls from our church think the same thing. You know Linetti? She wants to beat you up and you should be scared because she's big and she's from Tonga. If you don't start acting different, you will have all of us girls to worry about." Just last week, Linetti was my best friend, but she must have given me up for my own good and the good of the Mormon Church.

"Well, maybe all you girls should start worrying about me too."

"Why, would we worry about you? There's only one of you and you're a hippie and a Catholic. You can't hurt us."

"I'm not a hippie. But all of us Catholics know magic and if you don't get those other girls to stop, I'm going to use it on you."

"You don't know magic."

"Yes, I do. We all do. What do you think we do with all those candles and saint statues and incense? We make spells. That's why the Mormons hate us so much. They know we have special powers."

"Nuh uh. You're kidding, right?" Marcia asked.

"No. I'm dead serious. In fact, I'm going home right now to light a candle just for you." I started to walk away and Marcia followed behind me. "You better get going," I warned. "You have to talk to all those girls by tomorrow. I'm bringing my Rosary to school, so if any of them say even one mean thing to me, I'm going to start rubbing the beads and you can tell me if I'm kidding."

I'm not sure what Marcia said to the other girls, I just know that none of them ever offered to brush my hair again.


Margaret said...

Do you think they kept sending Mormon men to the house to experience your mom's special powers? Way to go, scaring the mormon mafia.

mackeral snapper said...

That's awesome! You're cool but you must have been cool from birth.

Luckily I grew up in a 90% catholic community so when any prots got all anti-catholic we'd just do a polite ignoring of them.

Thanks for sharing that story.

Churlita said...


I don't really like to think about my mom having special powers, you know?

Mackeral Snapper,

Thanks, but I don't think I've ever been cool. The weird thing about this, is the next year we moved to a suburb of Chicago that was not only almost all Catholic, it was predominantly Irish. I however, was never mean to the kids who weren't either of those.

booda baby said...

Who'd have thought Mormon moms would teach their daughters to be such dicks? Can you believe how lucky you were to get to sharpen yourself on their dull little Mormon-mom-in-training heads?

And, oooh and ahhh. I grew up in Chicago, which 1. explains just about everything about me and 2. meant that, as a protestant, all things Catholic were mysterious and irresistibly sexy. The Catholic League. Jeeeeze. Half my college boyfriend's appeal was his being from the Catholic League. The other half was that he was one of the funniest men I'd ever met. And a troublemaker. (Is that a Catholic thang? Do you have to live in a suburb to get that?)

Churlita said...

That girl's mom would have been messed up no matter what religion she had been.

I think you and I both know that the Catholic School kids get in WAY more trouble than kids from any other religion. There are just so many things to rebel against when you grow up Catholic.

matt said...

My parents converted when I was 12. I started attending a small rural catholic school since I'd gotten kicked out of the public schools. I really took to all the ceremony and gravity of the service. This went up against the seemingly, to me, trite solemnity of the protestant group that I had attended sporadically. I found a home there. My wife is a cradle catholic and it seems that they take it all for granted. For me it's a vital part of my life.

Margaret said...

I do know.

Churlita said...

Matt, that's great. My oldest daughter is pretty into it as well and attends mass regularly. My youngest daughter goes to a Presbyterian youth group which seems to be lower key and works for her.

I still like the ritual part, but have a lot of problems with the dogma. Organized religion has never been my thing, but I know that it really works for other people. I'm glad you found something that makes you happy.


I thought you would know.