Thursday, April 1, 2010

Catholic Beginnings

Growing up in a poor, white Catholic family in Wisconsin, I could always count on certain things:

1. Church every Sunday (and every holy day of obligation and the First Friday of every month)
2. Paul Harvey on the radio
3. Hee Haw on TV on Saturday nights and an hour of polka dancing/music every Sunday.
4. Dessert after every meal (I don’t know how my mother managed it!)
5. Hand-me-downs

I was the youngest of eight children. By the time they got to me, my parents pinned all their hopes on me of providing the Roman Catholic Church with a priest or nun since none of my older siblings were cooperating. (I guess even that was a hand-me-down of sorts.) Back in their day, it meant bragging rights to have a relative as a member of the cloth. My mother used to tell me when she first met my father that she boasted, “My sister is a Carmelite nun!” to which he replied, “Well my THREE sisters are Franciscan nuns!” I went to Catholic grade school, dutifully studied in my plaid jumper uniform, and with my family lineage, felt destined to become a nun, and I waited for “the call”. Well, instead, in the seventh grade I started public school and met Mary, my new best friend. She was more worldly than I, had been allowed more freedom in her Lutheran upbringing, and shared a household with only two older sisters instead of seven older siblings like I had. She introduced me to boys and parties and softball games at the park. We were thick as thieves, always being good girls, but we flirted and carried on with the happy party people. There went my parents’ hopes of the convent for their youngest…

Many years later, when I met my now husband, I was surprised to learn that he had been raised a devoted Catholic, had served masses as an altar boy all around the world during his Air Force upbringing, and at one point felt certain he was going to be a priest. Must have been our calling to find each other…

13 comments:

Winchester said...

Those are some things I never knew.

SusanB said...

Oh so familiar....

Janie2 said...

I LOVED this story. You write so well, you must be a writer out there on the "Hay Farm"...

Louisiana Belle said...

I grew up Roman Catholic, too! My mother was so strict! Like you, I had girlfriends of other faiths that led me in the opposite direction of the church. I am now a practicing Anglican Catholic. My mother is not impressed. But glad that I'm back in church. :)

Dr. Momi said...

Hi texwisgirl -- I was just reading deeper into your blog -- we are Catholic also. I grew up Lutheran and changed when the kids were young. ......this is where I belong :-)

KAT said...

Hi well sorry it took me so long to get to actually reading more on your blog Im a "Cradle Catholic " ..number 4 of ten and wore that blue and white plaid jumper and skirt to school all 8 yrs. I love your bird drawing How do I try to win one? They are spectacular!
KAT

Butterbean Row said...

I grew up in a large Catholic family...oldest of 10 children. Went to Catholic grade school, part of high school and junior college. But like many people I fell by the wayside. i rarely attended mass for many years.
When my husband and I divorced I came back to God but joined the Baptist church. to make a long story short- After many years I returned to the Catholic Church and am attending mass daily and am an ALTAR SERVER!! I love it. and I love that I read this post.

Candy C. said...

Hmmm...grew up as an Air Force brat in a Southern Baptist family and one through four (minus the polka dancing, Kansas ya' know!) were the norm at our house too! No hand-me-downs though, I had one older brother and one younger brother! :)

MilkMaid09 said...

Another fun thing we have in common! My step-dad was Catholic and his dad was in his 4th year of priest-school (not sure of the proper name?) when he met and ran away with Grandma Helen in a shot-gun wedding. Then they had 6 kids. I could never see Grandpa Hank as a priest, he drank, smoked and cussed more than anyone I know!

Mariette said...

Dearest TexWisGirl,

Wow, that is quite a story you are telling. First of all; hats off to your husband! Both of us are Dutch by birth, yes from the south and thus Catholic, and American by choice. We are forever grateful to the Americans and their allies who liberated our country. My parents are very grateful and so is my husband who lived as a teen during WWII. They lost everything, being in the region of 'A Bridge Too Far' where bombs rained down and destroyed their home and glass houses. For weeks on end they collected glass before they could start using the land again... Started all over but felt like the richest people on earth because they were all there and they were FREE! Wish the younger generation would get of that respect back and also about the meaning of FREEDOM. If we are not careful we might loose it all.
Okay, I'm the 2nd born of 8... My eldest sister was still born so I wear her name 'Mariet' and I've added a 'te' for her since she could not live her life.

Love to you,

Mariette

Margie said...

You are a hoot, period! Want to go out for a brew?

Ginger said...

Just read this portion of your blog.
Interesting, I'm Catholic too...and proud of it!
However, I only have an older brother, something that always baffled my non-Catholic friends. They thought all Catholic families had an abundance of kids. My reply was always, that my uncle and aunt made up for our deficiency...they had 12 children!

Sally said...

It must have been wonderful to have so many siblings! :)

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