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Mom and Dad grew up in New Jersey. Mom was Irish-Germand and raised Catholic. Dad Scot and Pennsylvania Dutch and was raised Presbyterian.
In 1948, the year they married, marrying outside your religion was a big deal. It’s said that Mom’s aunts would not walk on the same side of the street as a Presbyterian.
Dad studied the Catholic faith and read the Book of Catechism. They were counseled by a priest.
But because Mom chose a person outside her faith, she was not allowed to marry in the church. They married in the vestry.
That was November 27, 1948. By June 1949, Mom and Dad headed west and settled in Southern California. I don’t know how they handled church before my brother and I were born. But by the time we moved to Monrovia, Mom decided that she would give up her church.
Mom became a Presbyterian. She didn’t think that raising children in two faiths was prudent. Thus I was raised in the Presbyterian church.
I have vague memories of attending the Catholic church with Grandma Annie, Mom’s mother. I liked all the up and down movement of the service. There were times growing up, I wished I had been Catholic. I loved knowing about the Saints and just thought that having a confirmation name different than your real name was cool.
But before Dad’s sister died, she shared something shocking with me. Grandma Mac always felt that if Dad had attended church more regularly, he would have found someone to marry within his faith. I wondered if Dad knew this? It helped me to understand the uncomfortable relationship between Mom and her two in-laws.
The things we discover…I feel for you mom, who must have felt this all her married life.
As a child, my mom was told she would go to Hell if she played with English-speaking Protestant. She was the third French-speaking Catholic daughter to marry an English-speaking Protestant. By then, my French-Canadian grandma had resigned herself to the reality of they direction things were moving.
Marrying outside your faith was a very big deal. What insight you gained from knowing that story. Thank you for sharing.
Interesting and poignant. Your slice leaves me wanting more. Like you just dusted off a story that has so much more underneath it.