Dear Internet Diary,
I talked to my mother on the phone for an hour the other day. She's a really intelligent woman, and we always have a good time talking. For some reason, we seem to end up talking about Christianity a lot. Lately, thoguh, I have taken these opportunities to find out some things about my childhood, to put the pieces back together, as I think sometimes I can't trust my own memories. Sometimes I hesitate to ask, because I'm not sure I'm ready to process information like she gave me the other day.
"I stopped going to the Mother's Day sermons," she told me, when I was asking about some incidents in the seventies. "He would say that women shouldn't be allowed to go to college, because then they would think, and we can't have women who think."
This is strange to me, because they left that church a few years later because the minister who replaced him was "too conservative." How much more conservative can you get than this man, a friend of my family. We used to go to their house a lot and have dinner. My brother was friends with his son, I'll call "Greg." I remember my brother, greg, and his other friend Joey playing vibration football on the floor. You know, the seventies equivalent of an electronic game.
"He got his later, though," my mom said.
"What do you mean?" I said.
"His son committed suicide. He was gay, and they never accepted it. Then his wife went out and got a job."
"Which was worse?" I heard myself saying. I thought about the afternoons in their house, with the aqua blue shag carpeting, and the pastor's wife, her elegant 60's clothes and hair. I tried to remember Greg. I don't remember what he looked like. I can only hear my brother saying his name, the way he always said his first and last name together. There were a lot of Gregs back then.
"Why did you stay there, in that church, for all those years?" I asked.
"Because we had friends, and because you dad was directing the choir" she said. I think there's more to it than that. I want there to be more to it than that. To make my brother and me stay there in that church and that school. I wanted to say something about how that church affected me and my brother, but I remembered we already had that conversation. About how it affected our friends, who were children of the friends she was referring to. About how they were so bitter, she said, that they would never darken the door of a church again. I had tried to explain that there was more to it than that, but I couldn't bring myself to go into it. We had talked for an hour already. Besides, I thought, my mom was reading a Humanist magazine. She's smart enough to figure those things out herself.
Thanks for listening, diary.