Last Monday I received a telephone call from a retired nun who reads my articles every week. I’ve known this particular nun for over 20 years. Even though she’s “retired,” she works harder than most people who are half her age. She’s a very holy and humble woman who cares greatly about the Catholic Church and the current state of humanity.
When I graduated from a Catholic grade school in 1971, I was determined to never look back. I got off to a bad start in first grade and every year after that got worse. I was more than ready to move on. I looked forward to starting high school with a blank slate and an entire new group of teachers who had never heard of me.
It all started when my wife got pregnant within a month after we were married. What I mean by “it all started” were the questions we got from friends, relatives, and even strangers. Questions like: “Was it an accident?” or “Why didn’t you wait a few years before having your first child?” or “How long have you been married?” Then of course there was the 2-part question. First part: “When’s your due date?” Second part: “Oh, so when did you get married?” Then a pause to do the math to figure out when the pregnancy occurred – before or after the wedding.
I graduated from high school in 1975 (36 years ago). The school I attended was located in a rural area of Peoria County. Most of the students in the school were from families in which at least one of the parents worked in a blue collar job, such as manufacturing or the building trades. I came from one of those families. While I was growing up, my dad was a carpenter. Although he eventually ended up owning his own construction company, he always remained a member of the Carpenters’ Union.
In 1985, I interviewed my grandmother, Cecilia LaHood, for an article I wanted to write about her life. Her children were planning a big 75th birthday party for her (she was born in 1910), and I wanted to share her life story with everyone who attended the party.