Changing The Past To Change The Present

13 Sep

When the stay home order was issued in Mexico in April, I thought to myself, “cool, my introverted tendencies will make this a walk in the park.” As time has gone on, it’s not been as easy as I thought it would be.

This week I remembered where the desire to hole up, live in a cave, retreat from the world began. It started literally at a Retreat. As I have mentioned before, I was raised Catholic. I loved the ritual, incense, mystery of it all. In the early 60s the mass was still said in Latin. We learned the Lord’s Prayer in Latin at Our Lady of Mount Virgin Catholic School. Something about it spoke to my young spirit.

My first communion.

About a half hour from our house in New Jersey, there was a convent/retreat center run by nuns. My mother pulled some strings so that I could attend a girls weekend. Apparently I was below the age limit. When I arrived I was assigned a cell-like room containing a single bed, side table, bible and cross on the wall. It was heaven! With four brothers at home, three younger than me, I reveled in my own space and solitude.

Two of my three younger brothers.

We attended mass in a beautiful little chapel with stained glass windows and rich, warm, wooden pews. Quiet was everywhere. Meals were silent with a nun reading aloud to the clink of glasses and scraping of plates. During free time I walked the grounds among tall trees, flowers blooming and nature sounds. It felt like another planet compared to my day-to-day life in a small 1950s house with two adults and five children.

There was no front patio when we lived here.

On Saturday afternoon each girl met individually with one of the sisters who asked about our lives. It was perhaps a first that someone asked me about ME, how I felt, how my life was going, what I wanted, and then listened. I poured out my heart thinking, or perhaps not thinking that my words were confidential. I told the sympathetic confidant that I didn’t think my mother loved me. Innocent words from a child lost in the shuffle of her mother’s incredibly busy life.

These pictures are of a younger me than the story. All dates are dubious.

The nun told my mother, who felt ashamed and humiliated by my words. My mother had attended Catholic school as a child and was subject to shame and humiliation by the nuns then as well. I guess it all came back. On the way home in the car she passed on that hurt to me. “How could you say such a thing?” She was very upset and needless to say, I never went back.

My mother at 30 on my christening day.

The conversation was never mentioned again, as happened frequently in our family. But somehow I think it changed her. I used to have to go for weekly allergy shots and we went just the two of us. She would take me out for a banana split after the very painful treatments. It would have been prohibitively expensive with my siblings in tow. Although personal loving words were rarely uttered and the physical caress was lacking, I remember moments of feeling loved by her. Stringing them together, I can sincerely change the past. My mother loved me, and as all mothers, did the best she could.


7 Responses to “Changing The Past To Change The Present”

  1. Darrell Davies September 10, 2020 at 1:02 pm #

    On Thu, Sep 10, 2020 at 9:51 AM the adventures of dos tortas wrote:

    > > Such an insightful reminisce thank you for sharing > > > > > afish25 posted: ” > When the stay home order was issued in Mexico in April, I thought to > myself, “cool, my introverted tendencies will make this a walk in the > park.” As time has gone on, it’s not been as easy as I thought it would be. > > > > This week I remembered where the de” > > > >


  2. Teresa Cordova September 13, 2020 at 10:13 am #

    Ah, memories! I too heard Sunday mass in Latin as a young child, I was constantly trying to find some peace and quiet from my 5 younger brothers and my aunt was Mother Superior of her order who traveled everywhere with her “posse”. I thought all the other nuns were my family too. So, the big Mexican family I belonged to (my mom was 1 of 15) seemed to be constantly trying to recruit me to be the next nun in the family and I happily obliged for a few years as I ran around with a towel on my head as my veil. My mom wasn’t generous with signs of love and affection either, but here I sit 64 years into life and these days I don’t doubt that she loved me. Good times and good memories. Thanks. 😊


  3. Jack Scott September 14, 2020 at 3:31 am #

    Liam was also brought up a Catholic. His parents were Irish who came to England in the 50s. His was choir boy and also loved the bells and smells, ritual and costumes. He asked the priest why they were collecting money for a new stained glass window rather than clean water for kids in the developing world. It all went down hill from there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 September 14, 2020 at 8:59 am #

      I asked the priest why there weren’t alter girls. That didn’t go over well either. I didn’t exactly buy that we weren’t “made in the image and likeness of God.”


  4. Emilie September 19, 2020 at 9:20 am #

    Interesting. Just last week I wrote a piece about my mother. It was not nearly as upbeat as yours. It is something I will never post. I have shared it with a few close friends but that is about all.
    I love your memories. I wasn’t raised Catholic, so there are no similarities there. What’s your memory of your mother taking you out for banana splits reminded me that my mother used to take me into the city on occasion, just the two of us. It felt so very special! We would usually go to one of the large museums in downtown Chicago. Those are the best memories I have of my mother.


Hey hey what have you got to say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


A fine site


A topnotch site

Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

midwife87505's Blog

A great site

A Dead Kennedy

: A journal of a very slooow marathon swimmer

The Soulful Word

Intuitive copywriter + content creator: word whispering magic for personal brands

View From Casita Colibrí

gringa musings from a rooftop terrace in Oaxaca

Your Hand in Mind

Musings of a human factors engineer after her brain was released...

Our House In...

Living where we are

Surviving Yucatan

Smoothing out Mexico's rough spots.

A Boy and Her Dog

Traversing the Border between Butch and Transgender

Surviving Mexico

Adventures and Disasters

Just Another Moment in Paradise

Snippets of an Adventure's Life in Cozumel, Mexico

Perking the Pansies

Jack Scott's random ramblings

Mexico Retold

There's more to Mexico than meets the media News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

The Amazon Express

From the most distant source to the sea.

Biketrash Holiday

Adventures on Two Wheels!

%d bloggers like this: