It was the sixties, after the march on Washington and the passage of Civil Rights laws. America started to take a look at itself. In most cities in America, it isn’t uncommon to have a separate Catholic Church for Whites, Blacks and other cultures. In an attempt to integrate some of the churches, the hierarchy at my protestant church, ecouraged the leaders to ask the parishioners if they would visit other churches in the community.
My mother and her girlfirend visited a local white church. They were shocked after the first visit. Even though we lived in Cailfornia, my mothers roots were southern. At black churches, we dressed to the nines. In the sixities, it wasn’t uncommon for my mother to spend hundreds for a sunday look. So imagine her suprise, seeing parishioners dressed as if they were going shopping at the supermarket, no furs, no fancy hats. Many men wore suits, but not the suits, with the matching hats, shirts, cufflinks and shoes she was acustomed to seeing on any given Sunday. The ulimate for my mom, was seeing young boys in blue jeans at church.
She spent nearly the entire afternoon, sharing what she’s seen. For several Sunday’s, she brought witnesses to the white church. She also befriended a lady at the church. The woman, was raised in a Texas town a few miles from where my mother grew up.
It was a Saturday afternoon, when I first saw the white lady in our house. I was with my sister in law who was dropping me off and was going to pick up my brother. From the moment I entered, I could feel something was off. My brother greeted me, instead of pushing me into a wall or popping me in the head ,he said hello.
Being a fat boy, my first stop was the kitchen and there she was, a white lady standing next to our stove. She and my mother was talking, something about a pie. The white lady was the same height as my mother. She knew my name. I said Hi.
My mother, was just odd, from the way she stood, and that smile, who is this woman? and where is my mother! It gets worse, my brother is sitting at the kitchen table just-a-smiling at the lady. It was a weird smile. That was too much for me. I need someone I could recognize and went looking for my sister in law, however ,she was in the bathroom. Returning to the kitchen, there SHE was, someone who could be my mother,speaking in an exaggerated tone, overextending her vowels as if she were learning to speak english for the first time.
I start to laugh, the white lady is now leaving and my brother (also possessed) say’s, have a wonn-derr-full day. This sends me over the top. WTF? wonn-derr-full-day (I can bearly breathe by now) and he and my mother walks to the door and waves goodbye. Trust me when I say this. THEY AIN’T NEVER EVER! DONE THAT BEFORE!! In fact, a typical goodbye at my house was lock the door on your way out, bye.
The white lady leaves, the door closes behind her. They turn around, I’m guessing the possession part of the program is now over and they are both looking at me at the same time. I think I can see satan in their eyes. I feeling that I’m about to meet Jesus. I briefly considered screaming for the white lady, but my mother has fast hands, zero to choke hold in point three seconds. My brother want’s to kill me too but mom has seniority, she gets to kill me first.
It seems, I’ve embarressed them in front of the white lady. Forget, how silly they looked and sounded. Of course these were just thoughts in MY HEAD- even at eleven years old, I knew the dangers of blurting things out. There is rumor that I had other siblings who disappered after casually blurting things out.
My sister in law reappeared* she and my brother had an appointment across town. So he would have to dig my body up, and kill me again after our mom was done. As he and my sister in law were leaving , the phone rang and my mother had fresh white lady stories to share with her friends. I think the phone call saved my life. She had a lot to share . She went on about how nice the white lady was and how they lived within miles of each other and how the white lady spoke and the things they had in common.
*Turns out my sister in law, was hiding in the bathroom, laughing surpressing her laughter with a bath towel. She overheard every thing and said she felt sorry for me.
However unlike me, she blurted and my brother, her husband was not amused.
The attempt to intergrate the churches failed, I don’t know why. My mother and Sarah remained friends for years. They never visited each other, just spoke on the phone. I think they couldn’t handle the peer pressure from people of their generation.