I bullied my parents into sending me to an all-girls' convent school because that's where my two best friends were going. It was a mistake, the school was inadequate. The nuns had us shelling corn during classroom hours. I graduated fifth in a class of 126 but that was easy, the curriculum far from challenging. I played first violin in the orchestra and volunteered for the yearbook. We were the last class at this old outdated place, the time had passed for convent schools and the state had lots of problems with our physical education program. I was glad to leave high school. There wasn't much about it I liked.
And then all of a sudden there was college. I needed to go to college. But I wasn't interested, I didn't feel like going. I think I was tired and just wanted to coast for awhile, sit by a stream or something. It was the 70's and I wanted to retire from my overly achieved but short life. The culture was changing quickly and my younger sister by four years was wearing halter tops and smoking joints and I was still my mother's daughter. A large part of me was true blue to her values but the new society looked beautiful and seductive. My father watched the news every night that summer and would announce that there was no way I would be attending the university with all those war protests going on. But in the end I got in the car and he drove me a hundred miles to the campus and within six months I got drunk for the first time, smoked my first joint and lost that overrated virtue, virginity.
My art major roommate and I hitchhiked to her home town many times that winter and once I had undetected mononucleosis, falling asleep in a snow drift. My roommate's mother sterilized the towels after I left. Moria was my roommate's name and she hid joints in her paint box and she never could get high. I didn't seem to have that problem. Did I say I lost my virginity? I did, to a 6'4" gymnast with orange hair from Little Turkey, Iowa. I first learned about sex from a seventh grade teacher, Sister Mary Paschal, a permanently unhappy woman with the proverbial corn cob up her ass. I always scored very high in the archdiocesan music tests having studied piano from age five. I was learning the letters of the scale at the same time I was learning the alphabet at school. But that year I pulled a lowly 86 and Sister Paschal berated me in front of the whole class. She was also in charge of the altar boys so a friend and I snuck into the altar boy locker room and dressed in their vestments. Sex? I can still see the nuns ranting, shaking their fingers at us, don't do it, girls, don't do it - keep those zippers zipped. With this kind of limited information and my natural sense of curiosity there seemed to be only one solution.
Fast forward, I went home that summer and hooked up with the man who would become my husband. I was sitting at a friend's house and two guys knocked at the door. Kathy had a "rep"so I figured they were here to score and I drifted off, not interested in their conversation. The short moustached fellow asked me what grade school I attended because he remembered me from said school. I looked at him closely and ran his name over in my mind and then I saw him, a kid in plaid flannel shirts and corduroy pants that went swish-swish-swish when he walked past my desk. He had blue-black hair, white skin and very pink cheeks, blue eyes and freckles. Yeah, Irish. He told me he had a crush on me back in the day and I was the kid with the pixie haircut, black pointy glasses, socks and grey hush puppies. Who would find that worth a second look? I was the only girl, except for Laurie Farlan, at the eighth grade Christmas party who did not get to wear nylons. My mother said I had to wait until I was 16. Laurie came out after college but I remember once she and some friends and I started a club in the walk-in closet at my house and she put a red plastic bowl on her head and did an impersonation of the bishop and God, she was so funny.
Anyway, long story short, I got pregnant in my sophomore year in college - I had talked that same boy into joining me at my school - his father had wanted him to study engineering but this is not what the man was about. My school had an experimental music department that drew his interest, he was a jazz guitarist. When I realized I was pregnant my first impulse was to run. I thought about joining Moria who was moving to Seattle, but in the end I would need to let the boy know and it was the right decision. It was 3 o'clock in the morning and Joe became very quiet. "I know I should be scared, but I feel really happy." Corny, but my 20-year-old self felt good with it.
Jason had very naive and simplistic parents. We were thrust into a serious situation with very little forethought. We did all right. We loved our baby and those years were peaceful and comfortable. We came back to our hometown and lived in my father-in-law's apartment house. I would leave signs on every body's door knob when Jason was sleeping. He had the best of us. This may account for the calmness in his center.