Thursday, January 30, 2003

Time for more vignettes

When I was in 9th grade at the Catholic high school, the girls, as did most girls at the time, had to take home ec. Our teacher was new that year, fresh out of school, and her first name was Nina and she was Church of Christ.

And, sticking by her principles she absolutely refused to call priests “father.”

So, our principal was “Mr. Henkel” (a pseudonym, in case you’re wondering), a moniker that inspired waves of suppressed hysteria every time it was spoken and did not help her cause – to teach us how to sew and cook.

One day, she greeted us with the news that we would be doing something special in class one day next week because that was the day that “Mr. Niedergeses” would be visiting.

Who? Who’s that? We all wondered.

Of course – it was the bishop. Mr. Niedergeses.

I never really understood that one – sure, if she wants to misinterpret Matthew that’s fine, but it’s not like it says, “Call no man bishop.”

I don’t think she came back the next year. At the time, I saw her attitude as disrespectful of the institution that was employing her. But I have to say, now, my memory, Mrs. Garton stands there, with her black, shoulder-length hair and her narrow glasses and her tight smile as she waits for the girls to stop giggling, as a witness to living your faith in hostile circumstances.

Which is pretty much the definition of a room full of 14-year old girls.

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