My mother recently moved out of the house I grew up in – a process that naturally requires sifting through a lot of “stuff”. I know we’re all supposed to be minimalists and sparking joy to the point that we’re starting small fires, but I think that gene might be recessive in our family. I certainly don’t have it, judging by the sheer amount of cat toys underneath my dining room table alone.
But I digress. (As usual.)
Anyhow, a few months ago, Mom brought up a few shoeboxes full of pictures for us to sift through. I have this Big Idea™ that involves scanning all these photographs, making them digitally available to anyone in the family who wants them (anyone who has any ideas on how to best do this – please let me know!), and capturing the stories behind them. Hear me out!
Rather than just having a photo and a sentence that reads “Aunt Helga and Uncle Floyd, 1946”, I think it would be so much more compelling to put my mom’s anecdotes along with the photos. They might be only a few sentences here and there (“This was taken in front of Nana’s house on Morrison Avenue – we always sat on that stoop!” / “Good Lord, he NEVER took that coat off!” / etc.) but they honor the memories of people who are no longer with us.
Look at me, still digressing.
Anyhow, tucked in among all the photos were some old greeting cards that my mother and her brother had given to their parents over the years – birthdays, Christmas, etc. Some were handmade, but many were religious in nature – not surprising, seeing as how my mother attended parochial school her entire life.
One Mother’s Day card in particular caught my eye – it was remarkably well-preserved. I opened it up, read the inside, and smiled at the childlike cursive (still WAY better than mine!).
I then turned to the spiritual bouquet on the left side of the card. If you’re not Catholic, a spiritual bouquet is a series of prayers or acts that someone does in honor or on behalf of someone else. I scanned it quickly, and then… well…
Me: “Mom, what the @$%& is an ejaculation?”
It was like the sex talk all over again, only this time both of us were laughing hysterically. (I was cackling, to be honest.)
My mother, educated by nuns her entire life, could not remember what an ejaculation was, or why on Earth she had promised 500 of them to her mother. Talk about a naughty Catholic schoolgirl! Sister Mary Agnes would be so disappointed.
(Thanks to Google, we learned that they are very short prayers, and are now more commonly called aspirations. Probably a good move on the Vatican’s part!)
I think the best part of this whole story is when my husband came walking into the room to see what all the racket was about. We showed him the card and looked at him expectantly, tears of laughter rolling down our faces.
Mr. Seeking Ambition: “Guys, it’s really not that funny.”
Naughty Catholic schoolgirls, indeed!