6-Rory and Me

6-Rory and Me


Rory and I began seriously dating and I took that Vespa ride to his house often. It wasn’t long before my old traditional morals which were stuffed down and embedded deeply, were conflicting with my progressive under-the-influence-of-marijuana-and-beer/make-love-not-war morals.

My life took a drastic shift. I was trying to juggle too much of the new me with the old me. I made an appointment at the campus infirmary where birth control pills were distributed freely. But I also asked for a prescription for tranquilizers for the high anxiety that was my constant companion.

My college transcript was marred by a D in Linguistics and a D in Physical Science. For these two subjects I showed little aptitude.  I got lots of A’s and B’s in my sociology, political science, and education classes. Two semesters of student teaching were required and I loved being in the classrooms. My first experience was in a fifth grade with a man who was not always prepared and exerted strict authoritarian control. It was at times very uncomfortable. My second semester was in a second grade classroom with a seasoned teacher who was a very pleasant woman.

I learned a lot about what I did not want to be like and witnessed how hard it was to handle a class when the teacher was not fully prepared. I picked up many pointers about classroom management coupled with organization and preparedness which served me well for the 8½ years I would subsequently spend in the classroom.

I graduated from Fresno State with a B- average. My parents and sisters came for graduation and met Rory. I recently noticed in my mom’s family history that he graduated magna cum laude, which made me think he did not really need my assistance in that sociology class. He may have used the excuse that he needed my help as a way to meet me.

There was a shortage of teachers in California and those of us who had earned teaching credentials were in high demand. At that time California was issuing lifetime teaching credentials, which I received. Representatives from all over the state and from other states came to the college to meet us and conduct interviews.

I chose to interview with three school districts in the Bay Area, was offered a teaching contract by all three, and was able to choose where I wanted to work. I chose Concord in the East Bay, moved that summer, and shared an apartment with my high school friend Nancy.

I had been a late bloomer, but I had acquired my own set of goals and plans and had achieved them!

Rory moved to Berkeley and was able to get his previous year’s job as a life guard. In the fall he worked in a pharmacy.

Midyear Rory and I were married.

Dressed in gray
Dressed in gray

I bought a gray suit, feeling like damaged goods, knowing I could not stand before God and my family in the purity that a white dress announced.

If you are not married, hold out for white wedding clothes so your sons and daughters understand the beauty of purity and you can look them in the eyes and tell them that you waited to have sex until your wedding day. 

We moved into a very small but very cute over-the-garage studio apartment in Berkeley. The small bathroom sink was our only sink and we cooked on a hot plate. Rory got a job as a mechanic and we got a good deal on a ’55 silver Porsche. We zipped around the lovely Oakland hills and the curvy roads up to Mt. Tamalpias, and took scenic drives along the coast on Highway 1. We believed we were living the good life. But we were just becoming more in love with the world and its glitz.

We were also living in the anti-war mindset.

One Saturday we joined a large group of war protesters and marched right into some lingering eye-stinging teargas in downtown Berkeley. Years later, as I met Vietnam Vets who had given so much, I deeply regretted that in college I had turned against the patriotism I had embraced all my life.

I took three classes at Cal Berkeley. One was an encounter group which was the rage at that time. Eight of us, all strangers to each other, shared our secrets and indiscretions, and gave feedback to each other, sometimes quite harsh. We tried to help each other solve our personal problems with no facilitator to guide us  or to intervene and soften the blows.  I earned three credits, but had some lasting emotional scars.

Rory and I had good friends who had a jewelry store. When I thought I was pregnant, Carrie empathized with me and said she knew of a place in Mexico where I could get an abortion. Abortions were not legal in the United States. I knew that was what I wanted to do. I was all for it because we were young and living free, with few rules to hold us in check, and a baby would have impinged on our independence.

What happened to the nice Catholic small town daddy’s girl?

I had left God. I had broken my relationship with Him. I had left my church, my faith, and my parent’s teachings. I had broken out of my good healthy traditional boundaries.

I chose the world over Him. I chose the temporary lusts of drinking and smoking and partying, and sex outside of marriage. Because it felt good and because I was uninhibited, unrestricted, and on my own.

God never left me, but He let me follow my free will where I wanted to go.