Saturday, April 19, 2008

What is a Catholic Yankee?

Howdy, Hi Y'all, & How Yous Doin?!

Welcome to my site. I finally decided the best way to share my life and all the random thoughts that pass thru my brain was to set up a blog. It has been two full years (Yikes!) since our family made the transition from life-long Philadelphia 'burb Yankees to Southwestern Texans! We've had many adventures that I wish I'd shared along the way--but better late than never! I'm sure I'll be remembering some of our more unusual experiences to tell ya about and there'll be new inspirations as our family continues to adjust and learn about the culture of TX.

Thought I'd give a little background on the title of the blog. Never, ever when I lived in the northeast did I consider calling myself a "Yankee". That to me meant you were a fan of the NY baseball team and being from Philadelphia (Go Phillies), I was not! My first experience with meeting neighbors here in our Houston suburb was a little different. Here we were, four moms standing on the corner on a chilly March morning, waiting to send our kids off on the local school bus. One mom (me) anxious, excited, nervous to finally meet my new neighbors. "Where ya from?" I was asked. "New Jersey," I repliled eagerly. Surely these people would want to know all the interesting facts about the only state that I had ever claimed as my home. "Yankess!!! We got YANKEES movin' in!" the battle-cry went out. (What???? This was not what I expected) I smiled warily, but inside something in my gut sank. "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," was the thought that entered my mind. It was then that I realized life was about to change.......drastically! Strike One--I appeared to be seen not as an interesting curiousity that my fellow neighborhood moms would want to know inside-out, but as a member of a former enemy group trying to squeeze into their private lines. I felt like a lost puppy "hi ,will you accept me into your home, I'll be good, I won't chew your furniture, I promise to be happy all the time, pleeeeeease like me!" Update: Two years later, if I were out shopping and bumped into my immediate neighbors in the store, there are a few (3-4?) that I'd actually recognize and say hello to.

Onward.......in NJ you were pretty much assumed to be of the Catholic religion unless proven otherwise. Whether you were actively practicing your faith to the fullest was more of the issue than whether or not your parents had you Baptized in. Celebrating sacraments, especially First Holy Communions, often meant taking out a second mortgage on your home! And if you happen to be of a protestant faith in NJ, that's fine too, although there may be times when your kids feel like they're missing out on some huge opportunities to fatten their bank accounts. Okay, here I am in the Bible Belt. There are some nice aspects. People DO talk about being Christian alot..... all the time! It is perfectly acceptable to have Easter egg hunts in the public school and to have the school office adorned with wrought iron crosses hung on the wall. I've never in my life been invited to more bible studies or asked "have you found a church yet?" as in the first 8 weeks of moving here. Strike Two: Catholics are not the religion of choice! Downside: In some circles, we are actually viewed as negatively as the whole Yankee thing! Upside: plenty of opportunities to defend our faith, beliefs, origin of our religion (ever heard of the apostle, Peter, y'know, the FIRST POPE?). So.... myself, my husband, and all my older kids have been challenged to explain our faith and in some cases justify it! So far, we've done a pretty good job! Update: Two years later, I have sought out and found many wonderful families from our two, local Catholic churches who share my fire to live the Catholic faith to the fullest! I am so enriched by their friendship. Unfortunately, I have to get on a highway to visit any of them! (and I do, often!)

Are you still with me? Thanks! Now you know the origin of the title for this blog. Signing off now....... I am the Catholic Yankee in Texas! Suzi

4 comments:

the Mom said...

I am the Catholic Texan in Oklahoma. I am so jealous that you get live there while I have to live here.

sigh.


I hope you have found the natives to be friendly, if a little wary of you yankee-ness. It's not that you are a former enemy, it is the way Texans get treated by people from up north...as if we're a little slow because we don't move as quickly, or talk as fast. I'm glad you've found friends. Welcome to the blogosphere!

Love,
the Mom

the Mom said...

oh, and I added you to my blogroll.

maria~alex said...

Sue - your blog is so great! You are a terrific writer too btw!!

You have inspired me to create a blog of our own. You are the quintessential mom!

Your buddy Maria

Pam H. said...

I'm a 3rd-generation native Houstonian, and I still can't get to know my neighbors! We live in a liberal neighborhood and no one but us even goes to church. The neighborhood is booming, but the new, wealthier folks seem to be afraid of us who have smaller, less fixed-up houses, even if we were here first. Go figure. Downtown Catholic churches seem to be friendlier than the more suburban ones I've been to, though - wonder if it's just the churches I've seen....