1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

Annie’s Chapel and Rollerskating

Joining the ranks of pious nuns reentered my future plans, thanks to a visit with Annie. I could be as pious as the next person.

An unusual aspect of Aunt Ann’s house was the plastic runners leading from her front door to the kitchen and down the hallway toward the bathroom. I wish I’d known the trick of turning the runners over after everyone fell asleep. Of course, I might not get invited back, but there’s always a price to pay.

Under Aunt Ann’s kitchen window, grew a magnificent gladiola bed. I admired their variety of color combinations and considered them the most exotic flowers I’d ever seen. Mom was a master vegetable gardener, but not as proficient with flowers.

An alcove, less than two feet wide, nestled between the top of the stairs and Michelle’s bedroom door. Annie had a beautiful statue of Saint Theresa which gave me an idea.

“Let’s make a shrine for Saint Theresa,” I suggested. “We can build it in the little niche.”

Annie said I was nuts, and left. Michelle, being a couple years younger, was receptive. A television-tray, covered with a colorful scarf, became our altar. We surrounded Saint Theresa with rosary beads and plastic flowers. A cross and palm fronds that moments earlier hung over Michelle’s headboard, added holy touches. I hoped Annie would be appreciate and make good use of her new chapel.

Michelle and I knelt on pillows and prayed, alternating between Our Father and Hail Mary. The fun factor diminished after a few rounds.

“Go get your mom, so she can see what we built,” I said to Michelle.

Aunt Ann came to view the new addition to her house. With an audience, praying became fun again. A month later, on my birthday, Aunt Ann gave me my own statue of Saint Theresa. Not as huge as Michelle’s version, but quite large none-the-less. Next to Saint Mary, Theresa was the prettiest saint. I later selected Theresa as my confirmation name.

In the afternoon, Annie and I played Barbie-dolls in her room. We arranged a single-floor mansion with her genuine Barbie furniture. I showed Annie my technique for creating furniture, using cardboard, Kleenex, bits of material, and lots of scotch tape. We spent the morning as craftsmen.



The next morning, we headed across the street to go roller-skating. The Pikes were the only residents on Hillview Avenue with a smooth cement sidewalk, or any sidewalk at all. We adjusted the length of our skates, tightened the shoe-holders onto our sneakers, and buckled the leather straps. Norris came running out to join us. Five years younger, his company was a small price to pay for excellent roller-skating.

When Mom and Dad drove me home, I suggested, “Why don’t we make a sidewalk in front of our house?”

No answer.

“It’d keep David and me busy and out of trouble.”

“I’ll think about it,” said Dad.

All summer, I continued reminding him to think about it, to no avail.

Lesson learned: I wasn’t as pious as I thought; no nunhood for me. And I missed the mark by not becoming a famous furniture designer.

Related Posts: Innocent Villain/Nun Cake; Boy Crazy/Almost A Knockout

Now it’s your turn: Did you ever consider joining the religious ranks?

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. CJ says:

    Why, yes I did, actually! I wanted to become a nun…specifically a Salesian nun. I was 13 or 14…summer break from school, between Jr. High and H.S. I was going to 7:00 am. Mass each and everyday. I prayed all the time. My mother said she’d wanted to be a nun when she was a teenager. However, she didn’t last 2 weeks before she became terribly homesick..it wasn’t for her, after all. It wasn’t for me, either. I never got as far as actually entering a convent…I discovered ‘boys’ were much more exciting than morning Mass by the end of that summer, and I was never as good a Catholic again after that, lol! By the way, St. Therese, The Little Flower, is also my mother’s favorite saint.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Yes, CJ, I found boys were much more fun, too. I just thought it would be nice to wear a habit and have every one bow their head and address me as sister. I also thought they had to make the sign of the cross whenever they passed a nun, but now think I was the only one doing that.
      My college roommate briefly entered a convent. Big mistake. She became one of the heads of women’s lib on our campus in the early 70s. She was definitely a radical.

  2. Mimmy Jain says:

    I did indeed. My mum wanted me to enter a fancy dress competition, but I was really shy and couldn’t say boo to a goose. So she got me a nun’s habit stitched with the works and I did the competition without speaking a word. No prizes, but the habit and all its folds and gathers entranced me no end and I fancied becoming a nun forever and ever. Needless to say, the fancy stopped abruptly when our Indian summer hit us and I discovered what a pain those same layers and layers of cloth could be in the heat.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Gee, Mimmy, I wonder if most every young girl considers becoming a nun at one point or another. My main deterent was having to be so good for the rest of my life. I could handle it for a brief period of time, measured in hours, not days.

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