Relentless Pursuit… Part III

The flight was a long one…

Over the Atlantic, in the longest flight we had ever taken, our family left our ‘homeland’ America.

I was excited.  Frankly, I was sick and tired of America.  Clinton was the president at the time, and I had lost hope for our country.  I thought of America as a worn-out joke, still pretending to cling to its Constitution, and embarrassing itself around the world.  I was ready for a New World… or actually, the Old World…

The British accent was both a shocking and a delightful welcome when we touched down in England.    And although at first much of our family’s life was spent on the American Air Force Base and in an American neighborhood, we soon became acquainted with the local town of Bicester (pronouced ‘Bister’), located in the heart of the country in England and less than an hour away from Oxford.

There were hedgerows everywhere (bushes used like fencing), rolling green hills, and the little town soon became a frequent place where we would spend our time shopping and eating fish and chips (REAL fish and chips, mind you)… oh, and REAL tea, the likes of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world, I’m sure.  It’s not just the tea bag.  It’s something they do.  You have to be British to swirl the cream just right and take the tea bag out at the right time… they do it in a blur and we Americans simply can’t imitate it, I think mainly because we have the wrong accent…

But tea addiction aside, we also became acquainted with a lovely little Catholic parish named Immaculate Conception in Bicester.  I would have listened to anything the pastor said, just because of his incredibly beautiful accent and gift for playing the pipe organ and chanting.  He spared no expense in the Mass, using incense and candles wherever he could without starting a fire.  I wasn’t familiar with such a traditional approach to the Mass, and such a passion coming from the priest about the liturgy, and this intrigued me.  Gradually, we got to know this priest, and he became my confessor and spiritual director.

At home, I was enjoying this new phase of my life, being out of school and out of work, lounging around in my room and doing any art or craft I pleased, and getting to know the little town of Bicester.  But soon, I knew I needed to ask that dreaded question: “What do I want to do with my life?”  I had never been able to properly answer that question, except to say that I wanted to be a wife and mother, but they weren’t hiring those at the time, and there wasn’t any eligible man in sight.  So I had to do something while I waited around for Prince Charming.  And by the looks of things in the little town of Bicester, I might be waiting a long time.  Most people in our parish were either over 65, or the single ‘bloaks’ were, well, very British-looking (and acting)… I don’t know how else to describe them, but they weren’t my type.

A family acquaintance informed us that there were job openings for nurse assistants at a nursing home close to our neighborhood.  I was instantly interested in this type of work, as I had always thought that a close second to being a mother would be working as some type of missionary or someone who ‘helped people that were less fortunate’…

And so I applied, and because those were hard jobs to fill with high turnover rates, they hired me on the spot.

So I began ‘doing something with my life’…

But in less than a day, my new job started to become a nightmare…

…to be continued…

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5 thoughts on “Relentless Pursuit… Part III

  1. Oh, how I don’t miss Bicester.

    Was the Church in town by the Courthouse?

    Chris taught 7th grade CCD at the Base Chapel when we were there. I was pregnant w/ Geoffrey and sat in the car doing cross-stitch. I think what I was working on is still unfinished in the basement. It’s funny the way a mind will wander back. Glad I don’t do it too often. Too much to still get done with the boys and not enough time before they, like Geoffrey, are off on their own.

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  2. Coming tomorrow, Kitty… thanks for reading! 🙂

    Becki, I definitely don’t miss the American base, Croughton! But Bicester… it’s bittersweet. It is a quaint town, and where I had my true conversion, and the priest at IC was the one who ended up marrying Corey and me… a lot of history for me and my family! 🙂

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  3. Cool, Laura! Corey and I actually got married at “Immaculate Conception” in Jacksonville, FL as well! Churches named Immaculate Conception have quite a significant role in my life 🙂

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