Ink Blog: My mom is … well you decide for yourself | Subscriber



My three brothers, sister and I were fortunate enough to grow up with a mother and father who taught us not only to do what was right, but to always keep an open mind, to expand our frame of reference through traveling, always giving our best efforts and this family was the most important. My father passed away at 85 almost seven years ago and my mother recently celebrated her 89th birthday. My mother gave birth to her first three children 15 months apart (twin boys and then a baby girl). Some say she never fully recovered and has been mad (in a good way) ever since.

Mom’s maiden name was Mary Felice Leary. We took a family trip to Milwaukee on a summer day to visit the County Zoo when my twin brother and I were in eighth or ninth grade. We both had longer hair, as was the norm back then. My hair was maybe a little more curly than my brothers, but that was questionable. We took a detour and stopped to visit my mother’s namesake, an elderly nun, named Sister Mary Felice. She was a wonderful woman, very kind and caring, but when we visited her she was past her prime and was certainly considered very old in our young eyes. The good nun mistakenly thought I was a girl. A blow to my self-esteem. I guess it was the longer hairstyle and the fact that the older sisters, most likely, didn’t come out of the convent much into the real world that contributed to the error in her thinking. Looking back, maybe Sister Felice was trying to recruit me to become a nun and join her convent. My mother patiently tried to convince her that I was in fact a boy and that I was not made for the life of a nun in a convent. I was more than willing to offer my twin brother as a consolation prize to the nuns, but that was out of the question as they were confident enough that he had ticked the male box. (Possibly facial hair and side burns.)

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