magpie 31

Author: angiem, 09 12th, 2010

Sundays. I tend to feel sad on Sunday nights. I blame my parents, of course. Since I can remember, Sundays were church days. Waking up early, getting dressed in uncomfortable dresses, itchy hose, and tight shoes was only made better by the fact that we were going to see friends and perhaps go over to their house until the evening service.

I used to get lectured quite a bit on Sundays. How to sit, how to stand, how to talk, how to laugh. Who to look at, who not to. How to wear my hair, even. My mother would have me practice my posture with the handle of a broom behind my back, held secure in the crook of my elbows, and two, three books stacked atop my head every day after school. It was common for girls in the church to be married by seventeen. It was not common for them to go to college.

Sometimes I think about all the things I missed out on while in church, or getting ready for it. Maybe I would have learned to roller skate or swim. Maybe I would have become more courageous, more adventurous, more articulate. Maybe I would have openly read books that were censored by the church, and not hid them from my parents. Maybe I would have learned to express my opinion, stand behind it.

I wonder about the me I could have been. The one not so obsessed with pleasing. The one that is hiding in there somewhere, looking at the world, anticipating the moment the cloak would come off.

This is a Magpie Tale.


36 Responses to “magpie 31”

  1. Susan Deborah Says:

    I did read a few others’ Magpies as well, and it is lovely to see different tales being seamlessly spun.

    Your tales always remind me of the Victorian era, Angie. You craft the scenes and emotions quite well. And each time, I wait for your posts like little treats that are handed out to children.

    Joy always,

  2. Mary Moon Says:

    Sundays are sad days for some reason, no matter what church you had to attend, whether it was a real one or a church of fear.
    Okay. Speaking for myself.
    Another beautiful word picture from you, Angie.

  3. willow Says:

    I also wonder of the me I could have been. Beautiful piece, Angie. I could have written this about myself.

  4. brigid Says:

    Great Magpie, Angie, full of sadness and the restraint of rules, loved the last line, really well done.

  5. French Fancy Says:

    The best thing my mum taught me about Sundays is to curl up, read the Observer newspaper and just revel in the fact there is nothing to do but relax.

    We are what our parents made us - for better for worse and you are lovely. Your mum did well.

  6. Ava Says:

    For me Sundays were the last day of freedom before the start of the new week of school or work. I hate Sunday nights for that reason.

  7. Jena Says:

    My grandma would take me to church with her. We used to sit in the back pews and she would let me look through her purse. Whenever I see churches I think of my grandma’s purse.

  8. Susan Tiner Says:

    I remember the itchy hose and tight shoes. In my case, church was a kind of respite from life at home, so I didn’t mind being there.

  9. Stephanie Says:

    You always immerse us in the tale. I love your stories and how they draw us in, and invite introspection to our own lives and upbringing. Hope all is well with you…

  10. Susan R. Mills Says:

    I have similar memories. Beautifully written!

  11. Berowne Says:

    The boys experienced the same emotions. Until the day when I got up and left and never returned.

  12. krista Says:

    i used to have to go to catholic church when staying at my dad’s house on the weekends. the formal outfits, the uncomfortable pews and the not being allowed to move/make noise/sleep all felt heavy. i felt kind of trapped. i always wanted to be barefoot. and i never wanted my hair combed. i wish we didn’t have to sit so close to the front and that we stood up and sat down more often. it gave me something to do.

  13. deb @ talk at the table Says:

    it’s interesting that you had such a rich background of food and family and tradition, and yet there are some things that you certainly wouldn’t want to carry forward, no?

  14. Diane Says:

    What I know of you is wondrous and lovely! I am happy to know the you of yesterday’s makings….. :O)

  15. Tumblewords Says:


  16. Kari Says:

    I can relate to your Sundays. But i hold onto the good things and reflect on the bad so I don’t repeat them on my own children.

    lovely expression.

  17. The Hausfrau Says:

    Thoughtful piece, nicely done!

  18. Julie Says:

    How sad Angie.. I wonder if we all wonder who we could have been if fear had not factored into our young lives..

    Once again I don’t know if this is fiction or truth but again you have spun a wonderful tale that leaves us pondering life and it’s ups and downs.. xxx Julie

  19. ninotaziz Says:

    This is tightly woven - with a sad conclusion.

    I loved it.

  20. Cosmos Cami Says:

    May you rise above it all and become what you desire.
    I thought this was well written. Thanks.

  21. cathi Says:

    Beautiful story, Angie! xxoo :)

  22. angiem Says:

    Thank you for your comments and for all the wonderful wishes. And, of course, for reading my words every week.

  23. Susan Says:

    Evocative, Angie. I know what you mean about the blue Sunday. As with a commenter above: church was a respite from crazy home, so I looked forward to it & esp. a Sunday evening program for teens.

    It helped that it was a very open & welcoming place; respectful of traditions, but not the kind that involved itchy tights & girls keeping the lip zipped. (Or I would’ve left.) I guess I was rather cheeky for such a “nice girl.” I got on a plane at 17 to go to France with a little bit of money & not much else. But I’ll tell you–as the plane took off from JFK, all I thought was “what what what what was I thinking? what am I doing?”

    Two days later, strolling through early autumn eastern France, I realized I could pretty much do anything (within reason:) I imagine you are raising your children with something approaching that idea. I see a lot of fearful kids nowadays–they ask - “how did you do that? Weren’t you afraid? I’m waiting for junior year & only doing half-year, I’m going to London because I’m afraid of languages”, etc. (I love London, I’m just saying…)

    Yes, I tell them. Are you kidding? I was terrified. But as always with anywhere I’ve gone, jobs I’ve taken on, etc.: the desire outweighed (even if only slightly) the fear. And I usually said to self, silently over & again on a plane: what the hell was I thinking?! Why am I doing this?!


  24. Christie Says:

    You have such an amazing talent - I feel so sad for this poor girl.

  25. Kathe W. Says:

    ah so sad to be sad on Sunday…I was lucky I guess as because by the time I had 1 sister and 3 brothers my parents had their hands full and inevitably the youngest brother would wander off and play in the mud or some such perfect thing to do on a sunny day. So we ended up staying at home and playing- Thanks be to God! He works in wonderous ways. We learned to appreciate family time and outdoor time. Thanks Mom and Dad

  26. Francesca Says:

    I’m feeling older these days, the age I am really, and I’m wondering more about the present and the future I had hopes for in the past: the me I could be, and the things that could have become.

  27. laura Says:

    I love stories about this question. What might have been? It really resonates with me–probably with everyone. I think there is a blue sunday in everyone’s past.

    I’ve missed you, Angie. Having a bit of a blue time too, but counting my blessings tonight.

  28. Janna Qualman Says:

    “What if” resides everywhere, doesn’t? Not only behind the writing (and life), but in the writing (and life).

    Happy Birthday, Angie!

  29. Englishvers Says:

    Sundays - my sister, mama, brother and I always had to visit church on Sundays. We did not have the luxury of curling up in bed.
    I now treat myself to Sundays in bed;-)

  30. cate Says:

    oh my. that sounds just awful. i have never liked sundays either because of sunday school, church, and generally not being in control of my day as a child. thank goodness i didn’t have to practice my posture as well!
    when i was older, i hated that i would have to go back to school the next day. the sunday night blues i called it.

  31. Dawn Says:

    Haven’t been by in awhile…I forgot how beautifully you wrote. I love this one.

    Hope all is well with you!

  32. Gigi Says:

    I love the longing and sadness of this piece, Angie. Your details–especially the one about posture–are telling and rich.

  33. Kristin Says:

    Lovely writing as always!

  34. Ange Says:

    ‘No pain, no gain’ - even on a Sunday? Oh dear… My early Sunday memories are of Sunday school songs and chocolate mallow fish from the friends who dropped over afterwards… I think I asked for the patent red leather (read painful on feet) shoes though. There must be a Dorothy in there underneath

  35. Ange Says:

    Your writing is so intensely moving Angie

  36. Holly L Says:

    Hello my friend!

    I do not like Sundays…they are always melancholy for me…not sure why. It has nothing to do with church…maybe regret over a lost weekend?

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