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A Mixed Marriage

My mother grew up in Minnesota. My father grew up in North Dakota. He grew up on a farm. She grew up in a city. He was Catholic. She was Protestant. Taking the long view from where we sit today, this doens't seem like such a big deal, but when I became engaged to a Catholic, my mother asked, "How do you feel about entering a mixed marriage?" I had no idea what she was talking about. Brian is Irish. I'm sort of German. Our skins are white, our Bible has a New Testament. So I asked her, and she explained that in the 50s where she lived mixing Protestant and Catholic was somewhat unthinkable, unless the Protestant in question was willing to "convert." She went on to tell me about a friend of hers in high school whose Lutheran parents completely disowned her when she marriend a Catholic. They didn't go to the wedding, they never saw their grandchildren. Slipping this into my imagination, I was able to put together and pull apart relationships for the novel. You'll have to read it to find out what happens when Emmy Nelson falls in love with the wrong boy.

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