11.01.2004

Noooooo, not a Catholic church, and on our wedding anniversary. Or, installment #2 on catholicism, politics, and poetry.

PLUS, Sherri (Berry) Peach back from China! My 20th high school reuinion -- thank heavens Val published a little "where are they now" update brochure -- since who would go?

Jill Turner, who married a guy I went on two dates with in college, actually lives across Manhattan from where I lived (I lived on West 96th at between Columbus and Amsterdam in a brownstone floor-thru with Ron; she lives on East 96th with two children! and her husband).

How to not live next to a Catholic Church and totally screw up Halloween and your first wedding anniversary: yes, that's right, it is (was for us, but is -- still onthe market) a conservatorship sale of a house which I have always liked (when I thought it was cheap, for example) next to a church in LA called St. Brendan's. St. Brendan's is on the busy Koreatown corner of Third and Wilton, Hancock Park or Larchmont "adjacent."

The home has been renovated by the conservator's team of Mexican-American workmen, who has wisely gotten it in clean and in working order but left the kitchen and bathrooms a blank slate. Because the realtors / conservator needs court approval to gather and accept bids, bids aren't due for a few weeks. Then the court date is set, 30 days after that. And then -- depending on who you talk to -- the house closes either that day of the winning bid or ten days later. Buying probate or conservatorship is all cash upfront, no contingencies -- i.e., the inspection comes out of your pocket before you know if you've got an accepted bid.

Thus, this house must be occupied during the holidays, and you get to occupy it cooking your holiday meals in the microwave. Or, you can spend the holidays painting and getting the floors refinished, but how are you going to pay double rent for a month while the kitchen, laundry hook up, and bathrooms are dropped in? You're not. You're going to wear your flip flops in the tub, where you use one of those rubber flexible shower head things. But that's ok, because the home's only 800K (subject to overbid) and it only needs 100K more to have a kitchen and bathrooms and the floors refinished. Why? Because it is a few feet away from a two story rectory for a Catholic Church, next to the church, across the street and "catty corner" from apartment buildings, and a street from the apartment zone of Koreatown. Which is not all that bad, and, as my husband pointed out, it is $250 sq ft if you count the windowless spaces in the attic like the assessor does and don't mind the church. It is only a mile from Larchmont Village, which is nice. Never mind being .2 of a mile from where, in "Jane Says," Perry sings Jane "woke up on St. Andrews." There was a 20% more expensive house (all in cost) in Larchmont Village...

Now, as you may know, I may not really enjoy living next to a Catholic Church, but I am certainly not anti-Catholic in a typical way. I am raised Catholic. Oh, and I wrote a book called "Heresy" which is based on women's writings from the Inquisition and my own thoughts and experiences. Did I mention too how much of it, like my forthcoming book, is love poetry?

Ron's grandparents lived two doors from St. James the Less Holy Roman Catholic Church in Columbus. So maybe it is the unfamiliarity of it all. I didn't get expelled in second grade, I skipped second grade, so I hung around long enough to feel guilty every time the church bells rang, and long enough to know when to stand, sit, and kneel (note -- you don't kneel very much anymore) and what to mumble at funeral Masses. So I would have to cope with my rabid anti-religiousness every weekend until I didn't feel that it was a loss not to have people over or have sex. When do we do that? We're married now. Precisely a year. A holy day of obligation, today. Day of All Saints. While All Souls is tomorrow, the Mexican Day of the Dead actually has a flexible celebration that combines both days.

I don't even remember if the bells -- or rather the tape recording of bells -- "rang" on Saturday night or all Sunday morning. I know the rectory windows weren't lined up with their bedroom windows and the whole backyard, but why would a bunch of priests and deacons be more of a presence than a wanna be guitar player called "nut boy" that caused my husband not to use a whole room of our tiny townhouse, or an affectionate old French guy who sings when watering his back lawn and argues with his wife over their Prilosec in the a.m. which necessitated totally blocking off windows on one side of the house we rent and never opening them? IT WOULD BE A POWERFUL PRESENCE. And I would NOT BE HAPPY. Because these things are very important to me, and I take them very seriously, which is why the gross misogyny of most religions and their institutional prejudice is only one of the many reasons that I don't feel they are a positive influence in the world -- .

My dad called to remind me that my grandfather died on November 8. Since our wedding reception was the 8th, perhaps we will get back together in time to celebrate our anniversary then.

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