My father practiced no religion, but my mother brought me up rigidly Catholic. During my teen years she lost her faith and we stopped going to Mass. Alas! But she soon swooned to a fundamentalist preacher, and from then on it was nothing but Bible verses. For a time when I was 18, I attended one of those churches. I heard people speak in tongues. I heard that if I was in a drive-in theater, a bar, or a dance hall when Jesus came for His children, He would leave me behind. My first part-time job had been at a drive-in theater and I’d love working there. That cheap preacher’s offense didn’t lead directly to my quitting the church after six months. I think I must lack the faith gene.
Anyway, during that time, my mother set me up on a date with Kim M______. (The surname is shared with an Agatha Christie detective.) I’m not sure of the connection—something church-related, for sure. Kim was a girl with pretty eyes, short hair, a flat chest, and rather a large ass. She had a larger frame than I and was destined to be a big lady. I can just picture her today, waddling through the parking lot of a factory outlet mall. She will no doubt be wearing a red sweatshirt with a quilted bear on the front. Anyway, whatever our one date, she thought I was the neatest guy—according to my mom, via Kim’s mom—and Kim herself told me that if only I could attend Indian Hills Church, where I seem to recall her dad was the pastor, we could have something wonderful. I guess I wasn’t interested enough to go through such an ordeal.
Anyway, we soon went off to our separate schools. And then I received this letter, written in a most fluid and beautiful cursive on the green leaves of a small notebook. Kim’s spelling is generally very good and I faithfully reproduce the few flaws here:
Oct. 4, 1976 (Mon.)
Hi! Well, here we are both in school once again. How’s it going down there in Lincoln? Must be nice to be close to home. Do you go home alot? I was home about two weeks ago and surprised my family. I didn’t tell them I was coming home and just popped in. Boy, were they shocked! I got in on Friday and saw my sister at the church youth house and she told me mom and dad weren’t home so I got home and was waiting for them when they walked in the door. It was alot of fun but I wish I could have seen you. So much has happened.
I checked into my room on Sept. 6th and have 2 other roommates. Both of them are from wisconsin. There are 2 girls, 2 guys and I up here from Omaha, so it’s not to lonely. The next time I get to come home is Thanksgiving time.
I’m glad you let your mom give me your address. Now we both can get mail so that our mail boxes won’t starve. Ron, I just pray that the Lord will let you know how much He loves you. Like I’ve said before, God means so very much to me and I wish you would go back a few years and try to remember what it was like. I just pray for you every day. The Lord has such great plans for each one of us. If only we would stop, look and listen to him. Each day the Lord seems to be so close. But only when I let him be close and love me, can I feel it. This is exactly what you need to do. Can I suggest a super great church? Well, I’m going to: First Assembly of God. The pastor’s name is Rev. Jack Glass. Do me a favor and talk to him, because I know you have alot of questions, deep in your mind and heart, that need to be answered. Please? Write me and let me know how it goes, OK? At Thanksgiving will you to Glad Tidings [a church near my parents' house] with me? I can come and pick you up without any trouble at all.
I’ve got to go now. I hope you understand what I’ve written and can accept it for what is meant and not as a lecture or sermon. Please write back soon. God Loves you and please always remember that.
Love in Christ,
My address is:
North Central Bible College
910 Elliott Avenue South, Box 137
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
Poor Kim. I don’t remember ever writing back. Until now.
You missed, babe. Never forgot you, though.