Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–February 1994, Part 4

Krueger visiting rules were the same as for Grossheusch and Muehlmeier: No opposite-sex visitors in anyone’s room past visiting hours.  You had to go into the lounge.  But did people follow that?  No.  I did, though, this year, anyway.  (I was trying to do better than I did with Shawn.)

I didn’t let Phil stay in my room overnight, even when it was very late, because I didn’t want to break the rules and I was pretty sure Clarissa didn’t want him spending the night, even chastely.

Once or twice, he slept in his van in the parking lot instead of going home, with an extra pillow and blanket that I gave him.  He was so happy when I gave them to him, and acted as if I were a saint.  (It didn’t seem so remarkable to me to give him a pillow and blanket: I had them, after all.)

As I mentioned before, Mike and Phil met at a special needs camp in S– a summer or two before, when Phil was working as a counselor and Mike’s brother was there.  Because of this I thought Phil was a special person himself, with a big heart willing to care for special needs children.

Though Mike and Phil had hung around together and been such great friends fall semester, now it seemed that all of a sudden they didn’t hang around much anymore.  I kept wishing they would.

That month, in a scale of musical taste that went from “made in heaven,” through pop etc. to “made in hell,” YM Magazine called Alice in Chains “made in hell” music.  I considered this a good description, and laughed that my favorite music was “made in hell.”  Phil, however, seemed to find that troubling.  (He wasn’t a metal or alternative fan.)

When he left me at night, Phil would say “Dream of me,” blow kisses at me, and wave as he walked away.  He made sure I could see him through the big windows of the entryway and the kitchen window, and kept waving and blowing kisses at me until he’d passed by them.

I thought this was so cute.  I was so happy in those early days, before anything bad began to happen.

Phil didn’t want to pledge a fraternity.  He tried pledging the Zetas, but they were too hard on him.  They connected the pledges with rope and said he was the weakest link.

He went to a Zeta party and got a negative image of Pink Floyd’s The Wall because the Zetas would sit around listening to it and smoking weed.  He and maybe Pearl also talked about how depressing Zeta parties got late at night after the guests left, with people sitting around, smoking weed, and complaining about life.

This becomes important here.

I went to every one of Phil’s Choir concerts.  As his girlfriend, I felt it was my special duty, especially since none of his family ever did go.  I thought this was strangely unsupportive of them.

I discovered that Phil hadn’t been to church in quite some time.  In fact, his whole family hadn’t been to church lately.  So I talked Phil into going to church with me.  He simpered and joked that he hadn’t been a good boy, and he may have said that now I was going to be a good influence on him.

When we first went to his church, we stopped at a tiny doughnut shop or bakery for breakfast.  The baker was talkative, so we barely got out of there in time to get to church before the service was supposed to start.

I loved the Gothic style of the architecture of the Congregation of the Holy Name of Jesus in S–, and was far more interested in going to this one than to another, more modern-looking one.  This was Phil’s church.

I saw the holy water basin in the little foyer, and wondered what it was for.  A collection box sat out there, too.  Phil may have taken some of the holy water and splashed it on himself.  He genuflected–a new thing to me–before the altar when we went in (he used to be an altar boy), and then we found a seat in the packed sanctuary.

To our shock, church was in session already; why was it over in only half an hour?  Last Phil knew, it started at 11.  We were to find out that it now started at 10:30.

I loved the many statues, the pipe organ in the balcony, and the ornate detailing of the sanctuary.  It was gorgeous.  Though many Protestant groups consider the statues idolatrous, to me they were beautiful.  It was so odd and beautiful to hear the choir’s voices singing out from the balcony over the hundreds of churchgoers.

I was surprised to see so many people wearing jeans, and to be the only one I could see with a Bible.  Phil had wondered at me for bringing one, and I had wondered at him for not bringing one.

Phil’s reasons for not having a Bible in church had, I believe, something to do with listening and concentrating better when the priest reads from the Bible.  (Okay, with me that’s totally the opposite.  My mind goes all over the place without a text to follow!)

My reasons for having a Bible in church included the tradition of our church, so I could follow along, and so I could be sure the pastor was reading it right and not taking anything out of context.

I wondered why the adults didn’t have Sunday School.  This is when I first discovered these particular differences between Protestants and Catholics.

During the Mass, Phil leaned and stood and bowed his head and prayed silent prayers in total immersion in the spirituality of the liturgy.

I was totally lost during the liturgy.  I knew none of it, and the songs were unfamiliar.

If memory serves, even the Lord’s Prayer was said differently.  In Catholic and Lutheran services I’ve attended, the last part (after “Deliver us from evil”) always got cut off, so I’d stumble over it, expecting from long habit to say, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen.”

I wasn’t quite sure what to do during the sign of peace, so just followed what I saw other people doing: shaking hands and saying “Peace.”  I didn’t initiate it with anyone because I was too uncertain–and because I, being shy, didn’t usually greet people even when my own Nazarene congregation was called to do so.  (I suppose it was our own version of the sign of peace: saying hello, shaking hands.)  But as always, I did return the greeting whenever anyone initiated it with me.

I kept wondering if my Protestantism showed, and if anyone minded.

Phil told me that I could participate in the Eucharist if I wanted to, but I didn’t feel right doing it.  In my church, anyone can participate in communion, but in Catholic churches, you have to be Catholic.

I especially didn’t feel comfortable drinking the wine, when I’d been raised drinking yummy grape juice. (I didn’t know it yet, but wine is NASTY tasting stuff.)

I certainly wouldn’t want to share the same cup rather than using individual communion cups, even though the smiling woman holding it in front of our section did wipe it off with a towel after each person drank.

Several people remembered Phil, and greeted him after church.  One was his teacher back in junior high, and remembered him being very spiritual and wanting to be a priest (which had been his plan for seven years).

I don’t think he admitted to her that he was no longer becoming a priest, and that I was his girlfriend.  In fact, now he wanted to be an actor and study math as a backup.  His dad was a math teacher, so I guess he was just following in his footsteps, since he was gifted in math.

Phil said that many of the people were there because they were “supposed” to be, and not because they wanted to be.

Though I only have one bulletin now–one from March 6, 1994–I believe we went to Phil’s church several times that semester.  On the back were tons of ads, which I’d never seen in a church bulletin before.  I believe Phil said they were part of the reason the church didn’t rely on tithes: The advertisers paid for their ads, and helped keep the church running.

He’d never heard of a 10% tithing obligation, which surprised me, because I’d read about the medieval Catholic church requiring tithes as a tax, which you had to pay lest you go to Hell when you died.

My church didn’t require it, but unless you were poor, you felt a spiritual obligation to tithe 10%, which my parents did.  So I would take 10% out of each paycheck, put it in an envelope, and give it to my church whenever I went home to South Bend.

On February 6, we went to the S– Evangelical Free Church.  I felt much more comfortable there, and loved how happy and jumping the church was.  (I didn’t yet know about the problems of emotionalism.)

Yet one Sunday, after we got to his house and I said how spiritually alive the church was, Phil said, “I’ve seen more alive ones.”

(I figured he must have been comparing it to a Pentecostal church, because every church looks dead compared to that!)

He even said he didn’t think he wanted to go to my church anymore!

For one thing, I wanted to go to church with him, not without him, and for another, he talked as if my beloved church were a bad place to be.  And who would drive me there?

I got upset while still wearing my dress from church.  He finally relented, and said,

“You can’t deny we almost broke up just now.”  From the context, I knew he meant that I nearly broke up with him.

I could deny it, though, because breaking up with him never even entered my mind.  But things seemed better now.

Later on, when I told Pearl about us going to each others’ churches, she said to me in Phil’s hearing, “That’s good.  You should go to each others’ churches.”  I had said nothing to her about the disagreement.  So I knew I wasn’t alone in that feeling, and was glad for her unwitting support.

I sometimes wonder if this was an episode of him trying to control me, an early sign of him trying to get me to become Catholic against my will.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: