Dixie here I come!!

 

To say the move to Dixie went smoothly wouldn’t even be close to
accurate.   First, I had to convince just about everyone who knew
me that no, I hadn’t lost my mind….no I wasn’t still grief-stricken,
yes, I knew what I was doing and no, there was no way they were
talking me out of it.    So, one bright summer morning in 1983,
hubby #2 and I loaded up a U-Haul truck and with a good friend
(love ya George!!) driving behind us in our pick-up, we headed
down to Dixie.    
 
Using the insurance money we purchased a 2 bedroom trailer, new
appliances and Eddie went to work for his father at the local fabric
factory.  Now to say that culture shock immediately set in would be
the understatement of the year!!   I’d lived in New England my whole
life and just assumed that the way things were there was the way
they were everywhere.   WRONG!!   Example?  The Welcome Wagon!
Back home, when someone new moved into a neighborhood, the poor
woman barely had time to unpack a single box before the other girls
descended upon her in a pack bearing casseroles, cookies, cakes, pies,
etc. in a well-meaning effort to welcome her to the block!
 
So, consequently, I spent my first week in Winston-Salem, furiously
unpacking, organizing and cleaning so I’d be ready for the Southern
version of said Welcome Wagon when it arrived.    And then I waited.
And waited.  And waited.   After about 3 weeks it became apparent
that there would be no Welcome Wagon.  I was flabbergasted!   Here
I was, a 1000 miles from home, surrounded by neighbors who
apparently had no desire to meet me at all.   How on earth was I going
to meet people and make friends if no one bothered to come say hello?
I fell into a serious funk of homesickness, sadness and something that
bordered closely on hopelessness.  What had I done???   Since all the
money had been spent getting us DOWN here….going back was not an
option…so now what? 
 
Then there was the “church” thing.    Kat and I really missed going to
church on Sundays.   But even though we looked carefully on our various
trips around town, we were unable to find a Catholic church.  I told my
mom on the phone that for some inexplicable reason there seemed to be
a Baptist church every 100 feet here in the South, but not a Catholic
parish anywhere!!    So after a few months, I convinced my self that when
it came to Sunday worship, any church was better than NO church!  
So, the following Sunday, Kat and I dressed in our best (matching mother/
daughter pant suits ) and headed off to the Baptist church up on the 
corner.    My little girl was SO excited!!      We got there just in time…folks
were pouring in the door as we entered and took our seats about half way
down the center aisle.    I’d never been in a Baptist church in my life so it
was a new experience for me as well as Kat, and I was excited just to be
there!!  
   
Everyone took their seats and the minister appeared up front, looking
benignly out over the crowd.  However, once he spotted Kat and I, the
benign look instantly vanished, to be replaced by one of consternation and
disbelief.     He stepped off the podium, marched down to where we
seated and proceeded to inform us that we were not “correctly attired” to
worship the Lord and we’d have to leave until we were ready to show
“proper” respect in the House of the Lord!!!   I was somewhere between
stunned and shocked!  Kat started to cry….instinct took over….I stood up,
 my little girl’s hand in mine and announced in a LOUD voice that “I’m so
sorry….my daughter and I are new to the area and we were just looking for
a place to worship.   We thought this was a house of God, but obviously we
were mistaken!!   This is the sorriest excuse for a group of Christians I’ve
ever had the misfortune to run across and we will certainly keep you in our
prayers”   We marched out of that “church” as fast as we could.    It was
literally years before I could bring myself to enter a Baptist church again.
 
I’ll devote the next entry to explaining the whole North/South church culture
shock thing I went through because it really was instrumental in pointing me
towards a closer relationship with God.
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