Sunday in our household was a strange affair, Granny always left for the eight o’clock service at the Anglican Church, my father left for the Pirates Tennis Club and it was left to my mother to take us to Sunday school at the new Lutheran Church near Zoo Lake. The Pastor of the Lutheran church was an American and so naturally was his family. I think that my mother attended the main service while we attended the Sunday school classes, but there are three things that I mainly remember from the very few years that we attended church.
The first is that the pastor had a very beautiful daughter, and she was always very friendly. I do not remember her name, but she was one of the “grown-ups’ that attempted to guide our young and impressionable minds along the paths of Christian indoctrination, resplendent with its fire and brimstone for the sinners that we were undoubtedly to become. In the unlikely event that we sinners, by some miracle, were to be counted among the few saints that would attain the Kingdom of Heaven, the glory of Paradise and everlasting life.
There is something that I have never understood about the necessity of explaining everlasting life to very young children, for two reasons, the first being that they have no comprehension of death, and the other that they themselves have no idea at all of eternity. Eternity to a young child is the length of time that it takes from the time they look forward to something and the actual time that they get what they want. Instant gratification, being a child’s idea of Paradise.
The whole concept of God to a young mind is also incomprehensible, I remember most of my friends at the church thinking that God lived inside the alter, and the idea that he watched us all the time frightening, not in a good way as to stop us from committing all those sins that we had no idea what they really were, but more like the “ Bogey Man” someone that could do us more harm than good. Of all the sins that were forbidden, I think that the only ones we understood were to love our mothers and fathers, not lie and do not steal. All the other ones were for the “Grown-ups” and anyway we noticed that they tended to lie to us a lot as most parents do, calling them “white lies” and thinking that children do not catch them out.
Anyway, the reason I remember the beautiful young pastors daughter is because at the end of one Sunday’s indoctrination sessions she was standing with her father outside the classrooms chatting to all the parents that were fetching their offspring, when I walked up to the young lady and told her she was the sexiest girl that I had ever seen. I had picked up the word sexy from my father as that was the way he described any beautiful woman, so I thought that the word sexy was the highest compliment that could be given to a girl.
I was not prepared for firstly the shocked silence, then the nervous giggles and finally the mocking laughter. My mother marched over and berated me in front of the whole congregation and kept demanding that I apologise to the Pastor’s daughter, I found it strange that I had to apologise for saying that the girl was beautiful, as she surely was, as I felt if I did I was saying that in fact she was ugly. It was many years later that I realised that the only thing that I had done wrong was that the church was an inappropriate place to call someone sexy because today I realise she was both beautiful and sexy.
Hugs and much more,