My Mom Versus Reverend MoonPosted: September 10, 2012
Last week, the world learned that Reverend Sun Myung Moon died. The fact that I was under the radar last week is strictly coincidental. I was not involved in the demise of the Reverend.
If anyone that I know is a suspect, it is my mom. I’m not saying she did it. I’m saying she’s had her eye on him for a long time.
Set The Wayback Machine…
I graduated from high school and started at the University of Maryland in 1979. Like most parents sending their kids off to a big university, my mother was apprehensive. College brings a lot of new challenges. Mom made sure that I was ready for whatever came my way.
Cults were a big worry. Seventeen year old me showing back up at the homestead with a shaved head and a tambourine was a frightening possibility. Mom did everything she could to prevent that possibility. I listened to a lot of warnings of how the Krishnas or the Moonies might go about luring me in.
I listened, and she put up with a lot of jokes from an overconfident seventeen year old. Sometimes I’d hum a bit of Mr. Tambourine Man while she talked. My mom would snicker, then return to the topic of how big a problem it was when kids got turned into Mr. Tambourine Man.
Deep down, I appreciated that this was an issue for her because I was her boy (I still am). But teen me knew that those nutty Moonies couldn’t get close to me. Sometimes I cut those conversations off by declaring all the ways I didn’t need to hear what she was saying.
Of All The Campuses, In All The Towns, In All The World, She Walks Onto Mine
I saw the girl as I walked up the hill toward the Student Union. Thirty-three years later, it is hard to remember a lot about her. She had dark hair and was very attractive. In today’s terms, she had it goin’ on.
I wasn’t the type to just stop some girl walking across campus and start talking to her. She stopped me. I was very impressed with myself when that happened. I decided that I must have looked good that day. Why else would she stop me?
It went so well. We talked majors and classes. She asked if I usually passed this way around this time. I said that I did, but that wasn’t true. The truth was that if she was going to be in the area I’d be there and I’d be the one to start the conversation when we crossed paths again.
The girl wasn’t there the next few days. I chalked it up to me just having an exceptionally good two minutes on Monday.
Mom’s Nightmare Comes To Pass, A Little
When I got home on Friday evening, Mom gave me a greeting card that arrived with the day’s mail. The return address (sans name) was near campus, the handwriting on the envelope was decidedly girly. I opened it. A young woman’s picture fell out when I removed the card. It was her, the girl from campus.
Mom seemed intrigued by this developing story. I opened the card, read it, closed it and put it back in the envelope.
My mother didn’t bite when I tried to change the subject. She probably saw the dread on my face. I really didn’t want to read the card to her, but under the circumstances, I figured it was just best to do it.
It was nice meeting you on campus Monday. I’d like to see you again. I’ll be at the meeting of the Unification Church at…
“She’s a Moonie!? You gave your address to the Moonies?! What were you thinking?” She was as scared and angry as I was confused.
Yes, confused and worried. I thought I was getting shipped off to some cult deprogramming center. I had no idea how I’d gotten myself into this mess, or how I’d get out of it.
The Wayback Machine Brings Us Back
I called my mom when I heard about Reverend Moon’s passing. We had a good laugh about the night the card arrived. It didn’t rain that night, but there was quite a storm going on at our place.
As the memory came back to her, Mom said she remembered how she kept asking me how the girl got my address without me giving it to her and how “I don’t know” wasn’t helping my case that night.
The mystery wasn’t solved and the storm didn’t stop until I started reconstructing that day on campus. I was walking uphill toward the union, I came from down near the M Circle. I’d been at one of the admin buildings to turn in a form…I was carrying my copy of that form.
I ran and got the form, there was my name and address – one neatly printed letter in each block. It was dated from that Monday. I showed my mother how I held the form on top of the books I was carrying. She pointed out that the card was addressed using my given name, not the shortened version I’d have used when meeting a girl. We theorized that my Moonie memorized enough of my information to make a note. She could have filled in any blanks by checking the phone book.
Because of the card hub-bub, I missed out on a date that I did have that night, with a Presbyterian. Looking back on it, I understand why, though I was really hacked off that night. If it were my son, I’d have kept him home too.
While we laughed about something that wasn’t funny when it happened, I realized two things. The first is that really hot Moonies must have tremendous capacity to remember things.
The other is that you’re always someone’s son or daughter, even when you’re as old as I am. Something in Mom’s voice was different when we talked about the man whose cult tried to get her boy. We laughed, but she was as serious about the topic as she was in our kitchen when I was seventeen. She’d do anything to protect her kids, even now.
I’m not saying she did it. I’m saying she’s had her eye on the man since the ’70’s.