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posted by awelborn

I think it was Wednesday, when I dropped Joseph off at school, I felt this surge of guilt. You have just started a little boy, I thought, on the beginnings of a 14-year prison term. Good for you.

(Yeah, homeschooling. I’m not constituted to homeschool a 4-year old, and this particular 4-year old needs some schooling, especially the kind that involves lining up, listening and learning to interact with other children. I would really like to not have that conversation. Again.)

Well, he likes it. At least he hasn’t resisted going back every day, and has gone happily to the toys every day that I’ve dropped him off. What has he done all day? That’s another question all together. Some papers have come home, as well as a ziploc full of homemade play-dough, but for the most part, it seems as if a great part of the pre-K day is taken up with lining up and going to the bathroom. Repeatedly.

There are naps, too, but Joseph justifies his not sleeping during that time with the extremely irritated observation that the teacher insists on playing music when he’s trying to sleep, darn it!

However, the question that intrigues me most is the parent waiting after school, a late 20-ish caucasian woman, who is wears a sari. Every day, a different, quite lovely sari. That mystery alone is almost worth the price of tuition. Not a common sight in Fort Wayne – pale, light-haired women in saris.



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Nance

posted August 26, 2005 at 4:28 pm


In Ann Arbor I was intrigued by the sight of a pale-blue-eyed, seemingly pale-white woman in a full chador, right down to gloves covering her temptress hands. She was shepherding a brood of children who looked at least part-swarthy, for lack of a better term. I kept wondering what brought her to this place, dressed in layers upon layers upon layers of clothing on a hot summer day in the American midwest.
My guess is: Her husband.
P.S. Disclaimer: I believe everyone is entitled to dress the way they want, but something about coverage to that extent really bugs me. I mean, there’s modesty before whatever God you believe in, and then there’s a chador. With gloves.



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Jennifer

posted August 26, 2005 at 5:04 pm


Some people in Afghanistan are ethnicly caucasian. Is she Muslim? Is it a Catholic school? That would be my question.



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amy

posted August 26, 2005 at 5:14 pm


Is that question to me, Jennifer? Yes, it’s a Cahtolic school. It’s an Indian sari, not any kind of Muslim dress.



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Kenny

posted August 26, 2005 at 5:22 pm


Well, way to go, Amy. Now you’ve got me curious. You’re going to have to ask now. Tell her she’ll be a minor celebrity in a smallish clique of a tiny blogging subculture.
That should smooth the way for the “So, what’s the deal with the Sari, babe?” question.



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Tim F.

posted August 26, 2005 at 7:16 pm


I’d be a little more subtle Kenny. Something like “I’m Sari but do you mind if I ask where you got your outfit?”



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Laura

posted August 26, 2005 at 7:22 pm


I can’t explain her coloring and being from India, but following is the connection I made with “Catholic” and “India”
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14678a.htm



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Donna

posted August 26, 2005 at 7:24 pm


I mean, there’s modesty before whatever God you believe in, and then there’s a chador. With gloves.
I agree with you on this one, Nance. :-)
I’ve wondered if the black chador isn’t a relatively recent Saudi innovation. Could anybody have survived in them in the days before oil money and AC? Wearing a black chador when you’re out herding animals in the Middle Eastern sun seems about as healthy and practical as Eskimos clad in Speedos.
Saris can indeed be lovely, although they don’t strike me as terribly practical either. Indian women seem to manage them with much most grace than I would be capable of. I can picture myself continually adjusting the waistline, and tugging the sash back over my shoulder (but then, I have a tough time just keeping my stupid bra straps from sliding over my shoulders:-)



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Cheryl

posted August 26, 2005 at 8:12 pm


Yeah, I’m with Nance on the full chador too (although I know we were talking about saris…)
Still, it reminded me of this Naomi Wolf essay on porn, in which she mentions the “benefits” that can come with keeping aspects of female sexuality (even hair) under wraps:
http://nymetro.com/nymetro/news/trends/n_9437/
An excerpt: “…I will never forget a visit I made to Ilana, an old friend who had become an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem. When I saw her again, she had abandoned her jeans and T-shirts for long skirts and a head scarf. I could not get over it. Ilana has waist-length, wild and curly golden-blonde hair. “Can’t I even see your hair?” I asked, trying to find my old friend in there. “No,” she demurred quietly. “Only my husband,” she said with a calm sexual confidence, “ever gets to see my hair.”
There’s more, and it’s interesting to consider in light of the perceptions we western women share when we encounter chador-clad women.
Not enough to persuade me to melt in a full chador, whether in the Midwest or Middle East, but interesting!



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Lynn Gazis-Sax

posted August 26, 2005 at 9:15 pm


I once had, and would sometimes wear, an Indian outfit, not a sari, but the kind where you have a long sort of tunic over loose pants, and both of them from this really delicate fabric which is elaborately decorated. I got it because I had remarked to a friend (this being back when I still hoped to be pregnant) that all the maternity clothes I had seen in the mall seemed to want to dress pregnant women up like toddlers. So she gave it to me, as something loose enough that I could still wear it while pregnant, which didn’t look like a style for a toddler. It was fairly practical as far as being able to move around, cool in the summer, but so delicate that there was no way I could sew carefully enough to mend it once it finally tore.



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Monica

posted August 26, 2005 at 10:42 pm


we moved to our current home from Ft. Wayne and I had some Indian friends there who wore the saris. I love them and wished I had the nerve to wear them because of the beautiful fabrics. The Indian grandma would always show up for violin lessons on St. Patrick’s day with her kelly green sari which we all thought fabulous!



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Ellen

posted August 27, 2005 at 5:16 am


The tunic and pants is a shalwar kamis. There are a lot of Indian students here and some of them wear this. It’s made in cotton for everyday wear and in beautiful embroidered silk for festive occasions. I think it’s a lovely outfit.



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RP Burke

posted August 27, 2005 at 6:27 am


Then there’s the Catholic version of the chador:
the old-fashioned full-length habit and veil.



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Nance

posted August 27, 2005 at 8:14 am


I’ve read essays suggesting chadors, etc., are really “liberating,” but I’m not buying it, whether it comes from Mulla Omar or Naomi Wolfe.



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Richard

posted August 27, 2005 at 8:26 am


Shalwar kameezes have always struck me as a nice balance between elegance as comfort.
Probably why I see more of them Stateside than I do saris.



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Roz

posted August 27, 2005 at 8:31 am


I would love to have a sari. Womanly, beautifully hued, modest, flowing fabric. . . it always looked like a great meld of respectful, almost formal, wear with pajama-clad comfort. I wonder where they can be bought?



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Amy

posted August 27, 2005 at 8:56 am


I work in technology and I prior to my current job worked for an Indian company who specialized in Consulting and outsourcing. Most of the women that worked with wore western style clothes. When the did wear saris and shalwar kamis they seemed to have brought them to the US from India.
However a quick look on google and I found a multitude of places to buy shalwar kamis and saris. This one popped out as having a wide selection http://www.salwarkameezindia.com/.
I suspect you would have to go to Silicon Valley or NYC to be able to walk into a store and get a similar selection if that is even possible.
But a sari in Fort Wayne on an unusual suspect. Huh.



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MaureenM

posted August 27, 2005 at 9:39 am


Devon Avenue on the north side of Chicago has at least a half dozen stores that sell saris and other Indian clothing.



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Sandra Miesel

posted August 27, 2005 at 10:07 am


Just wait, veils are coming for Catholics, too. Or so say the RadTrads. http://www.traditioninaction.org has run a long series on how Catholic women must keep their hair entirely covered at all times because that’s what some Church Fathers said. Long skirts and loose garments are de rigeur in some circles while pants are forbidden for women. Me, I wear pants and T-shirts or sweatshirts day in and day out. Have for decades.
I congratulate you, Amy, for sending your children to school, demonstrating that homeschooling is not an obligatory part of being a devout and orthodox Catholic parent.



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kathy t

posted August 27, 2005 at 10:35 am


So TALK to her already!



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amy

posted August 27, 2005 at 10:39 am


I will, I will…..next week, promise!



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Nance

posted August 27, 2005 at 10:40 am


That site reads like a parody, Sandra. I don’t think the folks behind Betty Bowers could do much better. I loved the section on girls and sports. And the movie reviews!



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Jen P

posted August 27, 2005 at 10:56 am


Sandra, don’t you know homeschooling, Latin Mass-going, long-skirt-wearing, extended bfing and SAHMing are all mandated by the Magisterium? (Erase those images you’ve seen of St. Gianna Molla in pants, on her way to work!)



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Chris

posted August 27, 2005 at 11:22 am


Excuse my ignorance, what is extended bfing and SAHMing?



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Chris

posted August 27, 2005 at 11:30 am


I could never sleep during kindergarten nap-time, either. I don’t remember whether there was music involved or not. Back in 1971, probably not. It wouldn’t have made a difference either way.
I hear you, buddy.
I think “naptime” is mainly for the teachers, anyway. Not so they can sleep. It gives added incentive for the youngsters not to be so squirrely for a few minutes.



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Roxi

posted August 27, 2005 at 11:45 am


Chris–
I didn’t know, either, but I googled—extended bfing is extended breastfeeding and a SAHM is a stay-at-home mom.



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Sandra Miesel

posted August 27, 2005 at 2:48 pm


For the record, I was a stay at home mother. My (now grown) children’s horrified view on me homeschooling them is:”We would have learned a lot of strange things.” But also: “Somebody would have wound up dead and we outnumbered you.”
Which is not to say that homeschooling isn’t a useful option for some families. I just don’t like seeing it turned into a cult.
Can someone of a Traditional temper explain to me why it has to be veils worn to Mass and not hats? Hat are still manufactured, after all.



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Cay Gibson

posted August 27, 2005 at 3:11 pm


Errr…let’s not bash hsing parents, please!
I wear pants (capris mostly), almost can’t stand dresses except for fancy occasions, don’t attend Latin Mass OR wear a veil. And, last count, I had the same # children as Amy.
I also take my dc to co-op classes and private tutors to ensure that they’re learning all that I can’t teach. My dc are active in dance, ball, church, etc. etc. etc. Social outcast, they are NOT.
A cult? No, I’m offended with that term. My dc have used the school system too (and we have a pretty decent school system) but we find that hsing (or carschooling or outside learning or correspondence—whichever term you please) offers us much more out of life.
Between the 2 options(imprisonment for 14 years in a brick building versus participating on the globe as our schoolhouse), we have chosen the one that gives us more freedom!
Hsing is a way of life…and we love it. Ask my dc. Please ask! I already have. ; )
And they’re all turning into beautiful young men and women…thank you very much!



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amy

posted August 27, 2005 at 3:49 pm


Cay:
Homeschooling is admired and defended on this blog. My comment was merely to offset well-meaning posters would would flock here and tell me that what I really needed to do was homeschool, as if it’s not an option I hadn’t contemplated at least once in the past 23 years of parenting. That’s all.



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bigmomma64

posted August 27, 2005 at 5:10 pm


Congrats to your son, Amy! Just to mention it to the other posters re: homeschooling, my husband and I chose to homeschool our older two daughters simply because it was the best option for our family. We wanted to give them a Catholic education, but we also wanted to be able to afford a vehicle that didn’t break down every other week, a decent home, and the cash to spend on their activities. If we sent them to Catholic school here in Knoxville, they’d get a Catholic education, but only when the 1985 Voyager felt like moving out of the lot at the trailer park. You either have to be very poor and qualify for aid or be very wealthy to go to Catholic school without making some serious financial sacrifices to afford the nearly $5,000 per child/year to go. Needless to say, we homeschool for practical reasons.



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Cheryl

posted August 27, 2005 at 6:36 pm


For the record Nance, if you read the Naomi Wolfe essay you’d see that she in no way shape or form asserts that chadors are “liberating,” nor did I.
For some additional finger-pointing at “religious women,” check out the Betty Bowers website Nance finds so amusing. Such tolerance from those who supposedly value tolerance above all else…



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Cay Gibson

posted August 27, 2005 at 7:30 pm


Amy,
I figured hsing was “admired and defended” and, personally, I respect anyone’s choice either way. My oldest dd attends a public high school. So there ya go…
And I appreciate your original comment about that not being another conversation you wanted to have. I’m thankful because I don’t want to have it either.
I wasn’t responding to your original post. I just don’t want hsers to be *sterotyped* or thought of as a *cult*.
Now…let’s hope the conversation is ended. I’m truly sorry for starting it. And I love your blog. It’s very, very informative. :D



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Flammer

posted August 27, 2005 at 7:39 pm


Amy, my blogmistress —
“Homeschooling is admired and defended … on this blog.” It’s your world, we’re just lurking here.
Is it a Midwestern Thing?
A HS friend told me that another classmate of ours was homeschooling. I fell off of my chair. I then was exiled for observing that college educated Catholics in New Jersey don’t homeschool. Or, as Dennis Miller used to say,could I be wrong?



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Cay Gibson

posted August 27, 2005 at 7:46 pm


Okay, my posts aren’t coming across very charitable, and that was my primary reason for posting, that everyone be charitable in their opinion of hsing. : ( My posts even sound a little-bit sacastic. Oh, dear! There’s that *tricky* thing about email. : /
I really just wanted to say “thank you, Amy” for being open to hsers.



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Boniface McInnes

posted August 27, 2005 at 8:19 pm


I didn’t know that hats were frowned upon, or that Trads wanted women in veils 24/7. I make it to Mass each week, even stick around for coffee and donuts, and sometimes tag along with our young folk and the good fathers to a Sunday lunch at local restuarants. Maybe they keep the super-secret stuff, like cramming women into veils 24/7 and repudiating Vatican II, for when I’m not around? Am I a security-risk or something? ;-)
In all seriousness, veiling is another extension of our Jewish heritage, one which we had kept for 1900+ years, even as we dropped kosher and circumcision. I’ll assume that the defenses of the practise are well known to Mrs. Miesel, and skip right to her question specifically.
A hat does precisely what a veil does. Women wear both (not together, though) at our parish. Most of the women I know seem to prefer the veil because it is light and easily tucked away in a pocket book, so spontaneously ducking into church for prayer is better accomodated. A few prefer hats for, there is no other honest way to put this, the vanity of fashion.
I personally don’t care whether any particular woman wears a hat, a veil, or goes bareheaded; none are my wife or daughters. We all have our own understandings of modesty, and I am not going to judge any individual’s soul over their understanding. But it’d still be a better world if more people, especially catholics who should know better, would strive to dress in an objectively modest manner.
And there is nothing more disconcerting than a young lady in a beautiful chapel veil, sleeveless low-cut blouse and a skirt that barely conceals her thighs.
Talk about discord!



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Nance

posted August 27, 2005 at 8:42 pm


The objection to low-cut I can understand, but what is the problem with sleeveless? I can recall being in some churches where the anemic air conditioning could barely lower the temperature more than a degree or two from what’s outside. After this miserable summer, I can hardly blame anyone for dealing however they can.



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Boniface McInnes

posted August 28, 2005 at 1:50 pm


Nance,
You can object long and loud at the Chador with nary a comment on the bikini.
You and I obviously have different definitions of “modesty”, as well as “need” (to harken back to previous discussions). I see no reason to explain why sleeveless dress is immodest, since our understandings differ. Why not merely accept that they do?



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Sandra Miesel

posted August 28, 2005 at 2:32 pm


RadTrads, Boniface, which as I remarked above, are a breed apart from fans of the Latin Mass. Go look at the http://www.Traditioninaction.org site that I mentioned and you will see a multipart series on why women must be veiled at all times. Never having seen a mention of hats at Trad Masses, I was genuinely curious if they were worn. In the Good Old Days, we used to carry small chapel veils in our purses in case we were going into a church at times other than Sunday Mass when all females wore hats. Lacking that, one used a kleenex and a bobbypin.
Women wearing some sort of headcovering at church is St. Paul’s idea. It was Jewish men who had to cover their heads while praying–and still do. (Orthodox men wear hats or caps at all times while their strictest women shave their heads and cover them with wigs.)
Outside of church, women’s headcoverings in the West were a marker to distinguish the married from the unmarried. Even 19th C American matrons wore a fluffy little housecap indoors and a hat outdoors. It was by then a matter od custom and not theology.



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Nance

posted August 28, 2005 at 3:25 pm


I guess arms are the new breasts.



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