What did you want to be when you grew up? a friend asked a group of women.
Annie Oakley, several women said – and many of them didn’t have a gun in their house.
Amelia Earhart. A princess, said another.
Now the career choices came thick and fast: An oceanographer. A veterinarian. A teacher. A writer.
The woman who wanted to be a teacher became one. So did the writer. They were born for those careers.
That’s right – a cloistered nun who wore a pink habit and prayed all day.
Once you stop laughing, you’ll understand why that wasn’t such a wacky career choice for me. I was the oldest daughter in a family with three rambunctious boys. At age nine, a life of perpetual, peaceful silence seemed heavenly. The sisters’ chapel had an unearthly beauty, and I looked good in pink.
Other sisters set me on a less holy path. The sisters at St. Thomas Aquinas high school decided that I could write and steered me to a career as a newspaper reporter.
Most days, I blessed the sisters for their career guidance. Newspapers gave me an adventurous life until I started killing people 1997. That’s when I wrote my first mystery.
Sister Valeria put the ka-bosh on my last, lingering impulse to be a nun. In high school, the poor woman punished me for talking in class by making me sit with the boys.
Sister Valeria was nearly ninety. I’m sure being surrounded by rowdy young boys was her personal hell. But for a teenage girl?
That punishment was the answer to my prayers.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you reach your goal or become something else?