Friday, January 31, 2014

Marriage and Family: a Hauppauge High School Course!

Yes, the name of a half-year course, taught by Mr. Gough, that I took as a senior back in 1976 was: Marriage and Family.

These two pictures were taken from the yearbook.  Don't be fooled by the quality of the photos.  The art of photography was not as backwards as it looks. It's just that our graduating class felt that it would be more earth-friendly to have our yearbook on recycled paper.  We knew that society was changing and soon we'd be living in an environmentally sound world.  

I remember the Marriage and Family Class because it was so popular and because it was the only class that I felt would be remotely useful for the life my parents had prepped me for --a life that I was enthusiastically looking forward to.

Specifically, I remember the list of "don'ts" which, if followed, would increase your chance for a happy marriage:

RULE #1: Don't marry someone who is not of the same ethnicity as you are. My Irish boyfriend was in that class with me. I looked at him, batted my eyes and thought, "Well, I guess I could overlook that teeny-weeny little discrepancy."

He broke up with me a month after graduation and shortly after, married Maureen Tipperary.

But my Italian father had always told me the same thing--marry an Italianmarry your own kind--so I guess I thought there was some merit in it. I even remember assessing the boys in kindergarten and then coming home and reporting to him that I was going to marry Michael Savintelloni, at which he gave me his approval. Though it would take me a little longer before I would realize dad's hypocrisy.

"Hey! Wait a minute. Mom's not Italian." But he stuck to his position.

RULE #2:  Don't marry outside of your religion. According to Mr Gough, who was also heavily involved in the local Catholic church, this rule was a deal breaker. You really needed to be of the same faith or you would have all sorts of problems.This idea was reiterated years later by Father Donovan when I brought my Greek Orthodox boyfriend to meet him and talk about a possible wedding at St.Thomas More. His exact words: "You should not marry him."

Rule #3: Don't marry someone who had grown up in a country other than yours.  That person won't understand you because he/she will have different customs and raising your children will be confusing. That rule seemed like it would be the easiest to follow because at that time, the furthest I'd ever travelled was New York City--one trip with my English class to see Equus -- a play about something completely incomprehensible to my seventeen-year-old eyes and mostly forgotten. What I do remember was the full frontal nude scenes and the absolute silence of the audience. 

Mr Gough had a few other rules and these rules were probably based on someone's sound research, but I only remember the three outlined above.They stuck in my head over the years as I awaited the doom that would follow, having broken them all on one sunny February afternoon in 1982, standing in front of a Justice of the Peace at the Suffolk County court house.

Independent authors, such as Ms. Fagioli-Katsiotas often have quite a challenge in getting exposure for their work. I hope, dear reader, you will consider writing a review on Amazon or


  1. Dear Linda, I took some time to read a good part of ur blog , because it struck me from the very begining that ur last name must have been greek.I don't know why, but I am fascinated by ur story! Maybe because I had some friends with similar experiences, or because I have experienced that myself, in the past. Anyway, I feel like I've known u all my life, and I can understand the way u act.I also like ur enthpusiasm, and the spontaneity of ur writing style.

    1. Lucy, Thanks for stopping by! And thank you so much for your lovely compliments.

  2. Linda, this is interesting and as always, I enjoy so much what you share with your blog - and your books are Wonderful reading.

    1. Thank you so much, Jan! You are always so kind.