By Denny Mather
Sumtown has a fairly organized group of people who home school. When we started there was a newsletter we could subscribe to that listed events, classes, sports, and odds and ends. There was a potluck listed for that weekend so Vincent and I made plans to attend.
Most of the people there knew each other but were friendly to us "newbies." I've never been accused of being an introvert so I didn't have a problem introducing myself and Vinnie. I was impressed with the manners and demeanor of the kids and Vincent was soon off playing in the barn. It was certainly nice for me to be among adults for a change and I knew Vinnie would have good tales to tell on the way home.
As is the case with any group of people, there are cliques. It took way more than one afternoon to figure out the various factions involved in the home school community. One of the first couples I talked to, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, had lived in Sumtown forever and gave me all sorts of good advice on places to go and things to see. They had been home schooling their son since kindergarten and had plenty of ideas about books and classes that other mothers taught. Best of all, their son was the same age as Vinnie and they only lived a block away!!
And then we started talking about Harry Potter... The newest book had just come out and Vinnie and I were sort of sharing: whoever got it first got to read it. (We were not allowed to talk about anything the other person hadn't read yet.) I asked if their son was reading it and how he liked it. By golly, you'd a thunk I was asking about pornography! I was informed that the Harry Potter series was evil and not permitted in their home.
I sure didn't feel that way! Harry and his gang were always fighting Lord Voldemort, the very essence of evil, and I asked why they felt that way. According to them the use of magic was wrong. Susceptible children could learn how to use spells. (Wish I could learn, my home would be spotless!) However, they were reading Tolkien... Somehow it was more clearly defined in that what and who was evil or good. I learned a long time ago not to argue with some people, so we changed the conversation and a very short time later moved on to other groups.
The rest of the day was great. A mom's night out was scheduled for that week at a local restaurant and several women asked me to go. They tried to get together once a month and all told me of the necessity of being your own person for a few hours. I agreed wholeheartedly!
Vincent also had a good time. He'd met a boy his age that he’d have liked to see again but hadn't gotten a last name or phone number. I told him I'd ask around but some information is vital. Luckily, at the mom's night out I was able to find the right person.
Later that week I looked up the Smith's phone number and called to see if they would like to go for a hike and picnic lunch. Mrs. Smith was polite but declined, they were busy all week. Two weeks later I called again and was turned down again. Doesn't take me too long to realize I'm being snubbed so I never called her after that. We were polite when we saw each other but, other than pleasantries, never spoke again.
They were not the only folks who thought Harry Potter should be banned. I found out that quite a few of the religious people believed the same way. On the other hand, a preacher's family that we have become very close to encouraged their kids to read the series and discussed them together…