Scandal-No Place to Hide

We live in a predominantly Roman Catholic community. We are a town of only 23,000 people, yet we have four Catholic churches, two Catholic elementary schools, a Catholic Middle School, and a Catholic High School.

You can imagine the gasps when, last week, the Catholic School Board announced that Father H, the principal of the Middle School and High School had been permanently relieved of his duties, along with an unmarried, female Elementary Principal and athletic director. They had apparently been consuming alcohol in a school vehicle on their way to a basketball tournament in Minot in March, and then tried to hide what they had done. There is also much scuttlebutt about other misbehavior, but that didn’t make the newspaper. Oh, the scandal!

This is no place to misbehave, because everyone knows everybody else, people notice things, and there really is nowhere to hide. The two Principals should just have worn shirts that said “Shoot me now” instead of trying to be sneaky. Moreover, if you get drunk and disorderly in Minot, 230 miles away, even that news will make it back here. This is a small State despite the vast distances between towns.

What are some scandals you remember from your home town or where you live now? 

57 thoughts on “Scandal-No Place to Hide”

  1. A tragic scandal unfolded in Carlisle (think Moorhead/Fargo) just as I was relocating to Franklin, Ohio. A teenge beauty queen became pregnant, hid the pregnancy, gave birth alone and buried the corpse in her backyard. The subsequent trial by jury found her innocent of murder/manslaughter but guilty of abuse of a corpse.
    The testimony of witnesses was riveting as prosecution and defense painted their portraits of the young woman.
    It was like an episode of Law And Order.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. With a grandmother like that, small wonder this young woman got herself in trouble. I agree with Wes, that this was a tragic situation, and no eighteen year old should ever have to face it, let alone face it alone. I’m glad she’s getting help in the form of counseling, and has the smarts to get herself a good education, but this is a heavy burden to carry.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. If you think there’s nowhere to hide in a town of 23,000, try growing up in a conservative town of 600. Not only does everybody know everybody else, but a lot of folks are related (both closely and distantly) to each other. There were a couple of notorious adultery scandals when I was still in school but we kids didn’t have a clue. Lots of adults knew but no one said a word out loud. There were several unintended pregnancies that led to quickie weddings. My town had only two churches – a Lutheran and a Baptist. It was scandalous if you married someone not of your own religion. From my high school years I do remember a “big” scandal of a young couple who dared to live together before getting married. Oh, the horror! There is no way I could have or would again live in a small town.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Then there was the time in my home town when the wife of the Culligan water softer man ran off to Iowa with the high school wrestling coach.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My grandmother came home early to find her husband in bed with another woman. She told him, “You can’t do that, Clarence. This is a small town. People talk. If you have to do things like that, you need to go at least as far as Waterloo.”

    Waterloo was 48 miles away. In the 1930s that was far enough.

    My best teacher in high school was a charming, spirited woman who was probably in her 30s. A friend got to know her personally after graduating. My friend was shocked to learn that an unmarried high school teacher could not socialize with men in public. People would talk. My friend said, “I’m sorry you had to forgo the pleasures of men.” Our teacher corrected her: “I often enjoyed the pleasures of men. I just had to drive to Waterloo to do it.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nor could a married woman in the early ‘50s keep her job after getting pregnant. My mother had to resign her teaching position after finding she was pregnant with me. However, the school system could not find anyone to replace her so they allowed her to stay on until the end of May EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS SHOWING!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Disgraceful. But I’m getting the sense that many baboons are old enough to remember the days of prejudice concerning pregnant girls, couples “living in sin” etc. We still had that around our way until the end of the sixties pretty much, though people were becoming more and more open. In 1968 I was fantasising about a statuesque girl called Debbie Peters, and how we were going to live together and tell the world about it. But no scandal, I never did explain my idea to her.
        Twenty years later, an old lady apologised to me for her tactlessness, when talking to my brother. She hadn’t realised that the girl he was living with wasn’t his wife. Oh she was so embarrassed at what she might have said in such a delicate situation.


  5. Roland IA, 10 miles outside of Ames, is where my grandparents and one uncle’s family lived. I spent many Sundays there with my cousin Kenny, who told me a story much like Wes’ about the concealed pregnancy – in this one the girl gave birth in her family’s bathtub… the baby lived and I don’t remember anything else.

    I remember a rumor that a friend of my mom’s had had an affair with a tenor in our church choir… don’t know if there was anything to that. I’m sure I’ll remember something juicy as the day wears on.


      1. I also understand it was scandalous in Roland if someone from the Norwegian Lutheran Church married someone from the Swedish Lutheran Church. That was considered a mixed marriage.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. In the 1950s a woman I worked with, Lucille, moved from her farm into town. She was terrified to be living among so many people. In her first several months in town she had all her curtains closed and her shades pulled down so people couldn’t watch her. The town was Roland!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. My mother was going to run away with my primary school headmaster!!! I never had an inkling. They were both so unhappy with their unreasonable spouses. This was 50/60 years ago. I think my sister told me when she came out here four years ago.
      Honestly, I never would have dreamed it.


  6. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Well, did you hear about my neighbor, Mr. Doe, who flashed my friend and I by standing naked in his front picture window when we walked home from school. Several years later the family moved away after numerous other scandals, including the one in which he, another neighbor, a male music teacher and a clothing store owner were found by the police running around naked in the town park which includes a gravel pit in which they were skinny-dipping, and Lord knows what else.
    That story made the rounds of the small town like lightening.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. An adult male exposing himself to a couple of high school girls in broad daylight, falls in a completely different category than skinny dipping in a local gravel pit with a couple of your adult male friends, in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in a large city or whether I’m just clueless. The only thing I can think of is that right before I joined my church (30+ years ago) the co-minister (it was a husband and wife team) had an affair with the music director who was also married. The music director left and then her husband (the other co-minister), after some soul-searching, decided that he was going to retire from the ministry. The woman asked to stay on as a single minister and apparently was flatly refused. That’s all I got.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m confused, vs. As I understand the situation you have described, this “scandal” involved two married couples: (1) a husband and wife team of co-ministers, and (2) a female music director who was also married (presumably to a man?).

      After the “scandal” broke, the female music director (2) left and then what??? Her husband (2), also a co-minister? decided to leave the ministry??? The woman from the first couple? (a co-minister with a philandering husband) wanted to stay on and was flatly refused? On what grounds, I wonder? Her sin seems to have been choosing a philandering husband. Or do have this all mixed up?


      1. Sorry, it seems so clear in my mind but writing it I didn’t do a good job. Married couple were co-ministers (a man and a woman). Music director was a man so the wife co-minister had an affair with the music director. The husband co-minister decided to retire. The contract was for the two of them as co-ministers. The church decided when he left that their contract was now voided and declined to hire her as a single minister. I Didn’t hear at the time why they didn’t hire her but I assume that the scandal may have been part of their reasoning or at least in the back of their minds.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thanks, that helped. I was having a hard time making sense of it all. In this case, I think it would have been hard for the female co-minister to tend to her flock because of her infidelity. As a society, I think we tend to judge women who stray that way, harsher than men. We seem to readily accept that men in high places, even very high places, will do whatever they can get away with, and don’t hold them accountable. Ever so slowly, though, that appears to be changing – at least if you’re a Democrat. It’ll be interesting to see how the Matt Gaetz situation unfolds.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I knew of a private school where two of the teachers (then married to other people) fell in love, and during that time their spouses got to know each other. Both couples divorced, and the in-love couple married. Last I heard the spouses were living together, so I’m not sure if they ever actually married, but can you imagine composing the letters that went home with the kids, trying to explain all that? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gossip can have devastating consequences. Back in high school, one of my female classmates had a crush on our English teacher, Miss Smith. Vicki would stories about how she’d visit miss Smith at her apartment, and have dinner with her, and how they’d do all kinds of things together. Her stories were never mean spirited or inappropriate in any way, but they weren’t true. Miss Smith had no relationship with any student outside of class, and so far as I know, Vicki was not a lesbian.

    When somehow the school caught wind of these stories, Vicki was unceremoniously kicked out of our school and transferred to another, and we all knew why, although I still don’t quite understand the reasoning behind that harsh punishment.

    As it turned out, Vicki had a propensity for making up all kinds of stories, and they accelerated after her transfer to another school. I took whatever she told me with a grain of salt after that. It was rather bizarre. After she graduated, she was fired from two consecutive jobs in day care facilities because of her lies. It seemed like she just couldn’t stop herself.

    Vicky committed suicide when she was nineteen while I was in Basel. I visited her parents when I returned to Copenhagen. They were still reeling from the shock, but had no clue as to what had gone wrong in Vicki’s life. They were grateful that I looked them up, and told me that they felt shunned by everyone and blamed themselves for Vicki’s actions. I still feel bad about that whole sorry mess.

    Ironically, about the time of Vicki’s suicide it came out that Miss Smith and Mr. Jacobsen, our married vice-principal and physics teacher, had been carrying on an affair for several years. His wife committed suicide by jumping off a ferry and drowning, and both Mr. Jaconsen and Miss Smith were fired. I might add that both Miss Smith and Mr. Jacobsen were excellent teachers and seemed like perfectly nice people. I wonder what became of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sherri Lee(is that better?) I must know thousands of scandals. I just can’t think of any. Maybe it’s just that in more recent times, anything goes, small town or not.
      I do recall now, I have a stack of newspapers from the fifties. One from, I think, 1958,has a big story and picture of a guy preparing his 350 cc Ariel motorcycle for a trip from the south of England to Gretna Green. Do you guys know about Gretna Green? I wanted to take Jane there, even though she was 24 at the time. (I was 41, and John and Sandra, her parents, were not happy.) It was just over the Scottish border, and years ago underage couples would flee there to get married under the more lenient Scottish laws. I forget the respective details.
      This intrepid rider was not the prospective groom. He was the reluctant, prospective father in law, and his would be son in law was black. I’d have to dig that paper out of a large stack to remember the whole story but the paper reported all this with a perfectly straight face. The girl’s age wasn’t the problem. The guy being black was the problem. Obviously the father was going to put a stop to it.
      I’m straying from what was really meant by “scandal” in this particular blog. But I well remember how it would have been around
      my way, if I’d showed up on the farms I knew with a black girlfriend, and I have no doubt it’s still like that today. Not that I would have cared, the farm people would have been dumped before the girlfriend.
      So much for the “anything goes” I was talking about.


  10. when i went to catholic school father larkin the pastor was a drunk and everyone knew it and no one cared
    the whole world is an dysfunctional place and anyone’s life could be made suspect at any moment with the wrong set of facts presented

    a priest and a principal drinking in a car at an out of city event
    sounds like every sports group i’ve ever been a part of
    hiding it makes sense considering what happened when it was discovered
    religious pious hypocrites led me away from the church
    i really despise them

    Liked by 3 people

        1. I stumbled across it when it was broadcast on channel 11, I think, on Friday nights. Or maybe it was on Saturday nights. The first episode I saw was the Pod People, and I was hooked.


      1. I thought about that when I posted this. The quote says that a lie has no leg, but in today’s world, that doesn’t seem to be true Lies have longer legs than truth does. Scandal has wings, but I would like to give truth steam engines.


  11. My sister, the nice Lutheran girl, got pregnant with a Catholic boy. A wedding needed to be rushed, (and that mixed Union was quite the scandal too) but another sister already had a wedding on the schedule, so this one had to wait a month. Sounds like the Catholic Conversion was a bit rushed too.
    I was too young to know what was going on; I was just excited to be ring bearer at the first wedding.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When my mother’s oldest sister was born, the story that was told was that she was premature and so small that they put her in a shoe box near the fire to keep her warm. She was born about four months after my grandparents’ marriage. I don’t think there was much of a chance that she was conceived after the marriage – in those days premature babies didn’t have much of a chance of survival if they were that premature. But there was a long. long delay before her baptism. My grandmother’s family was Catholic and my grandfather’s was Lutheran. They couldn’t agree on which church she should be baptized in. My mother was born about fourteen months after her sister, and both of them were baptized Catholic, because the Lutheran church would recognize a Catholic baptism, but the Catholic church would not recognize a Lutheran baptism. They were never raised Catholic, though – the Lutheran side won out in the end.

      Liked by 2 people

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