This post is not about my mother, although to be honest, she is a little irrepressible. When I was a freshman at Bible college, my favorite class was (no surprise here) English Comp. It was taught by a woman who was effortlessly chic, no small feat for a professor at a small Midwestern Bible college campus. I remember writing my first paper hoping, praying that I would impress her with my writing. This post isn’t about her, either.
I remember the first day that that professor stood in front of us with graded papers in hand. She told us that she was going to read the best paper from that particular assignment, the best out of all of her classes. She told us the name of the student, a girl who was in a different class, a girl named Katie Bunton. She wrote a paper entitled “My Mother is Irrepressible.” Mrs. Stark raved about how well-crafted it was, how she’d she started with the line, my mother is irrepressible and then told story after story about this woman, ending each story with that same refrain.
I remember listening to Mrs. Stark read the essay, thinking, argh! I wish I’d written something as good as that. I didn’t even use words like irrepressible. I can tell you now, I was a little jealous of this Katie Bunton and I did seek her out to tell her about the way Jackina Stark raved about her composition. I don’t remember what I wrote about, but I do remember “My Mother is Irrepressible.” You might be surprised by how many times that phrase has popped into my head in the last 25 years, partly because I aspire to be irrepressible. Most days, I am about the most repressible person you will find.
This Katie Bunton went on to marry a guy who is now the president of my Bible college, Matt Proctor. They have six (SIX!) kids and I’m sure it’s tricky juggling motherhood and a fairly high-profile ministry. If you are reading this and you have ties to Ozark, you might know that the last few months have had the added chaos of dealing with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Not long ago, she posted something on the OCC Facebook wall about how they’d nicknamed her cancer Jezebel. Of course, I thought about that essay from all those years ago, the musings of a 19-year-old girl talking about her mother, who was probably roughly the age that we are now.
I doubt that Katie Bunton will ever read my blog. To say that our lives have taken wildly divergent paths is an understatement. Sometimes, when life presents challenges, we harken back to the simpler times in our life when what grade we got on an English composition was our most pressing worry. Well, Katie, if you read this, I know you’re still that irrepressible girl who wrote about her irrepressible mother. I know that irrepressibility has served you and continues to serve you. And yes, vainglorious fool that I am, I still wish I’d been as smart as to write something as indelible as “My Mother is Irrepressible.”
My first experience with the word “irrepressible’ was in watching the reruns of ‘Ozzie & Harriet’. Oh, that Ricky Nelson!