Baltimore, Maryland

The Long Walk from Childhood: Harold and Veronica Morales

First Recorded

April 28, 2016

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Harold and Veronica both grew up in Los Angeles in deeply Catholic families. Although their families' faiths connected them to their Latinx heritage, both were exposed to frequent depictions of hell and demons that they say they don't want to pass onto their children. In this conversation, the couple discusses their spiritual development.

This story was produced by StoryCorps.

This story is a part of the American Pilgrimage Project, a conversation series that invites Americans of diverse backgrounds to sit together and talk to each other one-to-one about the role their religious beliefs play at crucial moments in their lives. The interview was recorded and produced by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity‚Äôs stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. 

The Long Walk from Childhood: Harold and Veronica Morales

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Transcript

Harold: I have this bittersweet relationship with my religious upbringing. It is one of the primary places where I learned to speak Spanish and be Latino. I've heard a lot of awesome stories about my parents and my grandparents, that I think are important.

So, my grandmother, from my mother's side, she would come from Guatemala and spend three or four months with us. A lot of what she liked to do is tell stories, and so I remember a lot of the Bible stories that she would tell us. The Holy Spirit was referenced as power. And, it's something that I don't think, I ever felt the way that they described that, but I loved the stories, especially for the experiences that they had, had in life. They were very hard lives. Lives where, they themselves, were often disempowered. When they talked about the Holy Spirit as power, it was something that I was definitely drawn to. So, tell me a little bit about what is a youth camp.

Veronica: I loved camp. We were away from parents, which-

Harold: Would be part of the fun.

Veronica: ... I didn't get to do-

Harold: Yes, definitely.

Veronica: ... at that age, especially. You just got to hang out with friends, and do activities, and obstacle courses, and explore the woods, and stay up, and just hang out.

Harold: I remember at the camps, being encouraged, and feeling encouraged, to go on walks. And, I would have spiritually oriented questions, that I'd trail to meditate on, and I remember that being a big part of it. And I think, for me, I incorporated that beyond just the camps, into my daily routines, trying to go on walks as time to meditate, and seek out something higher. There's a lot of really neat experiences about the community itself, as well. The hanging out afterwards, and eating...

Veronica: It's community, which is something that, I feel we've been looking for here-

Harold: That we still haven't found here in-.

Veronica: ... that we still haven't found.

Harold: So, the emphasis on-

Veronica: On community-

Harold: ... personal-

Veronica: ... and spirituality.

Harold: Yeah.

Veronica: That's awesome. It's just,-

Harold: Yeah, [inaudible].

Veronica: ... we don't need all that other stuff.

Harold: So the other stuff, in particular for me, is this emphasis on personal sin, and how, as soon as you say you've lost salvation. And so, hell is around the corner-

Veronica: That's horrifying.

Harold: ... and demons are always around the corner.

Veronica: Yeah.

Harold: Definitely not something I want our kids-

Veronica: No.

Harold: ... to grow up with.

Veronica: I remember as a kid, every Sunday, it was just guilt after guilt. No, you couldn't do this. You couldn't listen to music. I remember loving NSYNC at the time, and that was evil.

Harold: There was CD burnings, right?

Veronica: We had CD burnings.

Harold: Yeah.

Veronica: You're a kid, and all you want to do is listen to popular music. It didn't seem like such a big deal.

Harold: What do you see your future religious or spiritual life, in the next few years? Buddhists and Meditation Center?

Veronica: We've checked out as the Buddhist Center, and we visited a couple churches. I think I'm comfortable now, the way we've been, kind of, seeking our own way or our own ways of spirituality. I don't know that I'm ready to commit to an institution.

Harold: Yeah.

Veronica: What about you?

Harold: I've really been enjoying our walks in the trails by our house.

Veronica: Those are fun.

Harold: And, also, I've been thinking about reading the Bible more, but I definitely like taking the kids on the trails.

Veronica: I like that more.

Harold: Yeah.

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