Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Ambassador Theresa A. Tull
TULL: Sure. We've come a fair distance, we have. That was pretty gutsy of my mother because they needed the money and she quit on the spot and her mother supported her decision. She found another job pretty quickly.
Religion was an issue with the respective families when my folks got married. My dad was nominally Methodist, but organized religion was not important to him. But it was very important to his Eastern Shore family. Initially they were prejudiced against Catholics. My mother's family was also concerned about Dad's religion, fearing that over time it could dilute Mom's religious practices. The couple was undeterred, however. My father pledged to my mother's priest, as was required at the time for a “mixed marriage.” That any children of the union would be baptized and raised Catholic. He kept these pledges to the fullest.
Over time, my father's family came to love and respect my mother. Two of his sisters later married Catholicin fact, they converted to Catholicism. At the end of his life, during his final illness, my father also converted to Catholicism.
Q: How was it growing up as the youngest of how many children?
Q: How did that work out? In the first place, what was the household like as you recall it as a small kid? Was it a really family unit or did they sort of disappear or disorganized, organized, how did things work?
TULL: We had a very close family, very closely knit. There was an age difference, so I do not remember all seven of the children living at home. My oldest sister is 17 years older than I and in fact she was my godmother when I was baptized and my oldest brother who was 15 at the time was my godfather. One of my early memories is sitting terrified in the chair in our dining room being frightened to death of my aunt at my sister's wedding reception; I was three years old. I don't have any memories of home earlier than that. My aunt had lost her husband, and she was an older woman, and she was dressed in black and I was three years old and told to say hello to Aunt Margaret. That was one of my memories.
I was well taken care of. I had four older brothers and two older sisters. They were great to me. They really were great. I got teased a lot, particularly by the boys, you know, but they looked out for me. I was five years younger than my nearest sibling, and was regardestill aas the baby of the family.
Q: You didn't get stuck as older sisters did with taking care of the younger kids?