door was locked. We stopped a man on the street, showed him the business card. He laughed and pointed to the back of a building. He surely laughed all the way home relaying the story of three nuns at the whorehouse. We made our way around the back of the house and observed ten or so women eating dinner. No one spoke. They stared. No one asked the obvious question, “Wonder what this is?” A non-English speaking man came running out of the eating area. We showed him the famous business card. He hesitated and then took us up the back steps and into the kitchen, unlocked another door and brought us to a basement, where indeed there were souvenirs covered with dust and untouched for maybe years. One sister kept repeating, “This is a front for something, this is a front for something.” Feeling the same thing, I said nothing. In my heart I wished she would shut up. I wasn’t sure we weren’t in danger. It became clear we were some place we shouldn’t be. Our priest companion sweat but didn’t know what to do. We needed to leave as fast as possible. We quickly retraced our steps back up the stairs. This time, our guide led us toward the front door, passing several people carrying tables who exchanged “what the heck are nuns doing here” looks. Once out the front door we miraculously lost our naiveté. We roared with laughter. I imagine our escapade entertained many for years. Forty years later, the details are so clear. I feel as if I am standing in that basement today. That summer we passed through New Orleans on the way back to the Motherhouse, I recognized the Doll House, open from 10 to 4 was not exactly our kind of place.
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