Saturday, July 12, 2008

Margaret Merrill Toscano

Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant.

Omnis Gallia est divisa en partes tres.

You'd think after several semesters of Latin that more would easily come to me, but that's what's stuck in my brain.

I'd already had Latin 101 in college when I met Margaret Merrill, who became my Latin teacher for the next few semesters of Latin 201 onward. She was something of a fireball in the Classics Department, and a good teacher and friend. At the time I met her, she was single, but somewhere during that time, she became engaged to her first husband. I recall, as she told me at the time, he gave her two roses--a white one for her purity, and a red one for her passion.

That was long ago.

I enjoyed her classes, and particularly the extracurricular activities. I'd taken Latin primarily because it was a dead language--no danger of conversation--but it turned out to be most useful not only in my chosen primary field of study in the humanities but in later life. I fondly recall Christmastimes going door to door caroling in Latin (Dallin Oaks, President of BYU at the time, wondered what we were doing on his doorstep singing "Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus" to the tune of "Jingle Bells"). She encouraged me to play Aphrodite wrapped only in a sheet for a Classics department banquet skit ("The Judgment of Paris"), and somehow I managed to carry it off.

I liked Margaret both as an instructor and as a friend, and held her in high esteem.

Like so many other people at the time, I lost contact with Margaret over the years. Later I heard she'd remarried a man named Paul Toscano. Paul Toscano later became part of the infamous "September Six" who went down in a wave of excommunication, and Margaret later followed.

Margaret and Paul became particularly well known over the years for their work on feminism and theology within the context of Mormonism.

Margaret Merrill Toscano.

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