Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sunday, 1960s

Rose-tinged memories, imperfectly recalled through the fog and haze of the ever-circling years, tell me that the following took place at our home on most Sundays during the bulk of the decade of the 60s:

There was no need for an alarm clock, as Beloved Father would return from the 8:00 Mass to stir us from our peaceful slumbers with "Are you up yet?" hollered up the stairway and down the hall, long as it was. He was an usher at the 8:00 a.m. Mass; why there was a need for ushers is beyond me, as every week the same people sat in the same pews, and knew perfectly well where those same seats were! I suspect he was more of a collection-plate-passer, but usher sounds better.

I am certain Sainted Mother also awoke us from time to time, but I mainly recall Beloved Father doing so. Then it was down the stairs in our pajamas (pyjamas to our British cousins) to read the funny pages as we called them, and then back upstairs to dress for church, complete with the clip-on tie that was worn all week at school, unless you were able to make off with one of two bolo ties we had. Never a drop of liquid other than water nor any morsel of food was allowed to pass your lips until after you returned from Mass and performed the requisite taking of Holy Communion. I always suspected Beloved Father went to 8:00 a.m. Mass because he got hungry; there was an occasional 6:30 a.m. service which he and the designated paperboy would attend from time to time. I subbed a few times for Graybeard on his route, and the early Mass was great; you came home, ate breakfast, and went back to sleep!

Normally, at the apointed time, anyone who was still in need of joining the Mass-es would pile into the car (a one car family!) with Sainted Mother driving the roughly four blocks to church for the 10:00 Latin High Mass. I can still recall the sights and sounds of that idyllic time, it was in Latin which made it mysterious to me, even though I could pronounce the words to the responses. The power, majesty, and awe of a Latin High Mass was wonderful to behold. I miss it still.

Returning home after Mass uneventfully (except for once), we would change to regular clothes and do whatever kids did then, watch tv, do homework, play inside so as not to disturb the heathen Protestants who were attending their own church services at the first Lutheran then Baptist church that was literally (in spots) 4 feet from the north side of our half-double, now called a duplex, the type in which Handsome Son currently resides, as a matter of fact.

The most enduring memory of those Sundays was Beloved Father cooking the Sunday meal, and Mitch Miller or the Four Roses Society record albums (giant vinyl cds to you whippersnappers) on the stereo. There was also his favorite Big Bands from the Reader's Digest Big Band Collection.

The world's best baked chicken was a staple, the skin so thin and crackly but tasty, and the meat tender enough to almost fall off the bone. Mashed potatoes with gravy, a meatloaf perhaps, with the secret (to me) red sauce on the top, which turned out to be merely ketchup, and was the only time I ever ate the otherwise nasty red stuff; spaghetti was never, excuse me, NEVER! made for Sunday meals at our house. "It is NOT a Sunday dish!" A treat was "wine" for the kids on a special day. The wine was grape juice and 7-Up mixed together. We might even have frozen salad, that combination of fruit cocktail and cream cheese, blended and frozen (naturally) in metal ice cube trays with the handles that separated the squares. Yummy!

Outside play was permitted after the heathens went home, so I played many games of one-man baseball by tossing a rubber baseball against the steps of the house, or even against the steps of the next door church, pitching, fielding, and announcing the lineups to myself, and doing the play-by-play as well. Must have been early training for my current day side gig as a soccer p.a. man.

Even though we had winter, rain, and even snow when I was a kid (you know, we walked uphill both ways in the snow, etc.) I ever think of those days as always being sunny and warm. Must be the rose tinge I mentioned earlier.

Sunday evenings we gathered as a family to watch The Wonderful World of Disney, also called Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, or The FBI, or Bonanza, among others. Beloved Father cared naught for Ed Sullivan, so we did not watch his show, although I do recall seeing it exactly once, somehow.

Whatever we had for the evening meal was smaller, but almost nothing comes to mind; in winter oatmeal with raisins was often the fare. That remains one of my favorites to this day.

I am certain Graybeard, The Stache, RT and Baby Sis have recollections that are similar but different, which calls to mind that RT detests the old phrase "same difference", but that is what memories are made of, or, as the song says, "Memories Are Made of This".


  1. 'Memories are made of this' by Deno! You hit it right on the head. Once in a while EM32 would pay a visit as would thems from God's country. That's how I learned to make hi-balls.

  2. Ahh, yes! The Late, Great 32EM (it was), and that sweet old Dodge Dart Pioneer with the red and white tailfins, the outside mirror so far up you could not adjust it, the rear view mirror on the dash, and the pushbuttons for gears!

  3. You are correct wise brother, 32EM it was. And I spelled Dino wrong. I shouldn't write late at night. Hard on the eyes, you know.

  4. What about canadian bacon? Yummy!