Monday, February 06, 2006

The 60s, P II: Memories of an American Catholic Boy


  • Matchbox racing cars and trucks for 99 cents

  • 45 RPMs for 45 cents

  • JFK shot
  • Sunday night: homework checked

  • More Sunday night: a roast beef dinner, then Disney and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom on television, and then bed…no exceptions

  • That sick feeling in your stomach knowing you had to go to school the next day and you might get smacked in the head by Sister Ferocious, RSM

  • Desserts: Duncan Hines cakes, Jello, boxed eclairs

  • Earning 25 cents from Auntie Ann for vacuuming up the stairs (I still have that quarter)

  • S&H stamps...but also food stamps

  • In school, the nuns asking which one of us would abandon Christ if Communists with machine guns burst into the school room and demanded that all Christians stand up in order to be executed

  • RFK shot, MLK shot,

  • Riots, protests

  • Worrying that the North Vietnamese were going to bomb our town

  • Worrying that the Chinese laundryman was really a Communist and that he would snatch me and smuggle me back to China

  • Tears streaming down my face from the cold wind, as my sled plunged through the snow on 'suicide hill’

  • Peeing in my snow suit because my hands were frozen, and I couldn’t open the fly buttons

  • Watching men walk on the moon on our TV

  • Taking the public bus, at age nine, alone, to babysit for my Aunt who lived on downtown Main Street

  • Getting government cheese…and eating it

  • Eight-hour trips to visit Granny and Gramps in the country, along winding small roads, six kids rammed into a two-door fastback Chevy Impala, the 8-track of “Roger Williams” playing over and over again

  • Hung on our refrigerator door, newspaper pictures of kids from faraway lands like Bangladesh with bellies bloated from malnutrition, pictures that were supposed to make me finish my dinner

  • Grandma's amber-colored "medicine," which, curiously, she took in a high-ball glass, mixed with ice cubes

  • The statue of Virgin Mary at my childhood parish, St. Kevin's Church. On the way home from school, I stopped in to church and stared at her for one whole hour. She winked at me: a miracle. Despite my devotion, my Mom hit me with a wooden spoon when I got home because I'd been AWOL.

4 comments:

Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...

i love the ending.

this one is also nice and i can relate in a way:

"That sick feeling in your stomach knowing you had to go to school the next day and you might get smacked in the head by Sister Ferocious, RSM"

God bless

oggie said...

ei buddy! i stumbled upon your post accidentally (or is it?) from your comment in brother jeff's blog. it sounds wonderfully strange to read about your profile and how it somehow echoes some of the things i've been experiencing in my life. for the longest time, i've probably took the presence inside myself for granted. in the busyness of life, i've dulled my senses to the little things that really matter like the sound that trees make when it makes, the artwork that the stars paint every night. but thank God, i've awakened. keep up the posts and be a light unto others like brother jeff. there's so much junk floating in cyberspace, we need to put in the presence of God into it.

rose said...

sounds like you have the beginnings of a memoir there.

oggie said...

thanks for dropping by and linking me up. took the liberty to link your site to mine as well. keep the faith!