Christmas circa 1955 - Carol 10 years old
My dad was very Polish what with his parents being born there. Not only did he speak the language, his family lived near a Polish Catholic church in the Delray section of Southwest Detroit.
While we lived in the suburb of Lincoln Pk and went to a small, plain church, St. John's was gorgeous, a mini-basilica to me. We went to midnight mass every Christmas Eve and I actually looked forward to it. My cousins and I, along with our parents and other people, walked thru the neighborhood in the dark and thru people's backyards, to get to the church. That was exciting! Scary, and I couldn't understand how we could just walk thru people's yards. I mean, I was from the suburbs.
I'd walk into the church awe-struck. SOOOO pretty. There was a dome over the altar with a mural of saints flanking Jesus on a throne. There were statues everywhere. The altar was a mile high, inlayed with gold. The mass was in Polish, the choir sang in Polish, and the sermon was in Polish.
Sitting with my cousin Sandy, and being kids, we would fool around a bit. The times we didn't, we dozed off. One year there was a woman in the pew in front of us wearing (I don't know how to explain it but I think they were minks, each critter biting the tail of the other one forming a stole around her shoulders and they all had eyes.) That same night Sandy was wearing new mittens made out of some kind of fur. My god! Being kids, we took one look at that stole and her mittens and while we we're supposed to be reverent, as if we were into the Polish mass, we died trying to NOT laugh. We'd look at the minks, we'd do things with her mittens to mimic them, we'd whisper stuff and start to choke, trying so VERY hard to not burst out laughing. That night is my most fond Christmas memory. It was so much damned fun!!!