Being an altar boy was a big deal, starting from the first grade through the eighth. We were given Mass cards in Latin, and it took some time before I understood the English translation. At Sacred Heart School, as altar servers we were identified and pulled out of class on occasion to serve at funerals at the big church next door and at Masses in the chapel. I remember receiving 50 cents for funeral Mass assignments.
Mom also had a “book” she kept in her dresser drawer that she would let my brother and sisters and I read when we each reached 13 years, you know, about the “birds and the bees”. We were already familiar with most of what was in the book, hearing a lot on the school bus, but didn’t dare tell Mom, who volunteered no explanations, and miraculously each of us worked through the awkwardness with this coming of age. I expect that Mom’s restrictions came from a sense that the culture was changing toward what would become the sexual revolution, and her instincts and actions were tough, her intentions on target.
(To be continued – Eighth grade graduation, and Father Coleman comes to Sacred Heart, recruiting for seminarians.)