A TYPICAL SUNDAY IN THE FIFTIES - The Rituals of Family Life

Yes, Jesus Loves Me is a Pop Art Image of the classic portrait of Jesus that we had in our home when I was a child. This image is available as archival prints or giclees on canvas in various sizes at PopArtDiva.com in my Pop Art Section.

This Day in History:

Birthdays: Author John Irving, Jon Bon Jovi, Karen Carpenter, Desi Arnaz, Theodor Geisel alias "Dr. Seuss", Mikhail Gorbachev

1944 - The Academy Awards (Oscars) are televised for the first time.

1972 - The Pioneer 10 is launched to Jupiter.
A TYPICAL SUNDAY IN THE FIFTIES - The Rituals of Family Life

My family was a typical mid-western family. We had a swing set in the backyard, a little wiener dog* named Rin Tin Tin (Rinty), a '55 tan and white Chevy, a small two bedroom, one bath house in the suburbs of Wichita and that classic picture of Jesus in our home. I shared a room with my older sister and constantly stole her diary to read, thus insuring my claim to fame as a little terror.

We did the ordinary week day chores like work and school, went "uptown" to shop on Saturdays and on Sundays we always went to church. My parents were Presbyterian, though I didn't understand what that meant I knew that's what we were. Sunday mornings my mother would dress us in our "Sunday best" and march us into the Chevy to go to church and Sunday school. It was our Sunday ritual, church first, then the Sunday dinner.

In those days we dressed up to go to church. For me that meant a little dress complete with petticoats, Mary Janes in either white (summer) or black (winter) and gloves. Yes, we always wore gloves because that's what little ladies and grown up ladies did. On Easter we always had a new dress, shoes and the additional thrill of a new hat and maybe a little matching purse. That Easter dress would be our "good" outfit until we grew out of it or the next Easter rolled around. Our religious ritual was based on social networking and frilly clothes.

After church we either went out to have dinner at a restaurant that served fried chicken or we went home and Mom made fried chicken. I always got the drumstick - why do they always give the drumstick to the youngest child? And if we had cherry pie I always ended up with the piece that had a pit for which I was given a penny. The "Ritual of the Chicken and the Cherry Pit".

I don't think there were many Sundays that deviated from this pattern. For that matter most of my childhood centered around rituals. I could always count on a chocolate bunny and dying Easter Eggs for Easter, a home made costume and popcorn balls on Halloween, Black eyed peas on New Year's Day (for good luck), sparklers, fire crackers and watermelon in July and a number of other practices and events that had become the customs of my childhood. These events formed the security of my world and my parents knew their importance. Holiday rituals were a big deal.

I remember how much I looked forward to each seasonal event, each Sunday dinner and the activities I took part in with my family. Looking back at these times are some of my fondest memories. I often wonder if people have lost the art of ritual in today's world. We are all so busy. Parents go one way and the kids go another. Have the rituals been replaced by schedules?

I hope not. Schedules make lousy photo albums, home movies and memories.

* Yes, it was a dachshund, but I swear we called her a "wiener dog", and yes, she was a female - hey, I didn't name her Rin Tin Tin, my dippy brother did!