The Deacons Corner: The Rev. Dr. John Belzer
In 1950 when I was six years old, (yes, that makes me 76) Sundays were special in my home. Saturdays were usually a day my Dad and Mom did work around the house that couldn’t get done during the work week. But Sundays were truly Sabbath days; except for Mom, God Bless Her. They always started the same, rising early and getting ready for Sunday Mass. There was no breakfast because at that time in the Catholic Church we couldn’t eat before receiving Communion (the Holy Eucharist). It was a good incentive to attend the early service. After church there was always a light breakfast to tide us over before the noon meal which for us was the biggest meal of the week. It was always a roast, or a ham, or piles of fried chicken and with all the fix ‘ins. It was also the one day of the week when we had a homemade dessert.
In the afternoons were usually spent in the back yard, setting in lawn chairs when the weather permitted, or playing badminton or throwing a baseball around with my Dad. Neighbors might drop in for a visit. In the early 50’s we didn’t have television, no Sunday football or baseball unless you listened to them on the radio. We had to find ways to entertain ourselves. Sometimes it was a trip to Mohawk Park and the zoo, or Recreation Lake to fish for perch. Today it’s hard to believe, but occasionally we even drove to the Tulsa Airport just to watch the planes land and take off. On the way home there was the Hines Root Beer stand where they served root beer in frosty mugs that I can still taste. And, on really special occasions I would get a root beer float with a big scoop of ice cream floating on top.
These were simpler times. The world was recovering from WWII, and it was before the Korean War. The memories I have of those times are good. I don’t ever remember being in fear for my life or the uncertainty of everyday living. What I remember is a close knit family and a neighborhood that was safe. Although we didn’t have all of the “things” or diversions that permeate our society today, the thing I do remember is the time I spent with my family and my neighborhood family in those times. I once asked my priest Father Lowell Stieferman what he remembered about his childhood. He reflected for a moment and said, “I don’t remember the things (presents) I received, but I do remember the time I spent with my family.” That’s what I remember about my childhood also. It seems that this is a universal theme. As we age and reflect back on our lives, what really mattered seems to float to the surface, much like a big scoop of ice cream on a frosty mug of root beer while sitting in the back seat of that old 46’ Chevy with my family.