Our parents attempted to raise us Catholic, so that meant getting dressed up and going to church nearly every Sunday. I think this was also when some of the worst of my mom’s penchant for dressing us alike came out, causing more of the silly “Are they twins?” questions.
I don’t think it was the dressing up I minded so much as the boredom, having to sit still and not play with anything. Not wanting to go and having a minor tantrum was probably one of the most common reasons I got in trouble as a child, though I would sometimes try to get out of it by saying “The Devil made me do it!” Later, when I could understand more, I was not much more impressed. One of my earlier confessions included that I had thrown a snowball at the church building. I did not truly feel guilty about it , but was curious if it would get a longer penance than the usual “I was mean to my sister” and indeed it did!
I also found the content of the homilies (sermons) annoying. All too often it seemed to be about why the church needed more money, or else something really silly like the evils of hot pants! Around the time of junior high, leading up to confirmation, we were finally allowed to make our own choices, and we stopped attending. Neither of us is Catholic now.
However, as noted in earlier chapters, Sunday might also be about visiting relatives. When it was not, we still usually had a nicer dinner than other days, a roast or perhaps pork chops, though that was one of the few foods my mother did not cook well. She was so paranoid about trichinosis that she often cooked pork chops until they were all dried out.
Easter Sunday was of course a bit more of all of the above except the tantrums. We would get not only new matching dresses, but sometimes a hat and handbag. My mother sewed a lot of our clothes, but I think some of the Easter dresses came from Auntie Margaret’s store.
Easter dinner was most often a ham, a potato dish, asparagus if we could afford it, salad, some kind of fancy dessert, perhaps angel cake and strawberries, but of course Diane and I were more interested in our chocolate bunnies. Scalloped potatoes were one common choice to go with the ham, but later on it might have been this recipe for Alsatian potatoes, though it actually came from a Christmas article in the Chicago Tribune. They go very well with ham.
Recipe by the Landis family
Serving Size: 10
Peel and trim potatoes. Boil until tender, about 20 min. Drain.
Mash in butter, then beaten eggs. Beat in remaining ingredients and beat until potatoes are fluffy.
Transfer to shallow buttered baking dish. Bake at 350 for 15 min. until lightly browned. Drizzle with a little more melted butter before serving.