Hello ~ As school children in the 1950s, we were sent out to play "on the noon hour" everyday no matter what the weather - and it snowed, rained and scorched. It was the best part of the day even though it was tough. I remember standing in Mary Catlin's coat to stay warm. I was very little and my fingers froze. Our teachers, Sisters of St. Joseph in full habit, put on shawls and skidded down long ice chutes with black robes flowing. We played every game - pom-pom-pullaway; red-rover-red rover; dodge ball; witch-steals-the-child. We monitored ourselves on the playground - some kids were 'mothers' to others. We played our hearts out, never looked back, loved each other and let everyone play.
Here is a poem I wrote about those days about the playground at Our Mother of Sorrows Elementary School about 1954. We played in and around the cemetery and church and under full-size statues of saints and the crucifixion. The 150-year-old church was used to hide escaped slaves, the KKK burned a cross on the rectory lawn in the 1920s - it is the oldest, rural Catholic [Irish] church in New York State - built on Paddy Hill about 10 miles northwest of Rochester.
Sacred to the Memory
Slater, Sheehan, Byrnechipmunks scatter across your names.
McGuire, Maio, Fleminggreen jumpers, tan blousesall sittingeyes forward hands foldedfeet flat on the floor.
Cleary, Larkin, Lafferty, McSheaice slides, black flowinghabits skidding on bootsacross the fields of snow.
Farnan, Beatty, BrennanDavid, Mary Jane, Janice.Sister Jeannine, Sister Mary Alacquo.Mary Catlin let me stand in her coaton the noon hour.
McMannis, Roberts, O’RourkeHelen, Bill and Stoneysecret place in the upstairs bedroomfor the underground railroad.Leonard, Margaret and Mary JeanTheresa of the Little Flower.
Today I read the namesscratched in the bricks where the heart-knifed lady once stoodas we played briefly under her rose-petaled feet. where the cross was our friend, and the mother of sorrowscradled the head of her son in her lap.
Barbara Lamb Carder, 2000
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