Sunday, January 20, 2013

You Know You are Catholic and from Darby ...

I found an old e-mail that I shared with family and friends, dated April 25, 2003. That was long before I kept a blog and when people still got excited to get jokes by email. I remember writing this in response to those "How to Tell You are Italian, Irish, a Philadelphian etc." emails that were going sround.

Until 1970 (when tuition was instituted) all Catholics from Darby went to BVM. Everyone that didn't go to BVM was "a public". So, if your neighbor went to Ridge Avenue or Walnut Street Elementary she wasn't Jewish, Presbyterian or Baptist. She was a "public", that other religion.

You were either an "uphill" or "downhill". Downhill kids had better after school munchies. We supported at least four different stores in penny candy sales. Bauer's, Bushmeier's, Pop's and Ray's Stand did a brisk business. At Ray's you got to feed the ducks in Darby Creek. (Pronounced Crick by a true Darbarian)

Your Easter Eggs came from Steven's Candies, the coconut cream ones had a yellow "egg" center. Those little clear candies that Father Gallagher gave out just before Christmas break came from Steven's too.

There was nothing extraordinary about 1,000 kids, in the middle of May, walking down MacDade Blvd., down Main Street and around the school parking lot singing, "Salve Regina" and laying flowers at the feet of a pretty eighth grade girl dressed like the Virgin Mary.

Ambitious boys delivered "The Bulletin" after school. They picked up the papers at "The Branch" near Martin's Market. They collected every Friday around dinner time. Nearly everybody read the Bulletin.

You bought 45's at Guy & Ed's and broke a balloon for a free banana split at the lunch counter at the 5&10. You bought at least one gift for your Mom at Wellworth's and your girlfriend at Tucker's.

Your Mom had lots of bags from "John's Bargain Store" and your first Converse "Chuck Taylor" high tops came from Bennett's. Your gym shorts were from the Big Store and had Darby misspelled "DRABY" across the gonads.

Christmas came from BabyTown. Santa came from a helicopter that dumped ping pong balls all over Main Street-get a ball, claim a prize. Your Easter shoes came from The Darby Shoe Store where, when you were real little, you'd ride the hobby horse. I'll bet you can still describe the salesmen there.

Nuns kept arsenals under their habits. Noisy clickers, dangerous pointers and yardsticks that were broken at least weekly over someone's back.

Everyone was born at Fitzgerald Mercy, laid out at Marvel's and buried at Holy Cross. You wouldn't consider missing 9 o'clock Sunday Mass even if your parents were sleeping off a rough Saturaday night. No one wanted to get hit by a bus on Lansdowne Avenue and die with mortal sin on their soul.

We all know that the Palmer Method had nothing to do with masturbation.

We all swore that the Saint Teresa statue cried real tears.

We sold candy at recess and lunch. Everyone wanted to sell Mallo-Cups so that they could take the "money" out before selling the candy.

Milk and soft pretzels were nutritionally sound.

BVM Carnival had swings, pizza and lots of gambling. Tickets were 5 cents each or 25 for a dollar when purchased in advance.

Moving to the "old school" was a rite of passage. Graduating eighth grade was a huge relief.

If we only knew how simple life was...

Pass this on to other Darbarians who may share the memories. It is nice to consider that no matter where we are or how we got there, we all started in the same place.


Anonymous said...

Some of us went to St Clements. My family lived on 2nd street and we were pure Darbians though our crick was Cobbs Creek and not Darby Creek!

Anonymous said...

Love Colwyn!

Denise DeLoggio-Wool said...

Priceless!! Brought back so many memories of BVM and living in Lansdowne Park ( uphill ) in the 60's , going shopping "down Darby"
My first boyfriend Don Arner putting together the ads & supplements in the Sunday Bulletin at the Branch, great memories of a much simpler era!
Thank you bringing back thes memories!
BVM class of 1965

Anonymous said...

I love this! You brought back things that I had forgotten about. My sister and I lived in Colwyn (Second Street, 400 block). Priceless! I can't wait to end this to my husband. Every once in awhile he will ask about Colwyn. Now he can read it for himself.

Carol Fragale Brill said...

I'm not from Darby but was born at Fitz. Mercy and know Holy Cross too well. Touched lots of similar memories of growing up and going to Catholic school in Philly

Stressed Out said...

My older sibs were all born and raised in Darby. My parents moved to Drexel Hill when #6 was born (I'm #8). I used to hear stories about BVM and buying penny candy all the time. My parents were both raised on 3rd ave in Darby as well. All 8 born at Fitz, dad died there, and my sister works there as a nurse. I live in MI now and it's a whole different world here!

Unknown said...

What a great story! I didn't remember all of the stores names in Darby, so you filled that in for me. If Rays stand was on Macdade near the creek, then that's what we used to call the Creek Store! And all of the ducks were called Freddie. If you called, here Freddie, they all came running! How many of you remember the candy lipstick?

Unknown said...

What a great story! I didn't remember all of the stores names in Darby, so you filled that in for me. If Rays stand was on Macdade near the creek, then that's what we used to call the Creek Store! And all of the ducks were called Freddie. If you called, here Freddie, they all came running! How many of you remember the candy lipstick?

Darbygirlmag@ said...

BVM class of 1947 ... remember all of it and then some...The time of our lives!! Hello, to all of my classmates out there. Think of all of Darby days in a special way

Anonymous said... either stayed for lunch or went home. Everybody from Penn Pines ( not Darby) stayed for lunch.

Before school ,during recess and at lunch you played charge, or flipped cards-steady last.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the biggest asset to Darby was the sound of Kenny the Waterice Man's bell! Everyone I knew waited on the corner with a dime for Kenny. He'd give it to you, even if you didn't have a dime. "Catch me next time, kid," was a famous line.

Thank you for sharing! This was really a blast from the past. Keep sharing!

Anonymous said...

as I have said in previous post ,WE may have left Darby ,but it is still in our lives . a great place to grow up as kids back then. we were taught how to earn money, how to respect our friends and neighbors and go to church. and got dressed up for occasions. thank you Darby. and this is a great posting.

Pat said...

This is wonderful! I haven't lived in Darby since I left for college, so this brought back some long forgotten memories. I was in BVM class of 1961 and then went on to Prendie. Thank you for the great memories!

Unknown said...

That was great! It filled in a couple of details for me and brought back wonderful memories and some not so wonderful ones. You should write for a living! Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Yeadon but Darby gave me the best friends anyone could EVER ask for.
Kitz, Chalie, Bibby, Teddy, Eddie B., Bert, George. Salt of the Earth!!