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.