Holy Kiełbasa, or Why Mrs. D Ate the Butter Lamb

When I was a child, and for many Polish Americans today, having the kiełbasa blessed by the priest was important on Holy Saturday. We ate kiełbasa year-round--with bread for lunch and kapusta for dinner or plain for snacks--but eating the blessed kiełbasa? Only on Easter Sunday. I don’t know if having the kiełbasa blessed is … Continue reading Holy Kiełbasa, or Why Mrs. D Ate the Butter Lamb

Trick or Treat/Smell My Feet

            Tripping over the too-long hem of my Casper the Friendly Ghost costume, I elbowed my way past my friends, the Lees Avenue Gang, to the top of the steps and held out my pillowcase. We all chanted:             “Trick or treat             Smell my feet             Give us something good to eat!”             “And who do we have here?” … Continue reading Trick or Treat/Smell My Feet

CONFLAGRATION: THE TRAGEDY OF LAURA JAKUBOWSKI

By Deborah Large Fox LAURA             During the last week of July 1940, the residents of Camden NJ sweltered in a heat wave with temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees. The sun beat down on the alleys and brick row houses of the hard-working people, who got little relief from open windows and noisy fans. The employees … Continue reading CONFLAGRATION: THE TRAGEDY OF LAURA JAKUBOWSKI

Measles, Mumps, and Isolation Memories

While Boomers did not experience quarantines on this current worldwide scale, we endured the mini confinements of pre-vaccine times. Waves of measles, mumps, and chicken pox would spread through neighborhoods and keep us indoors. We had no online social networks, so any contact with friends was reduced to waving from behind doors or windows. My … Continue reading Measles, Mumps, and Isolation Memories

COFFEE TIME WITH SISTER WILHELMINA

     “Child, what are you drinking?”      Usually, we could hear a nun approaching behind us. Those clacking rosaries and heavy footsteps gave children advance warning before the wrath of heaven descended upon their misdeeds. I must have been extra tired that day because I heard nothing, not even the rustling of the voluminous black habit Sister … Continue reading COFFEE TIME WITH SISTER WILHELMINA