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


     “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

Philip Large. Detective, POW, and Newsboy

Philip Large “Are you a praying man?” Detective Phil Large said as he hoisted the suspect by the collar and belt, then hung him, head-first, out of the third story window.               “If you are, you better start praying now.”              According to the story told to me by a veteran detective in the Camden County Prosecutor’s … Continue reading Philip Large. Detective, POW, and Newsboy

First School Dance: Crossing the Generational Divide

Collingswood Junior High School NOTE: "Linda" is a composite of my friends. In 1954, the most common names for baby girls were Mary, Linda, and Deborah. As my father pulled the car, full of giggling seventh-grade girls, alongside the Collingswood Junior High School gym on that cool September evening in 1966, I could hear the … Continue reading First School Dance: Crossing the Generational Divide