If you are like me and you shop the bargain bins at book stores, flea markets, and book trains you sometimes come across an older book that catches your eye. Raised Catholic was such a book for me. I have read a few of these “catholic” books over the years and have found them to be funny, but felt that they dwelt too long some of the corporal issues relating to how discipline was handled in our schools. I expected pretty much the same from author Ed Stivender, pictured here on the book cover with a yard stick, a popular “tool” used to deliver the aforementioned punishment.
Raised Catholic was nothing like that which made the book at that much better for me. Mr. Stivender is probably at least a decade older than me, but the we shared many of the same “stories” that he wrote about. This collection of short stories brought me smiles and had me gasping out loud as he reminded me of things long forgotten. In the chapter about his First Holy Communion he mentioned that he received a statue of Jesus giving Communion to a young boy…I couldn’t believe it as I remembered having the same statue. In fact I thought that still have that same statue and I ran to dig it out. It is pictured here with my First Communion commemorative bible and mass cards.
Raised Catholic was a wonderful trip down memory lane and reminded me of many things from my past. I, like Mr. Stivender, wonder whether I am really left-handed as I do many things with my left hand as well as my right. I was reminded of that little plastic Santa pin with a string that would like his nose when pulled. Or the “polio vaccine sugar cube” that we all had to take and who among us from that period have a scar on our left arms from another vaccine. How about those barley sugar lolipops that were usually in the shape of animals?
You might be able to tell that this book had a positive impact on me. I don’t think you would get as much out of it if you weren’t raised Catholic and attended a Catholic school in that time period. You would have no memory of girls having to wear tissues on their heads in church because they forgot their hats, or being a very young child trying to think of a sin to confess. My standards were that I had “bad thoughts” and disobeyed my parents since that could cover about anything. How about chew-the-peg? Parents would lose their kids today if they let them play with a knife.
I had mentioned in an earlier post about reuniting with a group of friends that shared my “raised Catholic” experience. There was something about that time, that shared experience and I only hope that our children have something similar. This book was not on any best seller list, but if you grew up in the fifties and sixties you’ll thoroughly enjoy Raised Catholic. It would certainly help if you were also raised Catholic.