My grandmother, who was born in Poland, came to United States when she was 13. She lived with us briefly in New Jersey when I was about 7 and she was in her 70’s–her English was still “broken.” But she stayed long enough to introduce me to four important food groups: borscht, potato pancakes, kielbasa and pierogi.
She also went to church constantly. On Holy Days—and there were many—she took me with her to this very old Catholic church where mass was said in 28 minutes and that compared favorably to the “regular” church where in and out time was about one hour. The one negative is that we had to be there at 5:55 a.m.
Looking back I fondly recall sitting next to her, staring at the heavenly scenes on the ceiling while listening to the creaking of the old wooden pews and the drone of Latin phrases from the priest. It was a perfect environment for my imagination. In fact, I hit my first Little League home run on All Saint’s Day.