Monday, December 28, 2009

Church Plate


A souvenir plate from the church I grew up in. Many memories are associated with this church, but not the plate. I'm recording the memories and the plate is going to live with my niece.

The Rest of the Story

These church plates were once a hot commodity. Everybody wanted one and there were few to go around. One hung in my grandmother's kitchen since the beginning of time. Her daughters and granddaughters all said they wanted to have it when she died. Decades later, after she passed away, the granddaughters all got to go through her house and take whatever mementos we wanted.

Mammaw always said she didn't want her family fighting over her stuff when she died. We did, but not in the way she imagined. We argued over who *had* to take things, not who *got* to take things.

"You take it."
"No, *you* take it."
"No *YOU* have to take it."

In the end the church plate was still left hanging on the wall to go in the massive yard sale. I ended up with it since I was the only grandkid who hadn't found one by then.

This church building was built in 1909 and by the early 1970s was literally crumbling to the ground. All the three-story portions were razed and a new building erected on the same site. The six gorgeous stained glass windows were taken apart piece by piece, cleaned, re-leaded and reinstalled in the new building. Daddy was on the building committee for the new church and his name is on the new cornerstone.

The old building was dark and musty and creepy. Doorways had been sealed shut, passageways blocked, rooms were hidden by renovation, and the basement held all kinds of imaginary monsters. It was a child explorer's delight. I can still remember the light (or lack of it), the smell, the creaky back stairs, and the way sounds echoed in various parts of the building.

Kiddo choir practice was Wednesday afternoons right after school. If we behaved we got a soda from the old hump-shouldered Coca-Cola chest cooler. Nu-Grape was my favorite. Then we got to roller skate.

There was a cabinet full of old metal skates, the kind that clamped down to your shoe toe and had a leather strap around the ankle. There was always a wild search for the lone skate key to get them tightened down. I broke my arm skating at church, the only broken bone I've ever had.

On Sunday nights we had MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship). It was the place to be on Sunday nights if you were a teenager in our little bitty town. Years later I realized some of the kids were Catholic, Jewish and Presbyterian. I thought at the time their families were members of our church. (shrug) I had no idea.

My parents were married in this church, my oldest sister was the first baby baptized in the current baptistry, and she was married in this church as well. There are lots more memories, but that's plenty of ancient history to chew on for the time being.

No comments: