Monday, April 14, 2008
What ever happened to the good old days when neighbors were truly neighbors? Really! Where did they go? Where are the days when a neighbor would just drop by for a cup of coffee and the fellowship that went with it? Today we can live by someone and about all we know is their name. No so in the good old days. I'm not what my grand children call antique yet. I do remember - yes - I remember and that is why, as my husband and I were in Ponchatoula a little over a week ago, we passed by what use to be The Lutheran Church. As we went by I snapped a picture of it. The church was on the corner about one block where I attended school for 12 years. Behind the church then was the parsonage. It is no longer there. Across the street from the parsonage, that is no longer there, was the place where our family lived. That house is gone, also. Nothing familiar but the Old Lutheran Church! I don't know how old I was, if I was in school or not, but memories came flooding back. Especially memories in the parsonage. It was far more than just a parsonage, a place where the the Reverend and his family lived. It seemed to me to be a special place. I guess first in my memory was a little girl that lived there whose name was Irene. You see, Irene and I were play-mates. She was the youngest of the family, probably a year or so older than I. She had older siblings but only one brother at home. Most of our play time was at her house. While her mother cooked and cleaned we would play real quietly in Irene's room. Sometimes we would go to the church through the back door into a storage room and play. We were always quiet as a mouse because we didn't want anyone to know we were in there. Especially her Dad! We found the communion cups and one day we had a tea party. Another day, in our imagination, we had a church full of people and served communion. We did not pass out the cups but just pretended to do so. What we used for the Bread I have no idea. But I'm sure we thought of something! I just know we were having fun. We never took the communion tray out, just the cups. When we were through we put the cups back and would sneak out the back door. Irene's Mother had lunch ready and she would invite me to stay. I felt special! We would all sit at the table ready to eat when Reverend Boriack would open the Bible and read, then he would pray what seem to be a long prayer. I'm sure it was not as long as I then thought. After prayer we ate lunch and was ready to play agian. But wait! The Reverend was reading from the Bible and then prayed again. That was at every meal. The Reverend was a German, if I remember corectly, very serious, very disciplined, and so smart. I found out very early in our friendship - If I wanted to eat with Irene that I would first hear the Word and Prayer before and after each meal. But I really did not mind. Let me say a little about Irene's Mother. She was a very sweet,affectionate person. I remember she would always tell me to come anytime "you sweet little thing", give me a hug and see me back across the street. I had many visits there and enjoyed them all. My Mother talks about Mother Boriack and what a good neighbor she was. We were not Lutheran but that did not matter. What are neighbors for? Let me tell you Mother Boriack's version! I had five siblings, so with Mother and Daddy that made eight of us. Mother was sick one time. I don't remember this - but as Mother told it she was not able to do anything. With six children, none of us old enough to do a whole lot- that meant things piled up. But we had a neighbor, Mother Boriack, who brought food over and got all the dirty laundry. She brought it home with her and did that dirty laundry. Laundry in those days was not a simple matter. She might have had a roller type washer. I don't remember. I'm sure she had no dryer. So that meant washing, rinsing, hanging on a clothes line outside and bringing them in when the sun had dried all the clothes. Not only that, but in those days starch for the clothes was made by hand. Then the dress clothes were dipped in the starch, rung out, hung out to dry and when they were stiff as a board they were brought in and sprinkled, rolled up real tight and left awhile. Later they were ironed and put on hangers if any were available. Oh yes, the sprinkler was made from a RC bottle with a cork sprinkler stuck in the top. (In case you don't know what RC is - it is abbreviation for Royal Crown Cola.) When those clothes were returned home they were washed, folded and ironed. Mother Boriak had even ironed the bedclothes. I'm sure she must have worked hours on that batch of laundry. I would call what she did a labor of love, wouldn't you? What neighbor would do that in this day and time? With all the modern conveniences that we have today - electric washer and dryer, spray starch (should some one need to iron), time saving gadgets and so much more - shouldn't we have more time? Which means we should have more time to be a good neighbor. Again, I ask- what ever happened to neighborly love? Can anyone tell me? It was once found in a Lutheran parsonage. Can you help me find it? That was the good old days. Do you think it will ever be revived in the day we live? Probably not, but I do have those precious memories of what a good neighbor was in the good old days.