Sundays were special days way back then, over fifty years ago. Dad didn’t work and Mom was happy to have him at home. So meals were special and activities were extra special.
I don’t remember mass on Saturdays back then. We went to church on Sunday mornings, so most of the time Mom stayed at home to cook the roast or chicken and put the vegetables on at the appropriate times. Then the gravy had to be made before noon so that the table was set by one of the older children.
Dad got served first. That’s the way it was in our household. Dad was king. At least to Mom he was king. So after he was served, we took up meals for the youngest ones. Then we could take up our own dinner. We always called lunch dinner, so that was confusing for me later on when other people called supper dinner! In my mind Sunday dinner was the best meal of the week!
Usually there was bread pudding for dessert, which was left over bread that was broken up into small pieces and mixed with eggs and milk, baked in the oven and then it’d be ready to eat with some molasses or milk. It was a cheap and easily prepared dessert. From time to time Mom would make delicious lemon squares or date squares. Boy, could she ever cook! We never complained about anything she prepared.
After cleanup we were off to South Brook Park or to visit some friend of Dad or a relative. We’d go to Irishtown to visit Mom’s sister Kathleen and her husband Bill Byrne or over to visit her other sister who lived in Riverside Drive Carmel who was married to Henry Blackwood. I can remember playing with all my cousins and not wanting to go home. One Sunday I vividly recall going to see Bren Buckle where I learned how to ride a bike.
Often our aunts would have a lunch of tea and cake or cookies, whatever was in the house at the time. We loved having a visit, although it wasn’t an every Sunday ordeal. Mostly we’d go for a drive or go to the park. Or we’d stay at home and have people visit us. So many people popped by on a Sunday that I wouldn’t be able to name them all.
And then there were the complete strangers. Dad might go somewhere for an hour and then come back with a whole family who was broken down on the side of the highway. We’d have to share our potato salad and leftover roast or chicken with whoever he chanced to help that day. The dessert on most Sundays for supper was a large can or two of mixed fruit shared out with a teaspoon of Nestle’s cream(which we rolled back and forth to mix). Days that we had to share with four or five strangers lessened our good suppers!
Then there were the days after I got my driver’s licence, when Dad might let me take the old Cadillac. One time I actually picked up two hitchhikers and took them to Deer Lake. There was a window that could be put up between the front seat drivers and the back seat company. I had no fear as I only put the window down a wee bit to talk to them. Boy, was I naive back then! I don’t think my sister Rose or I ever told our parents.
Easter and Christmas meals were much improved with a large turkey being the star guest. We could eat a lot more on those days, and there was salt beef and some puddings. Mom kept on learning new recipes as we grew older so that the sweet puddings were so welcomed! She saved tomato juice cans to boil them in, so we had several kinds to choose from on those holidays.
I have to say that Mom was the boss in the kitchen so I did not gain a lot of experience cooking or baking, as you might suspect. I mostly got to peel vegetables or do the dishes after it was all over. Since I only got to watch Mom prepare everything and I didn’t actually time roasts or chicken or other favorites or get to experiment with recipes myself, I felt lost in the kitchen. So I did frighten a few people with my undercooked moose roasts and tasteless duck months or years after leaving Pasadena. I tried many recipes that did not turn out anything like those prepared at home by my mother. And I should say that Dad didn’t do anything in the kitchen, except eat! He often poured water into his mug for his beloved Tetley tea.
Sundays were a time for relaxation but there was always homework to be finished before Monday mornings. Clothes had to be ironed and ready to wear. There were always mountains of dishes to be washed and no dishwasher to do it! So while we relaxed things didn’t get done on their own. Someone had to do them, right?
To conclude, let me just say that Sundays were the best day of the week. We looked forward to the great meals, having Dad at home, going somewhere, even if it was only for a drive. I hope this brings back memories for some of you of your Sundays.
Please comment and share your memories of Sundays when you were a child, teenager or adult.