Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Memories of Good Friday

When I was living in residential Detroit, in my elementary and junior high school days (in the same large public school buildings), Good Friday meant ONE thing to us (those of the Hebrew persuasion and nose size). It meant EARLY dismissal from school and the first GOOD day to play golf.
School dismissed at 11:30 a.m. BECAUSE, in northern industrial cities dominated by Catholic churches, everything shut DOWN from noon-3 p.m. (I need not tell you why). At noon, church bells rang ALL over Detroit and the city went eerily silent at times, until 3 p.m. when the same bells rang back civilization.
For those who were NOT Catholic, it meant a free day on a spring Friday and where I lived, it meant runing home, gathering your golf clubs and bicycles and dashing as fast as one could to the Palmer Park Public golf course - one of the many public parks and rec facilities in the Motor City (ours was located in the northern half).
Greens fees were charged by 9 holes ($1.50 back in THE day) ... BUT, if you go to the course, BEFORE noon, here's how it played ... The "clubhouse" closed at noon so all one would have to do in pay for 9 holes, finished the front nine BEFORE 3 p.m. and get to the back 9, on the other side of the par and away from the attendants' eyes, for a FREE 9 HOLES! You'd have thought we won the freaking lottery! Weren't we the smartest guys in town?
Good Friday/Easter weekend was always colorful for people with children dyeing eggs, women displayed outrageous hats (do they do that anymore?) and families going for leisurely drives after church to celebrate the start of the new season (much like Thanksgiving in Detroit harkened the start of winter).
Sadly, in my neighborhood, which was dominated by a huge Jesuit grade school (across the street from the Jesuit-led University of Detroit; they added Mercy a couple of decades ago). And some of my neighbors were not fond of their Jewish residents.
I have, in my lifetime, been spat upon and cursed the most vile epithets (including the ever-unpopular "Christ killer!") simply for being who I was. And it was done by youth and their parents alike. Such ignorance always made me more sad than mad.
But to all, Happy Easter (which will happily be free of watching "The Robe" or "The Ten Commandments" for the millionth time!).

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