Sunday, September 30, 2012

Doors of Faith

St Mel's Catholic Church in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL.

Sometime around 1912 Michael and Alice Connery moved their family of 9 to a new home at 4140 W Washington Boulevard in Chicago.  In doing so, they became members of St Mel Parish.  St Mel Church, located at Washington and Kildare, was only a block away from their house.  This church is where their youngest daughter Elizabeth was baptized.

Seven of their children were confirmed in this church and three of their daughters were married before it's marble altar.  Several of their grandchildren were baptized in this church and one of my cousins received all of her sacraments in this parish. 

Members of my family remained members of this parish for over fifty years and when my Grandfather died in 1953, the grade school was closed on the day of his funeral.  I remember being highly offended that I was not allowed to attend his funeral but all those other kids could.

This church served the needs of my grandparents and their family for many years and was the foundation of our faith.  Our Irish Catholic roots are strong three generations later and I believe that can be traced to the support my grandparents found at St Mel's Church.

photo courtesy of Eric Allix Rogers via Flick'r used under creative commons license.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2001 Looking Back

Some things are forever with us.  We remember exactly where we were and what we were doing.  A sudden death is like that.  You remember every detail of the day it happened.  What you said and did, who you were with, and the emotions you felt.

September 11, 2001 is such a day for all of us.  Like other days that live in our memories this is a day most of us remember vividly.  I say most because my 16 year old grandson did not know of it at the time.  Since they were living in Germany at the time, his parents felt that his lack of knowledge would keep him safer.  His   peers and younger children are very aware of the war that has been waged since that terrible day.

I was at work at a moving and storage company in Florida that morning.  Part of my job was to communicate with the trucks that were doing furniture deliveries.  My husband had taken me to work and then returned home.  As he walked in the front door and turned on the Today Show, the first reports were coming in.  As soon as it began to look like more than an accident he called me at work.  As we spoke, the second plane hit and I knew it was war.  One of the first things I did was pick up the microphone and call our crews to give them the news. I remember saying "This is war!" Some of our crews were too young to fully grasp what this meant but those of us who did get it were both scared and angry.  After work when I went home we watched the re-plays over and over again until sickened we had to turn off the TV.

Our plans had been to fly to Germany the next day in anticipation of meeting a new grandchild arriving shortly.  All planes were grounded indefinitely but finally on Saturday Sept 15, 2001 we were able to board a plane that would take us to Germany to meet Brigid Kathleen, born Sept 14, 2001.  The airline we used was a German one and security was so high that one passenger set off alarms by having a foil wrapped piece of gum in his back pocket.  Our German flight crew had been stranded in the United States for a week and was very relieved to be going home.