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Archive for June, 2012

Dear Readers,

Church picnics in the 50’s in Louisville, Kentucky were the main fund-raising event for many Catholic congregations.  And St. Therese was no exception.  Actually they were more like festivals than picnics, which suggest people eating a meal together outdoors.

Every June St. Therese held their “picnic” and I attended every one while growing up.  But the picnic of June, 1959 was special.  This picnic was an extravaganza for the entire neighborhood.  Part of Schiller Avenue was closed to traffic for the event which started around 3 P.M. and lasted until well after midnight.  Pony rides were given in the alley behind the school and along the side of Beargrass Creek, with a large merry-go-round in the middle of Schiller Avenue.  A “tilt-a-whirl” was assembled in the yard next to the priest house and a giant ferris-wheel was erected next to the side of the church.

In addition to amusement rides, there were games of chance called “wheels”.  A wheel with numbers printed around the edge was spun.  Picnic-goers laid a nickel on a board on a particular number.  If the wheel stopped on that number, you were a winner.

Each wheel had different prizes such as fruit-baskets wrapped in colored cellophane, pound boxes of Muth’s chocolates, hand embroidered pillowcases, dolls, stuffed toys, hams, baskets of groceries, homemade cakes and cartons of beer.

The ladies of the parish donated the pillowcases with beautifully stitched flowers or birds in pastel colors.  The border of the pillowcases was crocheted with matching color threads.  The cakes were “out of this world”!  The ladies baked their best recipes for the picnic.  The tiered shelves behind the wheel were laden with chocolate iced layer cakes, pineapple up-side-down cakes, creamy frosted coconut cakes and rich, dense pound cakes.  The cake wheel only had 60 numbers on it.  So if you really wanted one, you could cover every number with a nickel and you were guaranteed to win a scrumptious homemade cake for only three dollars!

A fried chicken dinner with all the fixings was served in the basement of the school.  Many people ate their supper there and then spent the evening trying to win a prize on the picnic grounds outside.  Bratwurst sandwiches and cold beer could be purchased on the grounds as well.

Here’s a true family story concerning the 1959 picnic.  My parents were scheduled to work at the picnic while my younger sister and I wanted to try all the amusement rides.  My older sister who was 21 at the time, thought the idea of going to a church picnic on Saturday night was dull and uninteresting.  I can still remember my Dad saying “You never know, you might meet your future husband at St. Therese’s summer picnic”.  My sister laughed heartily but she and her girlfriend decided to stop by the picnic later in the evening.  Sure enough she ran into some guys that she attended grade school with and struck up a conversation with them.  One of those guys who had just returned from active Army duty in Germany asked her out.  They continued dating for the rest of the year.  Kenny proposed to her on Christmas Eve, 1959 and on September 3, 1960 they were married at St. Therese Church.

Our family often wondered what would have happened if Martha hadn’t heeded Dad’s wise advice.  I guess some things are just meant to be!  I also wonder if any other romances started at St. Therese’s Summer Picnic?

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Forty-two years ago today my husband and I were united in matrimony.  It was a cool, beautiful blue-sky morning in Louisville, Ky.   And St. Therese Church at Schiller Avenue and Kentucky Street was the site of the ceremony.

Every June 20th I love to examine our wedding album and relive all the moments of that day.  I never fail to notice that both of us looked so incredibly young!  My older sister, Martha, was the matron of honor and younger sister, Nancy, was a bridesmaid along with two other girlfriends.  They were dressed in long gowns of pale pink and carried bouquets of pink carnations and white daisies.  My husband’s best friend, Jake, was the best man and there were three other groomsmen.  My wedding dress was an empire waist off-white gown adorned with a lace top and long sleeves.  Stephanotis and white carnations filled the cascading bridal bouquet.

A limousine rented from the neighborhood funeral home was my mode of transportation to the church.  I was extremely nervous as I entered the car and sat next to my Dad.  My father wisely advised me in these words:  “Mary, this is your big day.  Don’t let nerves ruin it.  Just sit back and enjoy every minute of this day that only comes once in a lifetime.”  These words really calmed me and I realized he was right.  This day was so special.  As Dad escorted me down the aisle, my eyes saw only my future husband standing there waiting for me.  I thought my heart would burst with love!

Mike was very anxious during the ceremony and developed a nervous laugh.  I reminded him a couple of times to relax.  It seemed strange for me to be the one who was calm after worrying about every detail of the wedding for six months.  He pulled himself together and did a fine job repeating our wedding vows in front of the entire congregation.

Father Jerry Eifler married us and remarked during the homily that the love we felt for each other that day was minuscule compared to the love that would develop between us during the coming years.  I didn’t understand that statement in 1970 but I do now.  It took a lot of shared ups and downs along with joys and sorrows to perfect our love.  After 42 years together, our love just grows stronger, sweeter and more tender.  Father Eifler was absolutely correct – I love and appreciate my husband more today than I did on June 20, 1970!  Happy Anniversary, Mike!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Yes, cottage cheese, a bland white dairy product can be exciting but it needs a little help.  Ketchup was a favorite ingredient that my Dad added to it.  I went for a little more zip and flavored my c.c. with seafood cocktail sauce.  This was the beginning of my experimentation with this dairy product.  After all it is a dieter’s friend because a half-cup of low-fat cottage cheese contains only 90 calories and one gram of fat.  Add some of the combos listed below and you have a very tasty luncheon entree.

1.  Chopped carrots, celery and lemon-pepper seasoning

2.  Cocktail sauce with sunflower seeds and freshly ground black pepper

3.  Black beans, chopped tomato, shredded cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of chili powder

4.  Chopped carrots, corn, green pepper and 1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s reduced-fat cilantro salad dressing

5.  Sliced radishes, chopped broccoli and black pepper

6.  Chopped dill pickle or pickle relish with a little Dijon mustard and black pepper

7.  Thawed frozen peas, shredded cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon low-fat Italian salad dressing

8.  Blueberries, strawberries or raspberries with a sprinkle of cinnamon

9.  Chunks of pineapple, shredded cheddar cheese and 1 teaspoon of low-fat mayo

10.  Fresh sliced peaches or nectarines with a cinnamon sprinkle

So the next time you eat cottage cheese, don’t settle for a plain ole boring taste.  Excite your taste buds with Mimi’s cottage cheese combos!  And remember to

Keep smilin’!

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