Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Nativity no 5 plus slapping

This is one of the three Christmas cards I received this year.

It's from a girlfriend who lived two doors up from me when I was growing up.

I was raised a Catholic and each Sunday our family would dress in our best clothes including hats and gloves (early sixties) and walk to Mass. On Christmas day dad would come with us and carry the youngest child on his shoulders.
My friend was interested in what went on there.
'What happens?'
Being two years her junior and only seven I said, 'There are candles and the priest wears a dress and we sing and then there's smoke and everyone lines up for a biscuit.'
She tried to follow us to church one Sunday but her mother dragged her home by the ear, slapping her legs as they went.

I went to a Catholic primary school across the road from a public primary school.
We were 'Catho s' and they were 'Pubo s'. I wonder if today they call each other something else but I bet they still lob rocks at each other across the road and when they catch the bus home from school there is still the same bus race and competitive cheering and face pulling there was back then.

I remember a terrible day though. It was a scorcher of an afternoon and all the windows on the bus were open - yes we could open windows on buses and trains back then. The Pubo s had got away from us and the older girls were smacking their hands on the outside of the bus as if beating a horse into a gallop in order to catch up and overtake the heathens. We rounded a corner and saw the Pubo s bus pulled over to the side of the road and as we sailed past the cheers and jeers hushed to horrified gasps. The Pubo s' driver was out of the bus and walking toward a dog that was running round and round in circles on the road. I was young and at first I wondered why the bus driver was stopping to pet a playful pup, perhaps it was his and that was his house. I didn't know why everyone was upset until I overheard an older girl explain and it was said later that week that the driver had run over the dog and had to 'put it out of it's misery with a baseball bat'.

But we made up a lot of stories about things we didn't know anything about when we were young and we liked to believe the most tragic of them.


Of course Pubo s is pronounced Pubb ohs with a short u and not Pube ohs. But you knew that didn't you?


  1. Ah, the mind of a 7 year old.

    I love the description of what happens in church, ending with the classic line, "everyone lines up for a biscuit". Very funny.

  2. Church was wonderful when it was magical, but everything is when you're seven.


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