This ominous statement, tossed my way by my cousin Sam during our final balmy picnic of summer, was half-warning and half-taunt. He’d approached me after the apple bobbing and said, “Hear you’re going to sister school next month.”
After blessing our home so expertly, Father Berube became the eager recipient of that Catholic middle-class beneficence those who once dispensed it now call “priest adoption.” Back then it was known as “welcoming a priest into your home.”
Priest adoption occurred more often than you’d think. Our family friends the Woodburys adopted a priest before they’d moved to Danvers, but he didn’t last.
Every Danvers Catholic kid I knew swore by everything Father Berube said. About anything. The reason why was . . . complicated. Oh, so complicated.
“Now you're getting older, your body's starting to change” said Dad. “Any questions?”
“How do you stop getting hard in church?” I asked.
“Don't be ridiculous. That never happens.”
“I just heard . . . in school. Some of the guys . . .”
“It doesn't happen if you're Catholic. You know all about impure thoughts by now.”
“Yeah, but . . .”
“You just got confirmed for chrissake.”
“Not sayin' it was me.”
“Then who? Better not be that Channing Johnstone character.”
“I'm just asking, what if it happens? What are you supposed to do?”
“You say a prayer or something."
“But what if some girl’s sitting in the next pew and . . . and looking real pretty . . . and things get out of hand and suddenly you gotta get up and take communion?”
“How the hell should I know? Ask Father Berube.”
from “Questions I Tormented my Dad With”
IN WHICH we are truly blessed.
I never did ask Father John Berube that question, but it wasn’t because I didn’t trust him. He was eminently trustworthy. Every Danvers Catholic kid I knew swore by everything he said. About anything. The reason why was . . . complicated. Oh, so complicated.
Had I known I’d be writing about Steve, my first adolescent friend, I would have carried my Brownie Hawkeye camera around with me more.
IN WHICH I learn that friendship is more complicated than enemyship.
I’ve never been friends with anyone in the same way I was with Steve Demetrious. It was one of those “more than” relationships. We were more than schoolmates, more than movie companions, more than teammates, more than confidants.
Chris Montez1Let’s Dance had it right. “Any old dance that you wanna do.” When I was 13 at Holton-Richmond Junior High2School Web Site, attending class in wooden desks with dried-up ink wells, I used to go to the school dances that happened third Friday each month. They were called “mixers,” because that’s what the girls and boys were supposed to do. Mix with adults gaping on. Of course not many of us did. The concept of a sock hop, with minimal supervision and an outta sight disk jockey, was yet to be in Danvers, Massachusetts.