Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room! Growing Up Catholic in the 'Forties
James M. O'Brien, Ph. D, author
In l940, the nation hovers on the brink of World War II, and a small and fearful six-year-old trembles on the brink of first grade at St. Mary's School, Elgin. He will find himself plunged into a world of mystery, guided by white-robed nuns who speak a mysterious language and live in a separate world from ordinary people. He will become steeped in the liturgy and language of the Catholic Church as it presented itself at the time, and come to feel set apart from the non-Catholics and special, but not always in a good way. Charging into adolescence ' cars and girls and algebra ' he joins the St. Edward High School Green Wave (if only as a manager,) develops attitudes and a kind of identity if only as a class clown,) sets his sights on Notre Dame University and thinks about the priesthood, but not yet. And he works at the Bordon's Ice Cream Factory and the Elgin Daily Courier News and Barnett's Junior Miss store and Edward's Jewelers but none of these venues give him a clue as to his future.