bye church (belated)

Feel free to file this gem under "heavily delayed". I have started to complete this post two times. Once after my staycation in July ... and then originally back in the Spring. But I was reminded yesterday and it felt like I needed to wrap this up. 

My old childhood church is closed for good. There is probably a whole lot of back story behind why the church is closing that can be summed up in politics / debt / modern day changes... but what it boils down to for me is the loss of a seriously beautiful building loaded with memories. I'm fundamentally someone who likes to save / rebuild / restore / love old things.

According to the internet, the church was built in 1961. When you look at it from the outside ... and I guess the inside too ... it has a decidedly dated structure. But, man is it beautiful. There are intricate stained glass windows at almost every turn. The ceiling is very tall with a few fans to alleviate parishioners from the summer heat. And despite years and years and years of use and wear, the wooden pews are still solid and ready for visitors. I really want one of these pews.

I hadn't been inside the church in 13 years. The last time was probably before the Archdiocese shut down the parish. I hadn't even graduated from college. I was just beginning my junior year and still had no real idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I still don't most times :) 

Things I remember about the church:
  • The Giving Tree // Every Christmas there would be a tree with homemade gift tags on it. You would pick off a tag for the present you wanted to buy for a kid in need. I feel like we were very strategic for the ones we picked. Lots of puzzles and books.
  • Seeing my grandparents in their normal pew at almost every mass // They always sat in the same spot. Even after my grandmother passed away, you could expect to see my grandfather on the left side of the church about half way up.
  • Saying hello to Mr. Pyne in the back // I feel like he always had a slightly sassy remark back when we would say "hello mr. pyne". He still does a bit when I see him around town. Apparently when I first remember meeting him I was wearing a hat that said my name on it and when he said "hello jennifer". I looked at him in shock... unaware that I had inadvertently told him my name. That's what happens when you can't read.
  • Sitting in the "crying room" with my baby brother... when he was still a baby // The crying room was great because you could relax a bit. Plus if you were the one holding the baby you got to relax even more.
  • learning to drive in the parking lot // I remember the first couple times learning to drive in this big expansive parking lot. I had wanted to learn on my mom's standard transmission car initially. I got it going great once... and then never again after that. I still feel like I see parents teaching their kids to drive here.
  • CCD carpools // my dad was the carpool master. He would strategically build carpools so that people only had to drive like once a season - so I vividly remember piling in and out of station wagons with a bunch of other kids. I feel like we were also always a few minutes late.

On the last day the church was open, it honestly felt really weird to be able to walk anywhere I wanted. I walked up and down the aisles. Sat in the pews. Gazed at the towering stained glass windows. Looked at the overrun flower beds. The women there said I could take anything that I wanted. Well, what I wanted was a pew - but as you can see they are quite large and heavy. But I still want it. I can imagine it being a fixture in my house. I can see it as a bench in the mudroom where you sit to put on your boots. I can see it in the kitchen as a part of a breakfast nook. And for some reason, I can see it as the place where you tell kids to sit in timeout. I'm not quite sure how I get one of these pews but I really want it. So we'll see.


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