Day 8 of the 500 Word Challenge. Make a list.
Growing up in church I can tell you that there are somethings from my days as a child that you may not see at many churches today.
- Big hats – All the older women who were not singing in the choir, serving on the usher board or the lady who came to spend the summers with her aunt had on the biggest most exotic hats. I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to get older so that I could wear a big hat to church. Easter Sunday did not count because my hat was small and cute. I wanted one like the grown ups. I may see the occasional hat today but it doesn’t seem to be an adult uniform of sorts. It’s more of a bad hair day cover up, now. Which also makes me wonder why did those women go through all that trouble on Saturday night to do their hair only to cover it up under those big ol’ hats?
- Pantyhose – Now there is a catch to this because more women wear pants to church. I hear that back in the day that some churches had pantyhose readily available for women who were “bare legged.” I couldn’t imagine not wearing pantyhose to church back in the day because I live in a cold climate but now… leggings and a pair of boots work if I am not wearing pants. Summer time is another story. It’s just too hot. As a minister’s wife, I do pay attention to my environment. If the church is known to be more conservative, I wear them…even in the summer.
- Skirts over pants – This makes me laugh because I lived through the transitional period when pants in church were becoming more acceptable. I was always prepared to go to choir rehearsal with my trusty blue jean skirt to go over my pants. Then I would roll up my pants so that I wouldn’t have to take them off even though it was uncomfortable. Goofy teenager. My favorite memory is putting an older choir robe on when I “forgot” my skirt so that I could participate in choir rehearsal. At one point I remember what seemed like the entire choir had on borrowed robes before we were finally allowed to wear pants for rehearsal only.
- Choir Robes – What can I say about choir robes? They were hot even if all you wore under them was slip and your underwear. The heat was too high in the winter and the air conditioner never worked. I don’t miss those at all. I hear that they come in a lighter weight now but I’m glad most churches don’t make the choir members suffer in those. I imagine the men had it worse than the women since they were usually fully clothed under their robes.
- Cummerbunds and bowties – I suppose this is turning into a list for choir members. We were too cute in this uniform but who came up with this idea? There was the red shirt with black bottoms with the CB combination and of course the classic white shirt with black bottoms. Then the bold all white combination with white tops and white bottoms. Can someone also explain why the cummerbund choice was black or red, too?
- All White on 1st Sunday – For the life of me, I cannot understand this one. This may have been where my disdain for all white anything began. How did they expect a busy but little girl like me to wear all white, take communion and not spill it on something every single time? It never worked out. If you catch me in all white, it’s a trick. So please do not be surprised if I decline your all white party invitation.
- Giving a statement when you join church – I don’t care how old you were, they asked if you wanted to say something. I joined at almost 6 years old so I am pretty sure that I didn’t have much to say. The fun I had as a kid listening to stories. Some were short while others were long. Some were heartfelt and others seemed force. Then there were the ones that made all the adults blush and leave me wondering what the heck had I missed. No one ever told me either. Dang it! I guess that was one tradition that they were happy to get rid of because of those stories that made the adults blush.
- Testimony service – For the same reasons as mentioned above, I guess the adults decided that some testimonies needed to be screened. I have to admit that some of those testimonies changed my life. I learned to listen to what the heck my mother told me. I also learned that some people seemed to keep experiencing the same thing over and over or did they? I do miss the songs that random people would sing during this service. I heard songs that were so soulful that even my young soul was stirred. Unfortunately, Testimony service was the only time that I heard some of those songs.
I’m sure that I could probably think of more things to add to my list but why don’t you join me. What do you remember seeing that you don’t see now?
Here’s to our childhood foundation and changing times.
Just another day’s journey of remembering how church used to be.