~ Sundays Past ~

English: Liddesdale Parish Church A small coun...

A small country church  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember when Sundays were a “day of rest” and the only stores open were… hmm…well pretty much nothing was open. Of course this was in my small town which was very WASP-Y (white Anglo-Saxon protestant) and dry until the early 1960’s (though this is not something I remember, as I was not much of an imbiber at nine years old).

Sundays when I was young  was a day when the kids went to church (for some reason my parents did not go, but the four of us kids did—we went to Sunday school, then when we got older, we went to church and joined the choir, and Young Peoples—a group for teenagers). For me church was more of a community/social thing.  Of course God and Jesus played a role, but at the time God was a male father figure, and Jesus apparently “loved the little children”.

Today my beliefs are a little more complex, but I no longer go to church. I do miss “visiting” though. People tended to visit friends and neighbours and family on Sunday afternoon after church. Without calling ahead. They would just drop in. And that was totally socially acceptable.

I remember when people used to have “parlours” set aside for just these visits, and if the minister should happen by. I think it was kind of like the good “living room” that was always neat and no one used it unless they had company. This makes perfect sense to me, with the type of housekeeping I do.

The home I grew up in was not big enough to have a parlour—we lived in the whole house—though because my mom was so neat and clean, it was almost always company ready. But today, I need a parlour—a room set aside that I can go into that will always be neat and clean and not subject to muddy boots, and coats thrown over chairs, and newspapers gloriously spread all over the floor. I try to keep my living room in good shape “just in case”, but this does not always work out.

Back to Sundays of my childhood~

Every Sunday we would have a roast of some kind—pork or beef or roasted chicken, and on occasion fried chicken. The entrée would generally include mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw and a couple of vegetables I would try to avoid eating. I remember spending what felt like two weeks at the dinner table with cold squash in front of me—I was free to leave the table once I had eaten it. I must have eaten it, because today I am not still at the table, but memories of that cold squash still haunt me. It does not affect my grown up penchant for it though, which is strange.

And we always, always, always had a special dessert – most of the time homemade pie or cake and ice cream. In those days we had dessert at every meal, but some were very simple. Sundays were different—no Jell-O, or pudding, or a little syrup in a bowl with a cookie.

I like the freedom of Sundays today—I like that the whole town does not close down. But I do remember the days when visiting was the thing to do on Sunday afternoon, followed by a wonderful meal, then unfortunately as I got older, homework—because of course, I never did it ahead of time.

What are some of your Sunday memories—are they similar to mine, or did you have a totally different “day of rest”?

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  1. Oh, those big Sunday dinners! I had a lot of similar experiences. My dad was a minister, so of course Sundays were an important day in my family. I still go to church, but I am much less connected than I was when my kids were at home and involved in all the youth activities.
    My spiritual life has evolved, and I am much more active internally, hardly at all externally. But I actually think that’s a good thing. I think it was backward for much of my life.
    I too love the freedom of Sunday. We usually do an afternoon workout at the rec center, or run errands. It’s a quiet day for us. Good memories! ~ Sheila

    • what a lovely way to put it and it descrbies my spiritual life too–it is more active internally than externally
      I think Sundays still give us that “day of rest”feeling in our minds–even if we do not rest–but change up what we do to include things we cannot do during the week

  2. My memories are similar to yours. Sunday was a special day and now it just feels like every other day. I miss the Sundays from my youth, the bigger dinners, the visiting, etc. Things were quiet and relaxed. I still go to church but the day itself, feels different. Great post, LouAnn!

    • Maybe we should bring back the feeling of a “day of rest”–maybe we need it

  3. By the way, in much of Europe, Sunday is closed for business. I really like visiting for that reason.

    • I did not know that — it has to be more relaxing because then you do not have to run your errands

  4. Do you mean “WASP-y” like in the derogatory way about speaking about Italians, or “WASP-y” like in the bug/insect?

    • WASP-y as in “white anglo-saxon protestant”; I think the derogatory Italian term is wop, but I am not sure; and I definitely did not mean a bug or would I use a derogatory term

      • Oh, I never heard that term, interesting; I didn’t think that you would use a derogatory term – that’s why I asked. Thanks for clarifying.

      • and thanks so much for asking :)

  5. We lived parallel lives….. so many great memories…. may I reblog this on my site… it does fit in with all my memories?
    I remember the term wop, as well. but that is what we WASPS called the Italians or gypsies or whomever they were….

    • absolutely reblog it if you like – wop is not a very nice term is it–hopefully we WASPs have grown up- we remember the term, but I am sure none of our generation used it

  6. This was my childhood too. Small town community, church community, visiting days and Sunday dinners. About the only thing I miss about church is the sense of community. Maybe in my later years I will join again, but like you, my views shifted away from it as I got older. We still have company, but Saturdays seem to be the main day for it now.

    Hope the weather is nicer in the west than it is here today. It’s a cold and wet hibernating kinda day.

    • it is cold and wet and windy and we are supposed to get some of the residual effects of Frankenstorm or whatever they are calling it–

      it does not matter what day does it–Saturday night seems to be a nice gathering night–as does Friday night

  7. Your memories are my memories. I still like having family dinners on Sunday, it’s a good way to connect to my kids and grandchild, around the dining room table.

    • It is a wonderful tradition isn’t it? One I hope you will never lose. It is one I need to get back.

  8. Your Sunday memories make me smile my friend, I have grown up with Sundays being a Saturday extension! But my dad tells similar stories of shops being closed and everyone relaxed :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • I like Sundays both ways–today it makes sense to have the stores open — it is a multicultural world

  9. I remember Sunday nights. My grandmother had a TV. I had to go to bed when the theme music for Perry Mason came on, which was right after Bonanza.

  10. Thank you for your “old-time” Sundays stories, LouAnn. You’ve really sparked some memories! I remember my dad making us drive around in the car on Sunday afternoons and how we kids hated it. He would go really slowly and point things out. Now I would cherish every moment with him…

    • I know, we would go for Sunday drives too–but ours usually ended in getting an ice cream cone, so we were happy to go.
      I miss my parents too and wish I had cherished the time I had with them.

  11. I love to do nothing on Sundays. But – it doesn’t always work out like that in today’s world.
    I remember going to church onSundays & enjoying it. As I’ve grown up – my perspective on all that has changed. But – my heart is still filled with faith.

  12. Are you my sister? I kid you not, our Sunday childhoods are almost identical..while I do not attend church now as an adult, I so enjoyed it growing up..
    Great post for today!!

    • that is so neat–sure you can be my little sister–your other sister is Peggy
      I enjoyed it when I was growing up too

      • Awesome :-)

  13. My Sundays were a bit simiiar to yours. My Mother “made me” walk to church and I sat there and listened to a hell, fire, and brimstone, old Methodist preacher. I think that is why I hated church so much. My parents went every now and then. And, yes we had a larger dinner meal on Sunday. We had what my Mother referred to as a living room and no one ever went in there- maybe two times a year. I grew up on a small cotton farm in central Texas and we were poor- my parents scratched that land like mad hatters to pay for it. In addition, I am, much like you . I don’t go to church and have not in many years. I feel I am a believer but that too is sort of like you for my beleif system has changed in many ways, yet I call myself a christian with no church affiliation.

    • we are quite similar – though there was no fire and brimstone at my church – though I remember my mom talking about that kind of ministry at the church she attended as a child (which explains why she did not go to church)
      like you I do not believe you have to go to church to be a christian

  14. What wonderful memories! Thanks for sharing. For as much as I love technology and have a fast-paced job – there are times when it would be nice to slow things down a bit. :)

    • maybe one day a week? :)

      • It seems that every day is overpacked with things to do. But of course that is of my own doing. :)

  15. We must be the same age. When my folks sent us off to Sunday School, we scoured the ditches as we walked searching for empty beer bottles that we could cash in at the corner store for a penny deposit. (Of course we had to wait till Monday to do that because all the stores were closed on Sunday.)

    • how apropos–looking for beer bottles on the way to Sunday School (Hey, what do you think our parents were doing when they bundled us off to SS?)
      I went to a church that uses grape juice for communion and not wine–

  16. Parents did not go much either but I had perfect Sunday school attendance from infant to 18 years old ! Was not fear of God that made me go but wrath of parents. Ain’t been back much since though.

    • wrath of parents is a good reason–I think that is why my big brothers went too

  17. My childhood Sundays were very much like yours!

  18. I used to wonder how people who regularly went to church spent their Sundays. Instead of church, us kids had Chinese school to attend. There was actually a small church across the street from the school and I’d watch in envy as people went in, presumably to do more fun things than me. And judging by your account, looks like I was right about that. ;)

    • now this sounds very interesting and I am showing my ignorance here–but what is Chinese school–sounds intriguing
      Sunday School is fun when you are little, but you do grow out of it–at my church there was SS for everyone from 3 to 103 — I guess it was more bible classes for the olders. I taught SS when I was a teenager–we did a lot of crafts

  19. My memories are the same Lou. The thing I miss most is connecting with family. My kids don’t even know all of their cousins.
    Working in a grocery store I see that Sunday is one of the busiest days of the week. It just doesn’t seem right and don’t get me started on kids standing in line with their parents while they talk on cell phones…..
    I guess I miss the slower pace.
    Thanks for bringing back some good memories for me too.

    • They are good memories aren’t they — my kids are just now meeting some of their cousins, and they are in their twenties–when we were young we knew all of our cousins because of family get-togethers

  20. I always loved Sundays as a child. We would all dress up and go to church and then get a chocolate coated ice cream on the way home (I’m pretty sure this is how my parents coaxed the six of us to church!) We would always have a Sunday roast and I’ve kept this tradition with my children. They know Sunday evening is when we all get together for the roast and they love it! :D

    • We used to get the same chocolate coated ice cream on Sundays!

      Glad you have kept up the tradition — I am going to start putting more effort into it–because it is worthwhile

  21. My Sundays were very much like yours. My grandmother would put a roast in the oven, potatoes on the stove ready to turn on and off to church. I quit going when I was 17 but that’s another story. After church we would go home where my grandfather would make his famous coleslaw, and we usually had a homemade pie for dessert.

    Most stores were closed, but after dinner would would many times take a drive. Out to see leaves in the fall, or lights and displays at Christmas time, summers we would head to the farmer’s stands to buy more produce.

    Later we would either go visiting, or would have company over. We didn’t have a parlor as my grandparents had downsized by then to a small home, but it was always clean and ready for guests too.

    We didn’t have all the channels on the TV we do today so there usually wasn’t anything on worth watching on Sunday but I think it was Sunday night my grandfather would watch Lawrence Welk, TV wasn’t a big part of our lives then.

    • You had some very similar Sundays to mine–some of my aunts had parlours, but we did not either. And we took the same kind of rides (usually with ice cream as an enticement)
      Sunday TV always included Ed Sullivan at our house–I hated watching Lawrence Welk

  22. You have just described my Sundays perfectly, except that my parents did come to church with us. We even had a parlour (although we didn’t call it that, it was just the living room that no one ever went into unless company showed up. As a family, we only hung out in the rec room).

    My mom and I were just lamenting the good ol’ days not too long ago. How nice and peaceful Sundays were without shopping and traffic and errand running. And maybe a visit or visitor or two. (Although, like you, I enjoy the freedom the Sundays of today provide since I’m a working mom with two busy kids and very little time to accomplish errands. Sundays are my saviour.)

    • I know, we long for the old days, but we need the way things are today to cope.

      • So true.

  23. this was a lovely read! A trip right down my WASPY up bringing. I am like you now as well. Do you think we have ruined these traditions for our own children? I am a bit melancholy that things are so much busier now. No more parlour visits and big Sunday dinners. Sure we have our own routines on Sunday but it doesn’t feel the same.
    I think that has more to do with me than with the world though..

    • I need to keep up a few old traditions too – I am like you and have my own traditions, but I could incorporate a few more–but it is a different world

  24. I like this post because it makes me nostalgic for a time I never knew. I didn’t go to church when I was a kid, so Sunday was just “the day after Saturday.” Now, my Sundays are just as crazy and hectic as the rest of my week. I cannot seem to carve out a day of rest–I am not that good at planning ahead! ;)

    • me either – but doesn’t it sound ideal? Church on Sunday kind of gave us an anchor–I still feel a little lost on Sunday morning

  25. I was a 50′s child here in England. My Sundays were just like that. I went to Sunday School and we always had a roast dinner on a Sunday. We also had the living room that wasn’t used except for visitors.
    I still try to do a roast on a Sunday, especially in the Winter but we have it in the evening rather than at lunchtime. It makes Sundays feel different to other days in the week. I would never dream of doing a roast mid week!!

    • My midweek roasts are done in the crock pot–so that does not count. People did eat at mid-day on Sundays, particularly the farm community where I lived. We did not farm, so we had our big meals at night.

  26. You captured my childhood memories very well .. and I miss the serenity of those days … possibly a reason why a enjoy Christmas Eve after the store close.

  27. Yes, Sunday’s were special at our house too! A good meat and potatoes supper, with my most dreaded vegetable — brussel sprouts. And we’d get to watch Walt Disney before supper. I actually miss the days of no-work Sundays. Not for religious, but for social reasons. I think a day of rest for all is a good things. Families, communities, are just to busy, too splintered these days.

    • We are too busy–a day of rest of some kind would do us all good. I will enact legislation dealing with this as soon as I become ruler of the world (I could not do any worse than some of the bozos in charge today).
      Brussel sprouts is something, unlike squash that I still cannot eat. And they are so darn cute.

      • Ha ha! I think you’d make a good ruler of the world! And could you ban brussel sprouts as your first order of business? Thanks!

      • yes, that is a good first order of business! want to be my deputy ruler of the world?

      • Sounds great. My first order of business: coffee and chocolate should run freely from all taps (non-chlorinated, of course!)

      • it is official–you are my deputy!

    • We are too busy–a day of rest of some kind would do us all good. I will enact legislation dealing with this as soon as I become ruler of the world (I could not do any worse than some of the bozos in charge today).
      Brussel sprouts is something, unlike squash that I still cannot eat. And they are so darn cute.

  28. Lou Ann,
    My Sundays were very similar to yours. I even went to a church that looked much like the one in the picture! And pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, mushy green beans and peach cobbler for dessert. You really sparked memories for me. Thank you, Cathy

  29. My memories of Sundays past are very similar to those you described, and you brought back some very warm recollections for me in your post. We went to church and Sunday School every Sunday, although, like you, my Mum never went, just us kids and my Dad. We would visit my Grandma who lived just up the road from our church and we would get there just in time for her to be starting her weekly baking session. learned all of my baking skills from her at those times and she not only taught me her favourite recipes but the shortcuts and the rescue methods when it went wrong as well!

    We would head home for a “breakfast” of bacon and egg, sometimes on sandwiches and other times on a plate with fried bread and tomatoes, and we would have a roast dinner at tea time. We usually had a chicken but every now and again – when budget allowed – we would have a treat of a bit of roast beef or a leg of lamb. We always had potatoes and veggies with gallons of gravy, and like you, I had to sit at the table until I’d at least *tried* to cram down that horrid green stuff as best I could!

    Happy days :-)

    • a lovely trip down memory lane — nice to learn from your grandma! We never had lamb, becasue when my mom was little, her pet lamb was served for dinner and she never served lamb after that.

  30. Thank you for inviting us on your walk down memory lane and for opening a path to my own memory lane. I can still smell the Sunday roast cooking as I would wake up – my day loved to cook and he would cook Sunday dinners and always be dressed in gray pants and a white shirt with a chef’s apron covering his clothes. We would watch Abbott and Costello, Little Rascals, and the Road Runner in the morning and listening to dads Big Band music or playing outside. Dad was a Godly man, just not a church goer so our Sundays would be set aside to honor God in our home. Now after years of rushing to church on Sundays, finishing up household tasks and cooking large meals, we set the day aside for true worship of God, coming home from church to a relaxed afternoon as each of us honor God in our own way and in everything we do from hobbies to cleaning house. It is no surprise then that Monday morning we are ready to face the week. I can now appreciate the Sunday pace my parents set before us. What lovely memories everyone has and I like it that we all mention food!

    • I love your memories–past and present. I remember when I was a kid we were sent outside to play and we had to go–I tried doing that with my boys and they thought I was crazy

      • LOL Kids today!! Mom never had to send me out – daybreak I was gone till dinner! Now my sister on the other hand… :) But I did send my kids out to play on many occasions.

  31. Oh wow. What a great post! Sundays “back in the day” were really special. It looks like it was that way for lots of people here! I remember heading out to the country around 11:00 on Sundays to eat a much-too-big-and-delicious lunch at my grandparents’ house. They grew various beans and squash, and they lived next to a couple who grew tomatoes and corn. There was always a roaring fire whenever it was cold. People would play football in their gigantic front yard, or bridge or spades in the living room, or Clue or Pictionary in the kitchen. Somebody would always make homemade peach ice cream with local peaches.

    On extra-special days, we’d go to a seafood restaurant that was run by a wonderful family from Greece. Even if 15 or 20 of us were there, they knew us all by name.

    Sometimes we did just have a quiet day of rest, too. But no matter what we did, it was wonderful.

    • You have the best memories – thanks so much for sharing them–good food and fun and games – sounds wonderful–

  32. Beautiful post! I don’t have a memory of a town that closed down but I often find myself wondering what it would be like to live in a place that did take a breather every now and again. I can’t help but wonder what it’s like for store clerks, gas station attendants, and grocery store cashiers in this 24/7 world we live in. I’m a firm believer that we should all get time off to go visit our families (at the same time!) even if it means forsaking some minor conveniences.

    • I agree with you totally — it is hard when the whole family cannot get together because of work

  33. While I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood, I do know from it being recounted over the years and some faint memories of Sundays and going to church .. my mother cleaning our shoes and my hair being put in cloth for ringlets and roast beef with mashed potatoes or yes and apple pie…and most of us…or at least many of my 9 siblings being there…We may not have had a lot of money but we had Sunday dinners…Diane

    • it was a tradition when we were kids – that famous roast beef dinner–when I was a kid we got to choose our birthday suppers and mine was always roast beef with mashed potatoes and lots and lots of gravy–I used to end the meal with a piece of white bread covered in gravy


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