The holiday season always makes me nostalgic. I find myself yearning for the traditions of my childhood where I grew up in Buffalo, NY. I miss going to church and hearing the mass in Latin. My relatives on my dad's side were Polish, and the schools I attended were run by the Felician nuns who were also mostly Polish. We learned to say good morning, good day, and God bless you in Polish. We would gather together in church in the evenings for novenas to the Blessed Mother and sing the Polish songs to honor her. During Christmas we sang Polish Christmas Carols. I loved going to midnight mass and listening to the gospel that told the story that seem so miraculous and wonderful to me when I was a child. The choir that sang the sweet Polish lullaby every year without fail sounded so beautiful to me. The manger in the church would be empty until midnight when the baby was lovingly placed there. I loved the smell of the incense and all of the ritual that went along with it. I sometimes feel sad that my children missed out on the old traditions that are part of their ethnicity. I do try to tell them what it was like, but the richness of experience is not there. The areas where I grew up were drenched in ethnic culture that was celebrated by making kluski noodles from scratch to the babka's you could order from the bakeries. But now we live far from the home of my childhood, and the world and everything in it has changed. Priorities are different, and everything is automated and computerized. There is a definite advantage in having the information of the world right at our fingertips, but I sometimes long for the time when life was a little slower, when families did more things together, and when traditions like going to midnight mass were followed because they made you safe and secure and warm in the love of your family.
where we had "lawn fetes" in the summer. I went to school here until I was in the 6th grade when my family moved to another part of Buffalo when my mom, despite being hampered by language and having five children, somehow managed to save enough money to buy a home of our own! Until that time, we had lived in the back part of a duplex owned by my grandfather and then my aunt after his death.