Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Being Pinned

So many things about my childhood and church evoke the warmest of memories.  If I were to give you links to other things I’ve written about from my childhood and church, they would probably fill this page.  If I were to write about everything, it would fill a book.  The task today is to pick one.  Now if you saw my blog on Sounds of Hope yesterday about personality inventories, you can surmise that picking one takes excruciating analysisJ!

Sunday School Parade-I'm on the far
left, the first one in the second row.
I could write about the orchestra and playing the Melodica - I played it long before Casey on this season's American Idol.  I could write again about Christmas pieces, Sunday School programs, Released Time, being a Sunbeam at the Salvation Army, or a Pioneer Girl at the 59th Street Lutheran Church.  I could write about the magnificent sounds of the choir.  I could tell you about trips to the Lower East Side of Manhattan to tell the “poor” children about Jesus.  Little did I know that we were just as poor, we just didn’t live in a tenement. 

I could tell you about Sunday School parades where I pushed my doll carriage, or proudly carried a Bible, or road my tricycle behind women pushing decorated baby carriages.  Or I could tell you about sitting on a small folding chair on the toddler float while men pulled us down 4th Avenue.

Sunday School Parade
Toddler Float (no that's
not me)
I could tell you about Sunday School picnics at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  For us it meant an early ride on the city bus with our food.  Soon those with cars would arrive with ice cream packed in "hot" ice.  A morning game of paper plate Frisbee was followed by an afternoon of egg on the spoon and the annual drenching of the Sunday School teachers as they tossed water balloons until they broke.

I could write about Camp.  Oh how wonderful to pack for Camp Challenge our own church's camp.  And of course I met Jesus on the Island at Jack Wyrtzen’s Word of Life Camp.  I even found Jesus at Camp Ashford, the Salvation Army camp in Connecticut.  I still remember the scratchy Army blanket they gave us for the bed that had to be made to perfection for morning inspection.  Yes I could write a book about my unusual church childhood. If you want to see some pictures from the golden days of this church you can here.

But no, today I am going to write about Sunday School jewelry.  Yes, you got that right.  There is such a thing as Sunday School jewelry.  I suppose it’s purpose was not adornment.  After all, many Pentecostal’s did not wear jewelry.  Fortunately, we were not that kind of Pentecostal.  I must have gotten my first pin before I was a year old.  My mother taught the cradle roll class.  As soon as she thought it feasible, she would bring me to the church prayer room where the class met.  With the other mushy brained children, our brains were being conditioned to love Jesus.  The original cross and crown pin was given to me when I became a member of the Sunday School.  I don’t know if my mother pinned it to my baby clothes, but I do know, it was a kept in safe keeping for me.

My collection of SS pins
There are 2 Lutheran, 2
Methodist, 1 Pentecostal.
One Methodist has the star,
the other the cross and crown
After the cross and crown pin was awarded, for the first year of attendance, you got a wreath to go around your cross and crown pin.  Each year a bar was added.  By the time I was old enough to understand, my pin had four or five bars.  I remember wearing it almost every Sunday.  As the wooden folding doors opened and the wooden partitions taken down, a sea of adults emerged.  Big fur collared coats, with stylish hats, carrying big Bibles, the women made their entrance adorned with the testimony of their faithfulness.  Their Pentecostal cross and crown Sunday School pins started at their shoulders and went to their waist.  They had been in Sunday School for 35, 40, 45 years.  Men’s suits spoke the same message. 

My pin never went past eleven years.  The church stopped giving them out in favor of a simple Sunday School pin with no bars.  Later we left that church and eventually Sunday School pins went the way of hats and furred collars. 

I have a small collection of Pentecostal memorabilia.  My Sunday School pin was long gone.  I remember it’s honored place in my teenage jewelry box.  It’s honor was shared with the Sunbeam Commissioners Medal I had received as a child.  I wanted to hold in my hand a Sunday School pin once again.  I found some on Ebay and bought them.  I could have bought a new one, but I wanted an old one.  I wanted one that said someone was learning faithfulness in Sunday School. 

I don’t go to Sunday School anymore.  I haven’t gone for years and years.  Nevertheless I thank God for faithful people who taught me well.  Did you ever wear a Sunday School pin?  If so, what kind?


StephanieeRuth said...

I have had several good experience from Sunday School at well...some of my richest experiences with Jesus and the simplicity of His love and presence. Many memories are definitely a gift from God. :)

David-FireAndGrace said...

Wow, so rich you heritage! Thanks.

Unknown said...
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Liz Kay said...

[Note: My son (Ed) was signed in on my PC so when I posted a comment, it appeared to have come from him - so I deleted it.]

Soo... what I was meaning to post was that I too had a SS pin from Salem. I think it had about 4 bars on it. I remember feeling so proud when I got my annual "pinning" or receiving an additional bar. Wish I knew where that pin was today.

Joyce Lighari said...

Liz, your mother might have it - Mother's are good like that :-) We moved too much otherwise mine might have stayed intact.

David - yes, I have memories and the good thing is, I still remember them ;)

Russ Braaten said...

My mother, Ruth Svendsen nee Sandbo, grew up in Salem and got a pin for never missing a day of Sunday School EVER!

I remember being in the Sunday School Parade on my tricycle and Cliffie Wahlberg kept intentionally runnng his tricycle into my tricycle.

Joyce Lighari said...

I remember young Clifford :-). Those were the days!
For those of you who never had these experiences, see? I didn't make them up - there are more of us out there.

Tracy said...

I'm smiling as I read this because it's so fun. What a blessing to have gone to church all those years - I know I'm sure grateful to have been brought up in the church. Gotta tell you though that I find the phrase "mushy brained children" an interesting one!