Back in Cincinnati, where I was born and grew up, it was in the autumn that all of the
Catholic Churches held festivals and we would make noble attempts
To attend all of them, even if we didn’t have any money to spend.
At St. Leo’s festival, there would be a fried chicken dinner
Served in the church basement, which also doubled as the
School cafeteria and, on occasion,
Where suitable films such as one about Our Lady of Fatima
Were played for all the students.
But getting back to the fried chicken dinners,
I think a meal was about 25 or 50 cents and
if you were in the 7th or 8th grade, girls could
wait on the tables, fetching more bread or salt and pepper.
Sometimes you might get a small tip for performing these services.
I think only those of us from the poorer families were willing to
Be waitresses for a day.
Whenever I won any prizes at any of the booths,
I would try to select something that
my mother would like, perhaps a small vase
Or set of measuring spoons.
If you had a little money you might want to get some cotton candy
Which was my favorite.
Members of the church manned the booths and it was a strange
Sight to see, someone’s father beckoning passersby to try a
Wheel of Chance.
Stranger still would be to see Father Lauber or one of the sisters
Walking around looking at everything at the festival.
You just didn’t expect to see a priest or a nun like Sister Josetta walking
Around a festival, even if it were on Church grounds.
Like wondering if nuns had hair under their habits
Or ever used the bathroom.
Priests and nuns didn’t seem to belong at the Church Festival when I was a child
growing up in Cincinnati.
–Sandra Lee Smith Posted 10/24/09 updated 5/13/18