My Mother’s Prayer Book

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The last days of an Alaskan vacation ended in Sitka. On a Saturday I visited St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral as a  tourist, but one familiar with the history and traditions of Orthodoxy. Sunday I stood with others during the two hour liturgy. Childhood memories unfolded among the icons, incense, candles, and choir voices. I remembered the words. I knew the drill.

In the Cathedral, I began to think about my mother’s prayer book – again. The question I have often asked myself, who might want Our Daily Bread? The first edition book with 655 delicate pages, published in 1938, belongs in a special place. Certainly not on an eBay auction block. Through the digital world I reached a priest at St. Michael’s. Ana Dittmar, the Cathedral’s heritage museum curator became my go-to person. Although the prayer book is not related to the history of the Cathedral, Ana accepts ” . . . Orthodox items that are of sentimental significance . . .  .”

About the prayer book – The book begins with 49 pages of morning and other prayers, followed by the Divine Liturgy. Evening prayers, prayers and devotions before and after Confession and Holy Communion come next. Psalms. Prayers for special intentions. Prayers and liturgies for the dying and the dead. Child’s manual of prayer. Fast days. Pages on the left were printed in church Slavonic. Pages on the right were printed in English. Ten years ago a Tucson bookbinder repaired and restored the cover.

Mary Lissik Lulic never traveled beyond Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. What a joy to know that her prayer book found a home at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka.

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Memories of First Grade

How many of us remember our First Grade? Luckily, I have newspaper clippings, report cards, and letters. I decided to post a photo and text from the Winfield Park (NJ) annual school report. The school is gone. Destroyed in a fire years ago.  Where am I in the photo? I’m in the second row from the top – bows and braids atop my head. I’m standing next to Carol Simon. The cute kid behind me is Robert Peters. Marie Lupo is in front of me. I loved school and, amazingly, I remember the names of so many kids.

FirstGrade.Best

Miss Beck

How exciting First Grade has been. At first we studied about the dairy farm. We made a large frieze with cows, chickens, ducks, and other farm animals. One day we visited the Walker-Gordon farm. We saw real baby calves and big cows. Miss Pietrowski and Mrs. Lulic ( Mary, my mother) took pictures of us at the farm.

We enjoyed very nice parties at Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Miss Holton helped us make Jell-O for one of our parties.

Playing in our grocery store was fun, too! Our own churned butter made a big hit and was pictured in the Newark News. We had real cans, all kinds of groceries, a register for money, and a telephone in our store. Each day two children were storekeepers.

In March we studied about the wind and airplanes. Our kites and windmills were very gay. In April, we took a trip to the Newark Airport. It was thrilling to see the big airplanes land and take off.

Spring came and we studied about the circus and the zoo. Our frieze of lions, monkeys, tigers, and giraffes made our room look like a real zoo.

Our best trip was to the Bronx Zoo. We talked about this trip for days and days. Then along came the great day for our May Festival. Will you ever forget our Tom Thumb Wedding with Miss Pietrowski’s First Grade?

It’s been lots of fun this year! We hope that Second Grade will be just as exciting next September.

Miss Pietrowski

This was the very first year we attended school both in the morning and in the afternoon. This was the first year we became such good actors and actresses. Just read on and you shall see what many different roles we played.

First of all, we were farmers who took good care of their farm animals. And since we like farms so much we went all the way down to the Walker and Gordon Milk Farm to see the cows and calves as well as the Rotolactor machine.

Next we were Indians who lived in wigwams and beat upon tom-toms. We made feather headdresses and painted our faces for our program.

Right before Christmas we decided to stop acting for awhile and be as good as we could –for Santa Claus was coming.

Santa was very good to us and so we decided to resume our acting. This time we were Eskimos who made igloos and loved the Northern Lights.

Last of all we were animal keepers at the zoo. We got to know all these strange animals quite well, especially when we visited the Bronx Zoo.

For the May Festival we helped Miss Beck’s first grade with a Tom Thumb Wedding but no one really got married.

Actors and actresses must be kept busy. We learned to read, to write, to count, and to work together cooperatively.

We are really very good at our play-acting and since school must go on, we are ready now for Second Grade.