Thursday, May 5, 2011

Get With the Program

"Wasn't Grandma and Grandpa's church program printed on pre-printed paper? They just had to add the information inside?" my son asked while we waited for the service to begin.

The programs we held were printed at the church. All pages personalized for the church making the most of the papers handed to the members of the congregation. I hadn't realized until that moment how church programs had changed over time.

The church program was sometimes the only thing to entertain a little girl sitting on the pew between her parents. Mom's purse was usually full of fun little toys, but often she had no paper. There was no children's Sunday school during church. No, we all sat there until the service was over then went to our classes. During that church time, the program was decorated with games of tic-tac-toe, dots and squares, hangman, pictures of animals. Church was where I learned to fold a program to make a hat or a boat. The program was the tool to keep a little girl quiet in the most delightful ways.

In my treasures from the past, I found an old church program from 1939. In it are two generations of my family. In it are the names, the roots, of those who would grow up in the church with me. A history in a piece of paper that usually was just tossed aside.

I wonder why my mother kept this program. Maybe it was a new type of programs printed for the first time. Personally, I think it might have been saved for the names written on the front of the program written by my mother's hand.

I love the lighthearted back page of the program. The scribbles would have been by my oldest sister's hand. I wonder if my mother, on that Sunday in September, realized she was most likely pregnant with her next daughter.

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