Whether or not you help a parent get started writing on an iPad, when you encourage writing activities you often get the opportunity to read wonderful stories like the memory below. I had never heard about this event before Dad composed his short essay. Dad writes on his iPad at least every other day and sometimes more often. What makes it especially lovely for me is that I can picture the playground and the old parsonage because I also played there in the snow many years later.
Washington’s Birthday Long Ago — My Dad’s Memory
I suppose I can begin a story with “In the Old Days.”
One Washington’s Birthday, we had a record snowstorm in Belleville, New Jersey, and trudging one’s way to the church’s playground, adjacent to the Parsonage, required boots. I had them on and ear muffs too. So did my friends Nickie, and Benny, and Mario.
We rolled up huge balls of snow on our Church playground and were in the process of building a snow man six feet high when Cal turned up. Cal was a grown up and a painter by trade. He was well-known at the church for anything that needed a coat of paint, but he also had drawing skills and entertained us many times with interesting sketches of the characters of the Bible – David for example, John for another, and the popularized head of Christ. We were all impressed by his skill.
Out came Cal, and he began to reshape the mounting pile of snow. We caught on immediately. He was shaping a bust of George Washington — eyes, nose, cheeks, neck, shoulders, and even that strange tri-cornered cap. The finished masterpiece attracted a number of persons who chanced the chill and watched from behind the fence that enclosed the playground. We all marvelled — it looked just like a picture book Washington.
Of all things a reporter from the popular “Newark Evening News” heard about our George Washington snow person and arrived to take pictures – with Cal and us kids. It turned out that my dad, the Rev. Benedetto Pascale, then the minister at Silver Lake, had phoned the News. Though a photo was not included in the following day’s edition, a brief news sketch was.
This was before the era of high-fives, but we shook hands all around, reading the teeny news item more than once, and we toasted one another with hot chocolate provided by my mother in the warm parsonage kitchen. We also received lots of phone calls and stood up — to applause — at morning worship that following Sunday.
I remember it so clearly. It could have been 1932.