Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Slate Roof


While writing about the lunch room at the Catholic school I attended, I was reminded about the old church that was situated across the driveway from the school. This was an old church by American standards. It was built in 1912 and my father was the first child baptized in that church when it first opened its doors. Though there were three children baptized there at the same time he always laid claim that he was the first. It no longer matters because he is now gone and so is the church.

This church at one time had four classrooms attached to the back end but became disused when the new school was built in 1959. I always wanted to have classes in the old classrooms because there was definitely an old school feel to it. It was hand crafted as opposed to the block and mortar rooms of the new school.

The church wasn’t too large, but it was as drafty as a barn. It had a slate roof where if anything such as a baseball flew up there while we were playing at recess, chunks of razor sharp slate would fall to the ground slicing any unsuspecting squirrel in half. (Not that that ever happened. I just want to make sure Trop is paying attention.)

This church was actually pretty morbid, and a place most sane parents would never allow their children to enter these days. There were depictions in relief of the stations of the cross between every window with scenes of torture and murder. There were stained glass windows that showed more torture and martyrdom. Then in the front of the church there were more statues with bloodied figures wearing crowns of thorns and blood oozing from the hands and feet and where the lances struck the body. Now that I think of it going to church was like going to a horror show. That’s how they took control of children’s minds; they fill you with fear and then you belong to them. It’s a wonder I never turned into a sadist. Here I was trying to write about old style craftsmanship and now I’m all pissed off and bitter about what the church as done for generations.

Anyway, the church was still standing when I left the East Coast, but it has since been torn down and replaced by this big round building. You know the kind where people sit like they are in Theater of the Round. All the Latin songs and chants are gone and replaced probably by some kind of Kumbaya guitar mass crap. If I weren’t an Atheist now I’d probably be real bitter about it all.

I guess my point is that if you see an old building that means something to you, take it in. Photograph it if you can because before you know it will be gone either by way of progress, fire, disaster or a heavy snow fall. It won’t be long before you forget the finer details.

9 Comments:

Blogger Donna said...

Yeah, like the old Zion Church of Christ down the road from where Grandma lived. I have a picture or two of it, but none I'm happy with, and it's long gone.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

You have such a way with words - "Kumbaya guitar mass crap."
Makes me smile.

5:05 AM  
Blogger MissKris said...

"Recovering Catholic ear"?? Now, that intrigues me, Guy! Came over this morning to catch up and sure enjoyed my mosey down your page. I think slate roofs - rooves? - are beautiful. Can't say the same for asbestos siding...my childhood home was covered in it and it was the ugliest stuff ever invented, I'm thinkin'.

5:27 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

I've been in a couple of very old catholic churches and they always gave me the willies. One of the reasons I turned away at a young age and found my own path. A melange philosophy without so much blood and gore. All those saints with their bits gouged out and looking happy about it. Ack! If I could travel back in time there would be portraits of many many famous church people with huge red handprints on their faces where I slapped the hell out of them.

On the plus side, I really do enjoy old handmade architecture. The stuff that was made with hands and hammers as opposed to being pooped out by the dozens by machines.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sermon this morning will be "Jesus walks on water". The sermon tonight will be "Searching for Jesus".

Moose

8:57 AM  
Blogger g said...

I missed out on a good picture. Out here in Brownsmead on Aldrich Point Road, there is an old homestead and associated old barn. the barn fell over a few years ago and the house is slowly being devoured by the earth. 3 years ago, both of these structures would have made frame worth pictures.

i stumbled and took it for granted and now regret it.

7:10 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna and g, Sadly I had all my favorite photos of certain portions of my life that were all destroyed. Imagine the heartbreak.

Beth, that is what happened, I sear. I remember the nuns teaching us that song, and I was the only one in class that could play the guitar, so...

Kris, I know you've been busy. I have a new IP address you you may not realize I'm still reading you.

Darev, Machine poop structures. Now there is a post.

Always a good word from Moose. I love that guy.

5:28 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Guy, I know how you feel. When we were moving here from FL we were behind the van carrying our stuff when it got hit by a drunk driver in N. Carolina, jacknifed, and flipped into a trench on its top. Then, as soon as the two guys had crawled out it caught fire. Being 20 miles or so from the closest town, it was a smoldering heap when the fire fellas got to us. Bye, bye photos.

When they tore down an old building near us I bought a buncha slate from the roof & red bricks from the sides and used them in our back yard for foot paths in the garden area.

10:50 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Mike, So sad!

5:33 AM  

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