St. Patrick’s day transports me back in time – half a lifetime ago or so – to my parochial school days.
St. Patrick’s Day was popular because we were permitted to swap tie-and-sweater dress code for wild green Irish-inspired costumes.
I attended a Catholic day school, but I wasn’t Catholic. St. John’s was understood to be the most academically rigorous option within driving distance (+/-1 hour) of our rural home, and that struck my parents as about right for a son who didn’t voluntarily take to reading and arithmetic. A memoir’s worth of memories are bundled up in that school though the building’s long gone, torn down to make way for college housing.
St. Patrick’s Day was a big event at our school. Many of my classmates were from Irish families, and the school’s cultural bent was Irish, from the school mascot, a shamrock, to the enthusiastic celebration each St. Patrick’s Day. Not only was I not Catholic, I also was not Irish. But I learned lots about both between the third and eight grade.
St. Patrick’s Day was popular with students because we were permitted to swap tie-and-sweater dress code for wild green Irish-inspired costumes. Release from dress code was quite a treat, but that wasn’t the only treat. We were released from classes for much of the day to march and sing in a parade that wound through much of the downtown area before finishing at our cathedral for mass.
For a couple of weeks before St. Patrick’s Day music class shifted to practicing songs to sing during the parade. By far my favorite was “Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?” which was written by George L. Giefer in 1898 and recorded by Bing Crosby in 1956. The video below is Bing’s version. Sadly ours was never recorded. ;-\