~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ FORCED TO THE ALTAR ~ ~ ~



 Peronal Memoir- A  Bit of Humor

 (c)   Cal   2002


I guess one might think Ralph Cramden intended to coin the phrases, “To the moon Alice” and “It was a riot, a real riot,” for a reason: To get his message across. Not a mystery or magic, not fiction but fact, the point of his matter was indeed, well received.

To this day, my memories of being FORCED TO THE ALTAR, (some memorable, others objectionable), in my own estimation and interpretation were truly, “a riot, a real riot!”

I guess one might believe, in an objective sense, being FORCED TO THE ALTAR in those days, really wasn’t so bad! Myself now 52, and still single- while relentlessly searching for and choosing my way down life’s paths- now and then reminisce about those fervent times, surfacing from the sound of bells ringing from the steeple on the roof of the old church down the street.

Sometimes, I still look back and think about those solemn hours: Supremely dignified, musically HOLY, a bit show bizzy, reverently costumey, stiff-collared, tight-shoed; occasionally distracted by looks of admiration emanating from the eyes of young girls kneeling in front pews smiling gleefully.

It is my opinion one might wonder, “What has all of this to do with Ralph Cramden?” Well, one could suggest that, those short Latin phrases, some now abandoned, others still saved, projected aloud at the sides of Catholic clergy- dialect memorized, barely comprehended, if at all understood- did have an effect on a host of boys, pardoned from their civil lives of undisciplined mischievous ways.

Their diligent mothers whose dreams and vision prioritized this prerequisite, to complete their self gratifying crusade: To mold and form these prodigies to kneel and pray along side their priests at mass; look and be HOLY; somehow be saved; hollered at if they didn’t and ultimately, hopefully, someday, become priests.

Today, in retrospect, even though many years have past, I still cherish those memories experienced during my boyhood years, growing up in the fifties. I guess one might speculate, or tend to question my reason for trying to-coin the phrase, FORCED TO THE ALTAR, and what all of this has to do with Ralph Cramden?

Well Ralph, God bless me as I reverently jest. My purpose is not to create mystery, magic or fiction: Just fact!

While looking back at those joyous, intimate, slightly sensitive, wondrous, yet adventurous days of my youth spent as an altar boy, one might agree it safe to imply that, the point of my matter was well received; finding it is O.K. to suggest that:

“It was a riot Ralph, a real riot!”




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