Green and snow.

When I was little, I thought all the cool kids were Catholic. (They were.) And I wanted to be just like them. This made fourth grade history lessons hard for me; I could never grasp, at the age of nine, why people had hated JFK for being Catholic, or why his election as a Catholic was historically important to the U.S. Did people not know what I knew?  St. Mary’s playground was the most fun. Why would anyone not like someone for being Catholic? Clearly, they didn’t run in my circles.

Most of my friends (plus a lot of the cooler kids I wanted to be friends with) had their CCD class on Monday afternoons. After school got out, I’d go and walk with them to the church playground, and then hang out with them for an hour before Bible-class started; we’d do crazy stuff, like eat Crunch bars and play freeze-tag. The priest would call them in for their lesson around four p.m., which was always a sad moment for me. I’d be left to sit alone on the swing-set, licking chocolate from my dirty fingers and wishing I wasn’t such a WASP. Eventually, I’d walk home alone with my fifty-pound back-pack dragging on the sidewalk behind me, passing the rest of the night reading the Baby-Sitter’s Club. Anyhow…

I’ve clearly always liked Catholic Churches. And St. Leonard’s on Hanover is no exception. (First Roman Catholic Church built by Italian Immigrants in New England!) Not that I’ve actually been in it, but I like to walk by it most days. I like to walk in the “peace garden”, especially in this nasty weather. But my favorite thing about the courtyard is its bright-green ivy painted wall. Amid the piles of grey-snow covered in cigarettes and styrofoam coffee cups, and everyone on the street looking like they want to die, this huge wall seems to have come from another universe, and I love how it just sits there in the middle of the North End, looking like the jungle back-ground of a movie set. I mean, it is so incredibly, shockingly, ugly that it’s passed into the realm of being somehow quite gorgeous to me, and on these gross February days, its huge bolt of trippy green color puts a smile on my face. I want my entire apartment to look like that wall sometimes—very Fern Gully/Avatar. (Green’s a great color, right? You realize that more in winter.) I took these pictures when it was so incredibly cold out yesterday, the kind of cold that you can feel piercing through the tiny holes in your jeans the moment you walk out the door. Too cold for anyone’s good. But I was really taken by these praying saints in the snow, and had to hang around them for a bit, and take their picture. They looked so…dedicated, completely submerged in that snow. I’m a weirdo, but I just loved the whole thing.


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Filed under childhood story, photos, the north end

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