The two paragraphs below accompanied the photo above in a Holy Trinity church bulletin from the early sixties.
“An alter boy’s performance is not all glamour. Parading before the congregation is only part of it. These fellows, thanks most often to diligent parents, get up at (and sometimes before) the crack of dawn and are “in uniform” before 6:45.
Most of them like to receive Holy Communion when they serve. This presents a breakfast problem which they solve very well. After Mass we find them huddled (these mornings) around the new alter-boy-sacristy gas heater enjoying their own chow. In the photo below we see, left to right, Paul Dodd, Andrew Finn and Richard Switzer fueling up.”
Some people may not know that in order to receive Holy Communion back in the day you had to fast from food for three hours before receiving, an heroic sacrifice for growing kids and reason many in my skinny family fainted during the service. The nuns in the convent next door made the hosts and they would stock the shelves of the priest’s sacristy. If we were there before the priest had crawled out of bed we would dig into the bags of hosts (unconsecrated, of course) and swallow them by the handful. As you can tell from the photo, we had a good time. Our main objective became cracking the other alter boy up during Mass. Things like pronouncing the Latin responses so badly that that we would laugh uncontrollably.
Rick Switzer, on the right, lived in Union Hill and his family had a trampoline built into the ground in their yard. Rick sat in front of me. His mom packed a lunch with a macaroon cookie in it everyday. Rick didn’t like macaroons so he would give it to me, often before lunch time even rolled around. We spent a lot of time carving our erasers into tiny bulldozers and street sweeping vehicles. We’d push them across the desk collecting the eraser filings and running them out the side of the vehicles. Andy Finn lived in an old farmhouse. They had a big barn and field big enough to play baseball in. His father owned the Texaco gas station in the center of town and his family rented a cottage on the lake down near Hedges Nine Mile Point. The old folks sat around drinking beer while Andy and I caught carp, big, sluggish fish that lingered close to the shore. He now resides in Finn Land.