“Where Were You?”

where-mdWe may not always know who we are but we are error-free when is comes to knowing where we were when…

When what? Well, it’s when that happened. The “thats” are the significant events and times in our lives and the lives of others.

Kennedy assassination? Easy, sixth grade. We’d just finished the rosary after lunch and recess when Sister-Principal announces on the classroom speakers (We called her “Sister PA”) the tragic news. My sixth-grade teacher, Sister Mary Thomas had us kneel for another five of those decades to pray for the repose of our first Catholic president. (I wonder if we’d done the second time thing for a Protestant!)

Lee Harvey Oswald? Easy, also. It was late Sunday morning watching TV alone and hearing the gunshot in a tunnel transporting him to another location.

Johnny Carson’s farewell show? Cinch. I’m at a friend’s house in Illinois and he misses all the fanfare for that “old guy.” I got to hear Bette Midler sing her song to him as he wiped his eye toward the end. (Real tear of not doesn’t matter, it’s good television finishing thirty years.)

My ordination? I guess that’s not fair. Anyone in my shoes would remember everything about it. But still, it was Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and everyone’s waiting for my mother to appear. Prior to this, she decides to go for a walk with a priest-friend but we still started pretty close to the time in spite of a quizzical look from the retired bishop.

All my siblings weddings? Got it covered. I can even recall songs, food and beverages. The eldest sister’s choice was Pina Colada’s prepared in our home garage by my brother-in-law. (It was a marriage on the cheap, but still fun.) “Et Us Tu” was beautifully sung at their wedding.

I’m told that women are better at details…

I’m told that women are better at details of these “Where” events remembering colors worn, type of weather and even the shoes of others. (“She wore ‘those’ shoes to a wedding?”)

Both parent’s deaths? Exactly what you’d expect from their son. Both are engraved and never to be challenged for its details or feelings. (Even if some details may be slightly off.)

I remember my eighth-grade slap from Bishop Stanilaus V. Bono while being confirmed as a Catholic (to show being “a solider for Christ”) and serving morning grade school Masses with the priest who always smelled like strawberry jam.

1960’s songs conjure up memories with friends, locations and situations. “Atlantis,” by Donovan was playing on the driver’s radio when a friend and I hitchicked forty miles from the seminary to Appleton, WI for no apparent reason, only to prove that we could, indeed, do it.

Prince’s death and Bill O’Reilly’s dismissal both happened on vacations. The first was shock and the second was pure joy.

There’s more but you get the picture. Summon up your own “Wheres” and recollect what you can to recreate a specific time, in a particular place that partly shapes who you think you are.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.
Available at Amazon.com:
“Soulful Muse,” reflections on the Catholic Church and American culture
“Living Faith’s Mysteries,” reflection on the Christian seasons of
Advent, Christmas/Lent, Easter
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,” reflections on the Catholic Church and American culture

The newest book is “Letters From My Cats,” a collection of writings from my cats’ perspectives

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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