Sunday 15 May 2011

Crowning Our Lady's statue

is happening today between the morning Masses.

In 1978, clad in my First Holy Communion dress which had already seen wear as my aunt's wedding dress and at my cousins' FHCs and must have Clark's white sandals that we all had, for in 1978, you had one pair of shoes per season, by a twist of fate that meant another girl couldn't make it, I was the one crowning the statue.

It was a bit different because it was part of an afternoon procession. The girl doing the crowning had what was essentially a blue velvet train to wear, with 6 other girls holding it down the side and a little boy had the crown on a velvet pillow. I seem to remember the statue as being plaster, so maybe it was from the school. It was on a bier anyway and the crown was quite small, wire with flowers entwined around it.

Typically, my memory is of the need to get it right, so I have to say that I was not even faintly excited about the train, the attendants or where I was in the procession. Sadly, this was probably because my memory of my First Holy Communion is of my parents being shouted at in front of me, my brother, (the other one wasn't born yet,)my aunt (godmother), one of my cousins and Grandma because we hadn't arrived at the school for the photo at the right time, by my teacher. (Teachers, when we get it wrong...) This was a mistake on my parents part because they just never ever put people out deliberately. I just remember my entire family standing rooted to the spot; answering back any authority figures being utterly unthinkable and what example would that give to the children etc. The fact that I was late sub for the crowning was probably the school trying to right this, though it's only recently that I put the events together. The two events both happened in May '78 for sure and the FHC was before the May procession.

Anyway, you had to ascend a step ladder and I was told not to worry because if I fell, Fr Koch would catch me. I remember looking down at the practice and deciding that he looked quite old (he died 2 years later,) and that he probably wouldn't be able to catch me, so I wasn't going to trip. It probably wasn't that high, but it was above the heads of adults, so 8' above the ground?

In true OLR Primary School fashion, for this may have been the trendy 70s but it was still the 1950s there, the crowning had to happen at, 'Oh Mary, we crown thee with blossom today...' played of course on the organ by Brenda, who is now in hospital.

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