Yes indeed, Lent was a big deal for Catholics back in the 1950s and 1960s (and remains so for many today). There was a regime for fasting and abstinence throughout Lent. On Fridays you could not eat meat. Period. Nobody did! and I vividly remember when Gary Czyzynski broke this rule around 1964 at the McDonald's across from Villa Angela Academy and Euclid Beach. Gary ate a hamburger (15 cents was the price back then) and for that 15 cent hamburger, I thought that Gary was going to burn in hell. Also, adults had to eat small meals and abstain from eating between meals. Children normally gave up something for Lent, like candy. Another thing that we did was attending lots of church services, from the Stations of the Cross, to Benediction services, to the incredible Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. Good Friday was flat-out scary! My recollection is that there was no music, and all statues were covered with purple cloth. I even remember that instead of ringing bells at certain times in the mass, they used wooden clappers (called a crotalus). That's how I remember it; I wish I knew if these memories were accurate. Lent was a big frickin' deal back then!
|Clapper ("crotalus") used on Holy Thursday|