Before we got to eat bagel and lox on Sundays, we had to go to Sunday school. Given my choice between medieval torture and Sunday school…I’m really not certain what I would choose. The whole thing was just a nightmare. For a kid who was car sick all the time, climbing into the station wagon first thing Sunday morning was torture. I wonder if the synagogue tried to save money by not turning on the heat on Sundays, because I remember I was always cold.
There were two good things about Sunday school. One was that during break we could buy Israeli bubble gum, a treat of the highest order. As far as I can remember it was regular Bazooka bubble gum but kosher, and the packaging and the comic inside were in Hebrew. We also bought halvah, which tasted like chalk but we all scarfed it down anyway. Sometimes, especially near Hanukkah, we could buy little bags of gold coins made from the worst chocolate you’ve ever tasted.
The second good thing about Sunday school was recess. The playground at the synagogue was completely different from the playground at regular school, and it kind of felt like it was in the woods. It was also a whole different set of kids who played new games and stuff. For a kid, these were the finer things in life.
Bubble gum or not, I still hated it. So one Sunday I decided I would play hooky. I enlisted my friend too, because who wants to play hooky alone? We waved good-bye as the parents drove off and then instead of going inside we went around back into the semi-woods. We were pretty proud of ourselves. We walked around and hung out until we heard a bunch of people outside.
There were a lot of adults running around and they seemed to be looking for something…or someone(s). Wow, finally something exciting happens in Sunday school and we’re not even there to see it. We watched for a while as all the parents came back to get their kids and join in the search.
Finally our curiosity got the best of us and we kind of sidled up to see what was going on. The next thing I knew I was getting hugged and yelled at all at the same time, which was definitely a new one. I asked what was going on and was pointedly told they were searching for us the whole time. Oh. Did we not hear them calling our names? Well, not really.
When we finally got home we all had bagel and lox but my mom was not a happy camper. My brothers kept asking me why I was so stupid and I kept telling them if I knew why I was stupid I probably wouldn’t be stupid. Duh. Then my mom would take a break from yelling at me so she could yell at my brothers for calling me stupid before getting back to asking me if I was an idiot, which I guess is a nicer word than stupid. It was an interesting dynamic.
You must be thinking I learned my lesson, and it’s true, I never skipped Sunday school again. However, we did have Hebrew school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and one day I had this idea of how I could get out of it…
Did I not just tell you I was a dumb ass as a kid? I’m still grounded for that one.