Ohio County Public Library



Ohio County Public Library

Wheeling Spoken History Project: Various Local Voices

Date: October 31, 1994; Interview #: 96-021; Title: Pierogi Making at St. Lad's ]


Unindexed Transcript
 ▼ Begin interview

 

▼ Interview with Various Local Voices


Title: Pierogi Making at St. Lad's

Date: October 31, 1994; Interview #: 96-021 ]


DELORES SKRZYPEK: Potato pierogi.

MICHAEL NOBEL KLINE: Uh-huh.

DS: Now you can buy Mrs. Mrs. T's in the market, in the, uh, frozen food but they're not like the hand made. (She laughs). You, uh, after you make a, making the dough, making the dough in there, and then, uh, uh, rubbing in the, uh, rolling them out and then, uh, a container for cooling them in. Do you have me on camera?

MNK: Sure.

DS: Oh, No.

MNK: Oh, you look great.

DS: Oh, thank you. (She laughs). But anyhow, then they fill them there, you see, they have a scoop, each one has a scoop of potato, an ice cream scoop, has a, each, uh, dough ball. Each has a scoop of that potato in it. And they crimp them, crimp them like this, and then, uh, they put them in boiling water. Put a dozen in the big pot there and when they come up to the top, they're done, you know, and see them. And when the, uh, the, uh, pierogis come up to the top, they're done. And some people like to, um, (17) fry them in butter, onions, cut-up onions. And you could, and then some people just have them a, after they're cooked, some people just put butter on them and then, uh, sour cream.

MNK: Hm.

DS: And they, uh, yeah, they keep having them that way.

Voice 2: Don't tell him too much, he'll put it in the paper.

DS: He's got me on camera. (She laughs).

Voice 3: Everything you said.

Voice 4: Uh, you know.

DS: Well he had me, I didn't think he, I was on, I think this is such a close-up on anyone. (She laughs). He's listening, no, I don't know what to say. All I can.

MNK: Well we have, we have plenty of tape. We'll, we'll give everybody a turn. But, uh.

DS: Well, that's good.

MNK: I wondered if, uh, if you'd tell me, uh, if, if this is some sort of special event that you're making these for?

DS: Well, uh, We always made these, uh, for our street fairs, uh, but, uh, (28) this is sort of like a, a fund raise, well, uh, it's a fund raising, fund raising project. And, um, cause it's sort of special this year cause this may be the last year for us. You know, and then, uh, bring a little, uh, sentimental feeling around you.

MNK: Okay, okay. Say that again in addition.

DS: In addition to, well we're making, of course, we all have a lot of fun and, uh, people who come in to buy are former parishioners and, you know, you see people you haven't seen for years sometimes. And, um, this is the great part about it. You know, everybody gets together and we laugh, and we eat. And, uh, just think.

MNK: You were telling me that this is sort of a, an emotional time for you?

DS: Yes, because we're supposed to close in '95. We're supposed to close the church in '95 and so after that, you know, there will be no, no reasons for fund raising then, uh, at least, uh, this is how we feel, you know. But, uh, there won't be the same feeling there.

MNK: Why is the church closing down?

DS: Because of the shortage of priests, shortage of priests, they have to (44) share the priests and, uh, it's pretty hard for him to, uh, um, well local finances I'm sure. The other churches can't, uh, you know, for financial reasons is another reason, and for the declining population in this area.

MNK: Uh-huh.

DS: You know. And, uh, they feel, uh, they feel that particularly in our parish, we don't have too many young people. We don't have too many young people in, they move out of the area.

MNK: Uh-huh.

DS: And, uh, mostly is the, uh, you -- The people around here now are probably around fifty, in the fifties and going into late eighties. We have some in the nineties. We have one parishioner that's, um, she's ninety-eight, she just broke her hip. But, uh, you know, it's, uh, talk with the, uh, the age.

MNK: So this was a, this was a decision of the parishioners themselves to close the church?

DS: Oh, no, no, no. We were, uh, we're hurt because we manage very well. We didn't, we were not in debt. We had some reserves. And the, uh, (58) the spiritual, uh, the, the parishioners themselves attended the services all the time and we had many, uh, services here that they did not have in other churches. And this is what we don't understand, why we're closing since we're not in debt and we were able to manage. And yet they, the bishop feels that, you know, this is, I don't, I don't want to say it's the bishop, it's the committee, the pastor, you know, the committee that he had. I just forget the name right now, I can't think of the name. But the committee that he had assigned to, uh, to study the pari, uh, the different congregations around here, they decided this is the best thing to do is just to make St. Alphonsus the, uh, parish that they would belong to. But then they will eventually change that name too, for the, you know, to combine the St. Mary's, St. Lad's, and St. Alphonsus. So, uh, this is a, you could tell just by looking at the, the ladies, you could see we're all getting up in there. Every now and then we have a younger one comes in and she wants to learn (73) how to do it, you know. But, uh, it's just, this is the sad part about it.

MNK: And when did you learn how to make pierogis?

DS: Well, we'd make them at home. Uh, my, uh, my mother made them and then my sisters made them and, uh, there's work to them. And we get together maybe once a year to make them at home. But then we buy enough here to freeze them and have them when we want them. But, uh, they're good, they're better than Mrs. T's, anything's better than frozen, yeah. But they're good, they, they have a special flavor. They have two different cheeses in it and that's, that gives them a better flavor. Just the right amount, a little bit of onion in it, it gives it a good taste.

MNK: So this is, it sounds like a tradition that maybe goes way back in your family. Does it, in your own family?

DS: Oh, not, I think it's a -- Polish people, they like that. Wouldn't you say, Li, it's the Polish people, uh, that, uh, make these pierogis. And then the Ukranian people, too, but, uh, I know in, uh, that, I guess Chicago, did (89) you hear when you were in Massachusetts, there's a lot of Polish people in Massachusetts. They make them there and in Connecticut, you know, where there's, where there's a, a Polish parish, Polish, uh, uh, congregation. That way I think that they do that for fund raising.

MNK: Did you grow up here in South Wheeling?

DS: Oh yes, here born and raised, yes.

MNK: Tell me a little bit about that.

DS: My neighbors?

MNK: Tell me a little, little bit about growing up here.

DS: Well, we had Polish school here. I went to the Polish school, grade school. Um, we have, uh, a, a playground, I live by the playground and, uh, it was always, it was always, spend a lot of time at the playground. My mother died when I was, uh, a young girl, very young. And, uh, so, uh, uh, the neighborhood, uh, there was practically all Polish and, no, it was a, you know, never worried about being out late, well they had a curfew, ten o'clock (101) curfew but then all the, well the kids uh, they never get into any trouble, not that I remember. And, uh, there were some, uh, uh, I come from a large, well seven of us in our family. I was the youngest, but then, uh, they all had, uh, big families in my neighborhood. And, uh, we played together and we played the usual games that the kids played, you know. Uh, you had to do your chores at home and then you went out and played. You had to do your chores at home first, and then you played out, uh, hide and seek, or, uh, we use to have cans and you use to kick the cans as far as you could down the alley. (She laughs). And then, oh we went swimming, we'd go swimming on Wednesdays at the Ritchie School. We went to, that was always nice, that was a treat for us. We went to, uh, swimming at Ritchie School. Uh.

MNK: Were there, were there particular Polish games that you played or Polish songs that you sang?

DS: Oh, no there, there were some groups, uh, they, they use to have a, there was a, an older, there was a woman in the neighborhood where she use (118) to teach the, uh, children how to dance the Polish dance. I don't know, what did they call that Polish dance, do you remember what they call, Po, uh, Polka, Polka Bianca, Polka Bianca, and, uh, they had Polish costumes, the, the vest, they were all sequined vests and white skirts, uh. I, I didn't belong to that, uh, uh, I think they was, it was sort of getting on the, they probably, the interest was lacking probably when I was starting to grow up. And, uh, but, uh, she, this woman, she taught them how to dance and she taught them how to play the piano and the violin. Uh, they then, we had, uh, there, uh, different organizations in the church here. They use to have picnics, they'd have them out Lansing, Polish day, they had a Polish day and on Polish day, I think they had, oh, for the different years, your peirogi and your cabbage rolls and then different kind of pastries.

Voice 2: What about the Polish, we still sing Polish, uh, at Mass.

DS: Oh yeah.

Voice 2: And have a Polish Mass.

DS: Yeah, we always had our, uh, Polish, uh, Mass.

Voice 2: Once a month.

DS: Once, well now we have Polish Mass once a month. But, uh, years ago, well we use to have processions, we would have a, a May Procession in (138) our schools over on Forty-Fifth Street and, and the children would all be in white dresses and then you had your, um, uh, flowers. They were garlands of flowers, you know, ban, we would have banners, and, uh, have all kind of flowers on these banners. And, uh, we use to march from the school all around the church and, uh, we had a May Queen and, uh, May Queen and her court would be around six girls in the court, in the May Queen court, you know. And, uh, that was always a big thing, a May Procession and then in May we had the May Devotions, uh, every, uh, Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, Friday, I think it was, yeah. Yeah, we, it, well and that was, uh, always around the church, activities in the church. And, um, then in October, the dedication of the month of Mary, we always had devotions, the, um, Rosary Devotions in the, October. Uh, and then you had, uh, devotions in, uh, Advent and Lent. Now Advent starts in December, you came to church three times a week in Advent. (She laughs). So you were always, you know, everything was centered around church.

MNK: You grew up in the church here?

DS: Yes, I made my First Communion here and, uh, um, funerals were (157) here. My parents were buried from this church. Everything was, uh.

Voice 2: They had our own school too.

DS: Yeah, we had our own school.

Voice 2: Polish.

DS: I don't know when they, uh, when they sto, uh, when the school closed but then we studied, uh, Polish and English up to the eighth grade. You had your Polish religion, uh, and English religion, uh, Polish history, English history.

Voice 2: Reading.

DS: Yeah, and Polish, uh, bible, you know. So, uh, we never felt like we were lacking anything and, I don't know, every, you know, we felt like we had it all. (She laughs). I think we did.

Voice 2: We had the Polish nuns.

DS: Yeah, we had the, the nuns, they were the Felician Order, and they're, uh, at Coraopolis, their mother house is at Coraopolis, and they lived, and, uh, we had the nuns here until last year. Uh, the nuns, uh, before, well after the school closed, the nuns stayed here and they took care of the, uh, the church, uh, seeing that the altar was always ready and they had things ready for the priest and then they went to visit the sick. Help, uh, help the priest, (176) uh, visit the sick and they gave Communion to the sick and, uh, it was just last year that the, the, uh, Mother Superior decided to take them, you know, from them. Well they were getting up in age, one especially was getting up in age and the other one, she had her to serve in another parish. So, uh, it's, uh.

MNK: Your mother and father came from Poland?

DS: I think they got married here. They weren't married in Poland but they got married here. Just don't remember how they met. Cause I think they were complete opposites, (She laughs), because by, uh, well my mother was sort of reserved. My mother was the type that liked to stay home all the time but my dad was a happy go lucky guy. (She laughs). They, he liked to sing, my dad liked to sing, and, uh, he'd like to sing, he liked drama.

Voice 2: He liked, uh, violin and, um, bass.

DS: Oh, yeah, I knew that. And, uh, my dad worked at, uh, Wheeling Steel. He worked until he was sixty-five and then he retired and he lived to be ninety-four. And my mother died at fifty-one, when she was fifty-one (196) years old. And, uh, you know, we were a happy family. I think we were.

MNK: Where did, which of the steel mills did he work?

DS: Benwood mill, Benwood Steel.

MNK: The pipe mill.

DS: Galvanized.

MNK: Galvanized.

DS: He worked in the galvanized section. See how they're doing there, this is, you'll see how, yeah, you gotta see, you gotta take their picture there.

MNK: Okay.

DS: And give, give one of them to the doc.

MNK: Tell, tell me your name.

DS: My, Delores Skrzypek. S-k-r-z-y-p-e-k.

MNK: Can you say my name is.

DS: My name is Delores Skrzypek. Thank you.

MNK: Oh, you all are dazzlingly beautiful. Can I visit with you a little bit (223) here? What are you doing here?

AY: I'm a, making balls now. (She laughs). Then I roll them out and.

MNK: What are they for?

AY: Huh?

MNK: What are they for?

AY: Potatoes, pierogi.

MNK: Pierogis?

AY: Yeah. Been at it for many, many years, many, many.

MNK: When did, when did you make your first pierogi?

AY: Oh, my God, I'm married sixty years, honey. (She laughs).

Voice 5 : I'm working about fifty years now, you ain't working no fifty years on these pierogis.

AY: Oh, no, not in the church here, but home.

MNK: You made them at home?

AY: Oh, yes, uh, we had a large family, you know. And, uh, we always made pierogi. Uh, like maybe every second week, cause you had different things, you know, on Friday. You had, uh, fasts, so we made, mother made (247) different things, you know. But, uh, we use to make pierogi out of different things, out of prunes, longhorn, and, uh, fried cabbage, you can make them out of sauerkraut and put your potatoes in there, and uh, well they make it out of meat, too. And they got, uh, left over meat, uh, like a roast beef or when you boil the beef, you could grind it up, doctor it up, make pierogi. Lot of people do it for Sunday, they got the dough, you know. You, you taping me? Uh. (She laughs).

MNK: How do you doctor up the meat?

AY: What?

MNK: How do you doctor up the meat?

AY: Well, I think you grind the beef and add onion and raw potato and make it into, uh, you know, balls, and that's it. Fry them.

MNK: How many, uh, children, were in you family? Can you tell?

AY: Oh, we had, uh, eight of us living, eight children.

MNK: Born here in South Wheeling?

AY: Oh, no, I was born in Chicago, I'm, uh, as chicken a car, a car (264) can go. (She laughs). You know what that is? Chicago! And, uh, there's four of us born in Chicago and four here in, in Benwood, next town from here, Benwood, West Virginia. What else you want to (She laughs)?

MNK: Your father came when you were young?

AY: My dad came here from Czechoslovakia, uh, he was only, uh, he went to school here. He was probably about five years old and my mother, she come from Europe to Chicago. And, uh, I don't know how my dad ever got to her. That's something I never knew. But he went to Chicago and they were, married my mother. Cause he was from here, he was here from Benwood. But then, uh, he came in 1920 and, uh, been here since. And he, lot of years, seventy-four years. I'm eighty years old.

MNK: You're not, really?

AY: Do I look like it? (She laughs). I'm glad. I don't feel like it, I'll tell you right now.

MNK: So your mother made these at home when, you can remember these all back, all the way back to being a little girl?

AY: But my mother never made them like this. She rolled her dough out, then she cut it into squares, and all uniform. I was just wondering a lot of times how she ever did it. My mother, my mother cut hers out of, it was glass too. But my mother made them, it was squares, and she wouldn't have (294) no dough left, and it was all uniform. And you, you know, pinch it to three quarters like, you know. So, uh, when I got married, my mother-in-law was doing like this, so I looked at her, (she laughs), it was too funny. "What in the heck you doing, we're still making pierogies." So I says to her, "I never had, never seen anything like that." So when I, when we started making them in church, that's how we did it, so we're doing it from then on.

MNK: You had to change your method, huh?

AY: Yeah, uh, but I think it's better. I think it goes quicker. But, uh, my, some of my family still rolls the, great big like a slab, you know, and cuts it with the glass, or you know, like I said, with squares.

MNK: So you've been in this church since you were six years old?

AY: Oh, no, I was in this church, uh, I was, uh, I went to school here, 1925, about 1920, 21 or 22 and, uh, all them years. Went to Polish school for about, I think three years, and I learned how to read and write in Polish. And, uh, my mother, I'd come home, uh, from school and I want my mother (320) to teach me. My mother, my mother never had an education, you know. People coming from Europe at that time, they don't have much education. So, she says, "I can't help you." I cried like a fool, but I, uh, I learned enough to read any, as good as any Pollack. But I'm Slavish, you know, Slav. But, I'm fast, I'm faster now.

MNK: Is there some special occasion that you're making these for?

AY: Oh, we're, uh, see, you know, I don't know whether our church is going to go or not, you know, so we're gonna, this is going to be for a special fund. We're going to keep it, just ourself, in case there's any repairs in our church or anything, we'll have the money. We, uh, we got over seven hundred dozens, you know. That's a lot of pierogi. We make that much for when our street fair too, but, uh, uh, this is only for orders. But, uh, we do good. We have our street fairs and other people, we make in two days what people make in three days, cause, you know, we got the ethnic food, cabbage and noodles and kielbasa and, uh, well pierogi, and, uh, what else, but, uh, (362) we have nice, nice, uh, uh, turn out, very nice turn out. We, we have orchestra and everything else and people like to dance and eat. Everybody's likes, likes, uh, cabbage and noodles, you know, and that's what they like. Ever eat it, you ever eat it? It's good.

MNK: Yeah, I love cabbage.

AY: Cabbage and noodles. Go, go, go. We come here six thirty this morning to, yesterday we peeled potatoes and onions. I peeled about forty pounds of onions and I didn't cry. I'm the onion peeler. She's learning. This dough's a little too soft, so I have to watch, you know.

MNK: What was it like growing up here in South Wheeling?

AY: We had it nice, we, uh, had, uh, a lot of stores here. Anything you wanted you had it. Now everything's, you know, moved away and, uh, when one store takes over, it's Kroger's, the other stores don't have a chance, makes it hard, you know. You don't have no transportation on Sunday, it's gone, cause, uh, you can't, uh, get no where. But, uh, we had every, anything you ever thought of, we had under our, in this, within, uh, five (401) blocks, everything, two shoe makers, funeral home, got three, uh, butcher shops, uh, name it, what you want. We have everything here.

MNK: All Polish?

AY: Yeah, oh its, uh.

MNK: Or Slavik?

AY: Had a shoe store, and, uh, a butcher shop on the other corner, Norteman's, and, uh, Wensyl's up there on another corner. Yeah we had it, it was nice and you didn't have to, to go anywhere. Now today, uh, you know, you have to take a, uh, bus. But, of course, I took a cab cause I can't walk too much, you know.

MNK: You raise your family here now?

AY: I got only one daughter, one daughter and, uh, I lost my husband two years ago.

MNK: Oh.

AY: Nice talking to you.

MNK: You, too. What is your name?

AY: Ann.

MNK: Ann?

AY: You want my last name, too? Yourchuk.

MNK: Say my name is.

AY: What, Yourchuk.

MNK: Can you say, my name is Annie?

AY: Annie.

MNK: Can, can you say my name is, tell, tell me your name.

AY: Anna Yourchuck. My name is, oh, I'm sorry.

MNK: That's all right.

AY: He's gonna have a history.

CNK: He doesn't care, he just wants to hear you say your name.

AY: Yeah, oh well. We all had fun once sometime.

MNK: Yeah.

Voice 6: Are you learning anything from us?

MNK: Oh, yeah, this is the best.

Voice 6: Do you think you'll be able to make pierogi after you leave here?

MNK: Uh, I'm just going to keep looking at this camera till I figure it, how to do it.

Voice 6: Would you like to have a sample of this, and tell us if it's seasoned (471) right?

MNK: Sure, yeah.

Voice 6: It tastes the best when you go like this.

MNK: Oh yeah? You mean, you mean I'm allowed to just dip into it?

Voice 6: Yeah, it won't hurt you. I'm sure you're not contaminated.

MNK: Oh, yeah, that's delicious. How do you season it?

Voice 6: Uh, some onions, some butter, some, uh, cheese, longhorn cheese and American cheese.

Voice 6: The Polish would.

MNK: Oh yeah.

Voice 6: Yes, they'd always took pictures. And today they laugh about us.

MNK: Where are these pictures now?

Voice 6: Oh, everywhere, everywhere.

Voice 7: Almost every family's got pictures.

MNK: Huh.

Voice 7: He was a great photographer.

Voice 6: Well, he had the best lens, uh, different photographers wanted to buy them off of him when he was, when he quit business.

MNK: What is it you're doing there, exactly?

Voice 6: Dishing it out for the workers that are out there at the tables that fill them. We're making the ingredients, the potato filling for the pierogi. And, you know, we, we like to use our hands. Do you think you can make them?

MNK: Hm?

Voice 6: Do you think you can make them?

MNK: No, I don't think so.

Voice 6: You and your wife are getting pointers?

MNK: Well, she's, she's, uh, really getting some good pointers.

Voice 6: Do you think she'll make them for you?

MNK: I can only hope so.

Voice 7: What's she doing? Is she over there making them?

Voice 6: She's peeling potatoes.

Voice 7: No, no, she's over there pinching.

Voice 6: Why she was supposed to peel potatoes. She probably wants to (18) learn a little bit of everything.

MNK: What about that?

Voice 6: Oh, we, we had some elderly ladies at our parish that no longer are here that really taught us. We've been doing this for years already. We're already to old to be making this, do you believe that? How old do you think is too old?

MNK: How what?

Voice 6: When you get, when you get to be my age, when you think you're too old to be doing this, like seventy-two, (Laughs)

MNK: You're not seventy-two.

Voice 6: Oh, yes I am, every bit.

MNK: Tell me about the first time you ever made pierogies. Was it with your mother?

Voice 6: No, but the ladies from our church here, we made these, uh, Polish (34) life that we had here, St. Hedrick's Society, and I made, uh, pierogies with them. That had to be every bit of, maybe thirty years ago. Yeah, we been making them for a long time.

MNK: Did you grow up in this church?

Voice 6: Uh, born and raised here, belonged to this church seventy-two years. I was baptized in this church. That's the truth. My mother had nine children and we all grew up around here, all were born and baptized in this community. Remember I told you about that, when you have Forty Hours Devotion?

MNK: Yeah, but we didn't have the camera on.

Voice 6: I know about the coal mines and the steel mills.

MNK: There was nine children, huh?

Voice 6: Nine children. How many children did your mom have?

Voice 7. Eleven children.

Voice 6: They all had a lot of children in this community. We had a Polish grade school and I believe in every grade there was a child from every member of the family.

MNK: Member of your family?

Voice 6: That's right, in every grade. Every year, somebody was coming in (51) and somebody was graduating. (Laughs) To go see the building today, you could almost cry.

MNK: Why is that?

Voice 6: Very neglected. Well they sold it once the school closed.

MNK: And your father worked at, did he work in the coal mines then?

Voice 6: My dad came to this country when he was fourteen years old and he went to work in the coal mine. And then he become a baker after that. He worked in the, uh, Bond Bakery, I don't know, I doubt if you know, but it's nation wide so you might, might have heard of it, Bond Bakery. He, he (61) died when he was seventy-seven years old, my mother died when she was seventy-seven years old, seven years after my dad died. I, I hope I can live till I'm seventy-seven. (Laughs) Wouldn't that be nice?

MNK: You don't have any stories?

Voice 6: Tell him your dad was a barber.

Voice 8: That's right, my dad was a barber. His name is ... My brother's a barber, in fact I have two brothers that was a barber. One of them died here last year.

MNK: I'm sorry.

Voice 8: The oldest one and we lived here all our life on Forty-Fifth Street, went to this church.

MNK: Were you born into this church?

Voice 8: I'll be seventy-five years old, I was baptized, went to our school and everything, to this church.

MNK: What's going to happen to this church?

Voice 8: Well, all the property and all go up to St. Al's, I guess. The diocese owns everything, nothing don't belong to us, it never did from day (78) one. Everything belongs to the diocese. You know that, yourself.

MNK: I thought it was the people in this community that.

Voice 8: No, yeah, we built it, yeah, our, our parents and all built this church, mortgaged houses and all to build this church, but it ain't ours, no way. Belongs to the diocese, no church in this world don't belong to, to the individual, everything belongs to the diocese of that, you know, their state or whereever.

MNK: Don't they feel like it's time to close the church?

Voice 8: No, they want to close it. We don't want it closed. We're fighting, we don't want it closed. Where's all these people gonna go? Take a look at us, half of us got, half of us use canes. In fact, I do too, I got mine hanging over there on that door. But we come to work, to save our church, there's that. I don't know what they're gonna do, it'll be, they're gonna do something. June '95. Maybe they'll give us a Mass or two Masses a week and that's it so I don't know. We're planning on putting a sidewalk in too, here, I think that Savage Construction, or something, is coming down (97) tomorrow to look at it. And that's gonna be about fifteen thousand dollars. But we're not in need of money because we are self supporting. We have money. Our fam, our, of course, we ain't got it, we have to go with, if we want money, we got to go ask, to get, you know, from the bishop, I guess, the diocese got the money. So.

MNK: This is a group that's always been able to take care of itself.

Voice 8: We have a street fair, we, we make as prof, we make as high as, we've made already twenty-two thousand dollars every street fair, two days. And we make these pierogi, we'll make over two thousand dollars, sometimes three. We've already made twenty-four, twenty-four, twenty-five hundred dollars, we made already just, you know, just on pierogies. Didn't we, how much we make on pierogi. I said how much we make on, you know, when we have our.

Voice 6: That's right, we make a lot of money on our pierogi, forty-four, (112) forty-six hundred dollars.

Voice 8: So.

Voice 6: That's it.

MNK: Thank you.

MNK: What is your name?

JANE MURRAY: Mine, mine is Jane Murray.

MNK: What are you doing?

JM: Well, right now, I think I'm having a little bit of fun peeling some potatoes.

MNK: What you gonna make out of that potato?

JM: Well, I think they call them pierogi. They're good, did you ever taste them? Oh, they're really good. So, uh, a lot of work to it. But if you get a group, then you enjoy it.

MNK: Can you remember the first pierogi you ever made?

JM: Well, I'll tell you, my mother use to make them, but I use to watch. I (154) never made them. But, uh, I use to help but I, I always have trouble pinching them, I couldn't pinch them right. So then when I came over here and I seen how they were doing it, I thought, well, that looks a little bit easier cause my mother was doing them real fancy.

MNK: She made them real fancy?

JM: Real fancy, yeah.

MNK: Tell me about her pierogies.

JM: Oh, my mother use to make all kinds. She made potato with cream cheese, you know, in it, like we're making now. She use to make them out of sauerkraut, she made them out of cottage cheese. And then some people use to make them out of prunes but my mother never made those. But they were, they were good too. And, uh, well I mainly like, uh, for Christmas, you know, a lot of them. This is what they believe in. Old boxcars pick up the tin savers. Uh-huh. And man that one day when I went down under (169) there to pick up them tin savers, when I went to get out because they says, "Ma'am hurry, you have to get out because the train's gonna start." When I come out that ladder, you know, on the end, I hit my head.

Voice 9: Did you really?

JM: Oh yeah, I got a bump that high on it.

Voice 9: Oh my. (Laughs)

JM: Then I got another bump when I come home from going down the river.

Voice 10: You don't remember that Mrs. ... pick the coal on the track, do you?

JM: No, I don't remember that.

Voice 10: You remember her?

JM: Yeah, I remember her.

Voice 10: You'd walk down the track with a bucket and pick the coal up off the track cause it fall off the cars.

JM: Uh- huh.

Voice 10: Yeah, eighty years old.

JM: Oh, I remember her, yeah.

Voice 8: Another one, we use to, uh, uh, we use to, uh, go see the, the Continental Can operator there. We use to go and talk to those women, go out and buy candy and bring it to them.

MNK: Tell me about your family, did you have a lot of brothers and sisters?

JM: Well I had, uh, three brothers and two sisters. So, uh, that's it. I'm the youngest in the girls, and, uh, well they're all retired, they're all already (188) retired, we're all retired. We hit that golden, golden years. (Laughs)

MNK: What was it like growing up, though, with them?

JM: Oh, it was, well they were real nice, uh, but then, you know, my mom had six children but we all got along fine.

MNK: What were there names?

JM: Well, I have a sister by the name of Lillian, and a sister by the name of Evelyn, and I have three brothers; Emil, Eddie and Stanley. Well, my brother, Stanley, lives in Glen Dale, my brother, Eddie lives at home here in Wheeling and, um, my brother, uh, Emil lives in Benwood. And then my, uh, sister, Lillian and my sister Evelyn, we all live in the same neighborhood, Forty-Fifth Street and Forty-Sixth Street.

MNK: Very special neighborhood?

JM: Oh, yeah, I mean it's a good neighborhood, friendly neighborhood.

Voice 10: Very nice neighborhood.

JM: Real good, and my.

Voice 10: If they take our church, it won't be good.

MNK: What do you mean if they take the church away? Is there some talk (209) of taking the church?

Voice 10: Say what?

MNK: Is there some talk of taking the church?

Voice 10: Yeah, they're thinking of taking it next year, the twentieth of June. Supposed to close it up.

MNK: Why are they going to do that?

Voice 10: Well, they say they ain't got enough priests. They send priests down here to have our Masses. Yeah, so what can you do? The bishop tells you you gotta go, you gotta go. And I can't see why they should tell them to go bother this church when down from Benwood to Moundsville, there's four churches. Understand? Does it make sense them having four churches from there to there and we got one from here to, up to St. Alphonsus and the Cathedral? Don't make sense. So that, that's what people are all complaining from this parish, cause this is a pretty nice community. So what can you do? Well, that's what, that's what the people hear. They don't nobody, don't owe nobody anything. Everything's paid for and they got (226) money in the bank so, what, what can you say to them? You can't say a word. He's supposed to be the boss but when it comes down to that, you know what's gonna happen? They all will go up to the Ukrainian church and the older people, how are they gonna get up to St. Alphonsus or the Cathedral? They can't, too old to drive, most of the people here are elderly people. Why you can see how old most of them are right here. So, that's what are gonna, gonna happen. Yeah.

Voice 11: Old people, grandchildren, grandchildren. Put the will, one person dies, put it on the next one. For family group, grandchildren, grandchidren, write the will, you know, write Baranski family, Yasinski family will, you know. Or put the church, it won't go to the bishop, it goes (245) to our peoples, that's the way I see it. You know, grandchildren, grandchildren, you know what I mean. If I had, like my mother had me, well she could put it next to me, from me I'll put the next one, on the will. That, that's for people's will for the church. That's what I got and, now do you understand what I mean, Eddie?

Voice 10: I know what you mean.

Voice 11: Yeah.

Voice 10: Yeah.

Voice 11: That belongs to people. It does.

Voice 10: But I think when it ends up, it's gonna end up, they'll have a Mass at least once a month, or once a week. They might even have another Mass on a Saturday, just so all the people from this parish can attend.

MNK: Did you grow up in this church?

Voice 10: Yeah.

MNK: You were born here in South Wheeling?

Voice 10: Um-hm. Yeah, down at Forty-Sixth Street. I live over on Forty-Fifth Street and Wetzel. And, oh, I don't know what's gonna happen. We (267) just have to live it by day to see when it comes what we're gonna do. But that, that's what will happen.

MNK: I thought they were going to close St. Al's.

Voice 10: No, they decided not to after they said they was gonna close it. Cause they rebuilt that whole church, beautiful in there. So that's the reason. If it was up to the Cathedral why they don't have as much membership up there. Half that church's empty when they have a Mass. So, don't, he wants it up there because he's gonna have to get some income coming in to pay for all that stuff. That's the way I figure it.

MNK: Does he really think these people will go up there?

Voice 10: No, I don't think they will. He's gonna have one hard time to get them to go up there. And I don't, I don't think they're gonna close it, all together.

Voice 12: I think they have their eye on the next generation.

Voice 10: Yeah, they should have.

Voice 12: Well, I think they think it'll all blow over.

Voice 10: We hope, all the Polish people down there, they don't like it very (287) well. Oh, they complained something terrible when they had the meeting with him. Even our own Polish priest, he don't, don't approve of, uh, having the church down here. But what can you tell them.

MNK: This must be a very hard thing for you to accept.

Voice 10: I want, that's what it is with all of them. Oh, you ought to see some time, get pretty hot under the collar here when they have a reading.

MNK: Why are you all out here together?

Voice 10: Say what?

MNK: Why are you all out her together today?

Voice 10: Well we always, every year we, two or three times a year they have something going on here. Yeah.

Voice 12: This is our home away from home.

Voice 10: That's right, that's the truth. (Laughs) So, what can you tell them, you can't tell them anything cause he's supposed to be the boss. Whether you gotta listen, we don't know. Yeah.

Voice 11: They built a grotto, they built a grotto, uh, really, don't forget, Eddie.

Voice 12: That's a memorial out there, that's a war memorial out there.

Voice 10: That's right, it's the grotto out there, that's true.

MNK: What is it, explain it to me.

Voice 10: That grotto out there they have, you know, where the Blessed Mother and that and all the boys of, got killed in the service? Well they've got plaques up for them out there. Did you ever see it out there, take a look at it? They use to have a fountain there too. But one of the smart guys got (316) them to fill it up, he says it's a waste of time, and it was the most beautiful thing they had in South Wheeling. At Christmas time, come down and see when they use to decorate the place up, it was really nice. For Christmas. Now why they only got about a half of that stuff up.

Voice 12: There's a lot of Polish pride here.

Voice 10: Oh, that's right, yeah that, that's for sure.

MNK: What'd you say?

Voice 12: I said there's a lot of Polish and community pride here at St. Ladislaus. We're very proud of our parish and we take care of it. Um, we volunteer for a lot of things. Uh, we, um, contribute, what else?

MNK: Maintain a lot of the traditions.

Voice 12: Maintain a lot of the traditions here and, um, I think it's gonna turn around. I think the younger people will eventually see how important heritage and traditions and all are. I'm just, uh, concerned that, uh, our Polish heritage will, will be ended if the Polish church is, uh, um, closed to, to even a, some degree. I know the rumor is that we'll have Sunday Mass (344) but we congregate here. We're a family, we depend on each other for a lot of things and I think we love each other.

Voice 10: Tell him about the Mass that we had here this morning.

Voice 12: Oh, the Funeral Mass?

Voice 10: Yeah, you were invited.

Voice 12: Yeah, they're are a lot of parishes in our diocese that have trouble, uh, filling or, or even having people come in when there's a funeral. And that's very disheartening to the people, the people who are, who have lost someone. At St. Ladislaus, you do see people come and, uh, there's usually a meal afterward. And, uh, we gather together in fellowship with the people who are grieving and I think it, it gives them a sense that we really care for them, which we do. Um, we have a full, uh, choir anytime there is a funeral Mass. There are usually about thirteen, fourteen singers here and, uh, I think it's very important, uh, that we maintain all these traditions and, uh, other things that, that we have had here at St. Ladislaus. We have a lot of activity here. It, It's unbelievable, uh, we know that we're closing up and (374) yet it's, it's almost as if, uh, uh, we know it but we're still doing exactly what we have done in the past. I've seen other parishes where they've gotten very disheartened and have, uh, eliminated a lot of things from, uh, from their, uh, from their what, from their schedules and all. But we still.

Voice 11: That's because of a lack of interest.

Voice 12: Lack of interest and.

Voice 11: Participation.

Voice 12: You can see by this gathering that we stick together and we enjoy what we're doing and, uh, I don't know what will happen though when the church closes.

MNK: Can you talk a little bit about, uh, being, doing like a family if people came.

Voice 12: Yeah, I think that's true. Um, You want examples, right? Well, the funeral was one example that I, that I gave. And, um, just, um, just different, uh, services and all that we have, I think it shows that we're, uh, (397) very close to each other. Uh, One of the services, uh, one of the things that we do around Christmas time is that we have a box where we gather little presents for the Baby Jesus. Um, It can be rattles or socks or, uh, little clothes for a child, a newborn, and the first baby to be baptized into the parish, all this goes to that baby. So, uh, that shows family, that shows a, a great deal of concern for people. Um, uh, let's see, and other cold gifts would be, uh, fruit baskets at Christmas and Easter, but the, uh, the baskets, uh, that we give out to people. Uh, another thing, too, I think when, when, uh, our pastors have come in, we've always had a really nice gathering for them, a welcome for them, or when they've gone away, uh, and we always present some kind of a little, little skit or something. Uh, and, uh, the last pastor that we lost was Father D, and we had, uh, like a sing-a-long and, um, uh, Nancy Klamut had made, uh, it looked like a little, little fan, uh, with a (427) handle. And, uh, on one side it was the picture of a, of a, uh, uh, what was it, a lamb. And we sang, uh, "The Whip-a-Poo Song" and when we sang, uh, "Ba Ba Ba," we would hold that up and, you know, make it sound like a lamb crying and everything. And it was very entertaining, people enjoyed it.

MNK: What song was that?

Voice 12: Uh, uh, "Whip-a-Poo. When we got.."

MNK: You could show them that.

Voice 12: Yeah, we, we have that on tape.

MNK: Can you sing a little of it for me?

Voice 12: "We are poor little lambs who have lost their priest, Ba, Ba, Ba. We are," I don't remember, we would have, we was, Caroline, where's Caroline. Caroline knows the words. Caroline, come sing, "Ba, Ba, Ba.

Voice 10: On the "Ba, Ba, Ba," we had, like fans made up with the little, the head of a white sheep with tears flowing down out of the eyes.

Voice 12: Sing the "Ba, Ba," that we, that you wrote for Father D.

Voice 13: Oh, dear. All Voices: "To the tables down at Wendy's, to the bar at P.A.P. to the good old."

Voice 12: What?

Voice 10: Something about the pigeons not giving a hoot.

Voice 12: How did, how did we sing, uh, "Ba, Ba, Ba?" All Voices: "We're poor little leaves who have lost our priest, Ba, Ba, Ba, (465) we're poor little lambs, who lost their sheep."

Voice 12: No.All Voices: "Ba, Ba, Ba."

Voice 12: Well, whatever, can't remember the words. That was back.

Voice 12: And then, uh, concern for each other, how are we showing it? And then when Father, uh, Downey came from Poland, we had a very nice, uh, covered dish for him and I don't think he even expected that.

Voice 13: No, he didn't.

Voice 12: So we, uh, we had that. And, uh, I mentioned the, uh, funeral, uh, Masses.

Voice 13: And the choir is very, very well.

Voice 12: I said about 13 members show up for the choir.

Voice 13: Yes, All we have to do is call each other and say, "Please come," and they show up. They're really good about that.

Voice 12: And, you know, and, and, people bring food, you know, for funerals for the family. And another thing, we're not just concerned, uh, about our own parish, we, we have gone out into other parishes too.

Voice 13: Yes, we have.

Voice 12: Now we, there have been other, uh, churches that have had no choirs and we've, they've asked us to sing and we have gone very willingly to sing, uh, at the funerals and also a Fiftieth Anniversary up at St. Alphonsus. We've gone up there because.

Voice 13: They wanted a Mass in Latin and we do sing a Mass in Latin so we did it at his celebration, for his Jubilee.

Voice 14: And we've been out to like the Heartland.

Voice 12: Right and Christmas, we do the same thing, little program.

Voice 14: The people of St. Ladislaus will have a procession or something (16) like that just to drop them a note. And we really like processions around here and that's one of things that makes me, uh, really love this church. Uh, I'm not from this area originally. I'm about a twenty-five year veteran. But my roots are right here in this town and mostly in the Fulton area of South Wheeling. And, uh, my Uncle Pete came, came over here as an immigrant first and settled right over there in the area which is now the Swing Club. And he got a job and, uh, what later became the Blaw-Knox plant and, uh, he made a, a little bit of money and he sent my mom seventy-five dollars to come over as a seventeen year old girl, to bring her over, that's what it cost to bring her over here. And she came over and she settled, she lived over there with my uncle and, in Fulton. And she walked on many occasions down to this church, to come to this Polish church and Polish Mass. And she was working at the time as a domestic in, I think it was the McClure and she had to work on Sundays. So, the first chance she had of (30) getting a job where she didn't have to work on Sundays, she moved over to, uh, the Windsor Hotel, worked in the kitchen there because she'd have Sundays off and she was able to come to Mass. Uh, Occasionally, the, the street car came down to this area, but most of the time, they would walk. So, um, you know, my roots are here and, uh, and, uh, I spent forty plus years working out there in the Blaw-Knox plant. So I have a real warm feeling for this area. And, uh, it just, uh, I can understand with just being here roughly twenty-five years, you know, what these people, uh, spent their lifetimes here are going through with, uh, what is going on here. It, uh.

Voice 13: Has anyone, uh, given you any information about the, uh, Polish (40) American Rhythm Teams, or the Mamushka Orchestra, a small symphonic orchestra that you, were down in this area? My father, uh, came from Poland when he was seventeen and he was a musician and, uh, he taught music, he wrote music, uh, some of the men that are young boys really, that he taught music, uh, became members of the Polish American Rhythm Teams. And they played for all the weddings, the dances, picnics, whatever in this area until World War II. And, of course, the fellows were called into the service and after the war they got back together again, but then, they had to scatter for work and things like that so that was the end of that. But before the Polish American Rhythm Teams, we had a small symphonic orchestra in this area, the Mamushka Orchestra. Mamushka was a famous Polish musician and it was named after him. And my father taught that small symphonic orchestra. And then he played in the, uh, Original Wheeling Band, and, uh, let's see there was another one. I don't know if it was the Whe, the forerunner of the Wheeling Symphony and he played in that. And, um, but it was local people here, who were members of both the (54) Mamushka and the Polish American Rhythm Teams.

MNK: So, there were lots of traditional, uh, celebrations in those days?

Voice 13: Yes.

MNK: What were the old weddings like?

Voice 13: Three days, weddings lasted three days, really. You had the wedding, took place like on a Saturday, and then they had what they call a Polka Revenee, which is, okay we're gonna do it all over again. And usually the young couple didn't leave for the honeymoon until the third day because the relatives and everybody stayed and you went. Like we use to have all the weddings over at the Polish Hall, the, um, auditorium at the school. And everybody went back. You went back for Polka Revenee, and, uh, also for the third day, some that were still.

MNK: Can you, can you describe it, can you give me the very first part, that, that it started the bride and groom.

Voice 15: Mass, no, no, no. The blessing at the home, at the home.

Voice 13: That's right.

Voice 15: And they would have musicians at the home, oh yeah, uh-huh, originally and you would be blessed, the couple would be blessed. Would (67) kneel in front of their fathers and mothers.

Voice 13: Traditionally, oh, the, uh, young couple, the groom never saw the bride until, you know, you get to church, and not in the Polish. The groom and the bride, they were at the bride's house and the parents would give a blessing and they, um, would come to church and then usually the reception, like I said, was held at the Polish Auditorium. And the bride and groom were greeted by what, what did we call them?

Voice 15: Um.

Voice 13: Remember with the salt, the bread and the salt?

Voice 15: I don't remember that.

Voice 13: Your, your sister would know. But anyhow they were greeted by, uh, an elderly couple, not necessarily related to them.

Voice 15: What's that couple, what did they call?

Voice 14: Sparashtena.

Voice 13: Sparashtena, right. Okay, and they would, uh, have salt and bread and they would sprinkle the salt on the bread and the young couple would eat (78) it. And that was so that they would always have the salt of the earth, and food to sustain them in their marriage. And then the wedding would take place. Oh, then, uh, in the evening, before everybody scattered, they would have the, um, unveiling of the bride. She would be in a circle and people would, especially women, would be all around her and they would sing.

Voice 15: Put an apron on her, wouldn't they?

Voice 13: Yes, well not right away, they would sing, and the maid of honor would be in the circle with the bride. And they would sing the song, oh, about her future as a, uh, married woman, and at the end they would take her veil off and put it on the maid of honor and tie an apron around her waist. Now she's a wife. And also they had what they called the Betetanus, before that bridal dance. Use to be that everyone tried to keep the groom away from the bride. They would be dancing and the idea was to keep the groom away. And, uh, people would, uh, give money so that they could dance with (93) the bride. And originally they use to have dishes and after you finished dancing with the bride, they gave you a plate to break. I have no idea why.

Voice 15: I don't remember that.

Voice 13: Maybe some of the older women would know. But they would do that for a length of time and then finally they would allow the groom to claim his bride. And it was after that that they had the, uh, unveiling. Oh, nice traditions, we don't do them anymore and it's a shame.

MNK: The band, the band would play.

Voice 15: Oh yeah, they would play and they would play and they would play and they would play.

Voice 16: It use to be weddings were three days long.

Voice 15: That's what I was telling them. And then the baptisms were something else. The christenings were something else too. Remember when they had a christening? That's how I found out, when you had good moonshine. When my brother, Al, was baptized, my uncle came from, um, Reading, Pennsylvania and he brought some home made moonshine. And I can remember them taking it out of the bottle and putting it in a little saucer, and they put a match to it. And if the flame was nice and blue, that was (108) good stuff.

Voice 13: Well, didn't they, they, uh, your funeral procession too, I mean if it was local, remember those?

Voice 15: They would, uh, uh, in procession from the home, people that weren't, uh, in, uh, funeral homes then, it was always at home. And then in procession, they use to have banners and they would walk to the church and carry the body to the church and then the, uh, funeral Mass would take place.

MNK: Were you born in this church?

Voice 15: Uh, yes, I was born in the house the... is in now. And when I was three years old we moved to a, uh, house that my sister had been in. That was back, I was born in Twenty-Three. And in Twenty-Six, we moved from Jacob Street to Eoff Street. And I lived there until I got married. Now I live out at Big Wheeling Creek

MNK: Were you married in this church?

Voice 15: Oh, yes. Uh-huh. I'll probably be buried from it too, I hope. I hope.

MNK: So this church means a lot to you.

Voice 15: Definitely, I'm the organist and so, uh, I put my soul in my music and the choir goes right along with me. We sing the Polish, yeah, (124) every, every Mass I, every Mass we have at least one Polish hymn. And we still have the one Polish Mass a month. As a matter of fact, uh, Father Ted is going to have a Mass for All Souls Wednesday evening at seven and it's going to be in Polish. And it's going to be totally Polish. And we're going to have Liquimenke, a, uh, Liquimenke is prayers for the dead. Each one.

Voice 14: The names are on the altar for the whole month.

Voice 15: The one who, those who have died since last All Souls Day.

MNK: How do you feel about the proposal to consolidate this church?

Voice 14: No way.

Voice 15: Not acceptable. Not acceptable. That's a sore spot. We would so love to keep this church and I really do believe that we need to have one down here. I think there's too much of a distance from St.Alphonsus, uh, uh, down to St. John's if they close this church. We need something in between, especially for people who over the years, have no reason to, uh, (138) drive or whatever, and they walk to church. We have a lot of people who walk to church. And, uh, we did a little research about what it would cost to, uh, go up to the Cathedral or whatever, and the cost of taxi to go up and down would, uh, be prohibitive for a lot of these people. You know, four Sundays a month plus the Holy Days and special days, it would be a financial hardship. It would.

MNK: Supposing the diocese provided a bus?

Voice 15: Then we would probably have to provide for the upkeep, plus try to get everybody together.

Voice 14: And we were told it would be our problem.

Voice 15: Right, it would be our problem.

Voice 14: Yes, we were told that right here in this hall. It would be our (147) problem how to get up there.

Voice 15: Um-Hm.

Voice 14: Now you tell that to some of these ladies from here.

Voice 15: Yeah, walking ..., yeah someone drives to the church all the time. I think, uh, what Ed what said would probably occur. We would probably all find ourselves up at the Ukrainian church. Well,

Voice 16: Or everywhere else.

Voice 15: Especially those who walk. That's probably where they would go. The mass on TV.

Voice 16: That's right.

MNK: What is your name, please.

Voice 15: Carolyn McComey.(158-180) Polish singing and applauding.

Voice 17: ... they sold it. And, then they went out on Saturday night, and, uh spent all the money. So, come Sunday, well, they cried all day because all that Polish work was gone, see. That's sort of the drift of it.

Voice 18: I just want to tell you one thing, too. I just want to tell you how very important our religion and our church is to us. I just remembered a story. I lived in Cleveland and, uh, for every, every Christmas we would get together and we have a big, uh, Dillio. Every, all the Polish have Dillio which is the Christmas Eve Dinner. It was so important to me to get here that I tried every mode of transportation. I was promised a ride and that fell through. Uh, a friend of mine drove me down to the train station. I took a train into Pittsburgh. It was a very, very bad night. My brother had come up to get me at the Pittsburgh station. He had to leave because the trains were so late because of the, the weather was so bad. It was snowy and it was just terrible. So, he had to leave and I, uh, decided to take a bus home. I had no money. I had to, I had to, uh, cash a check for like two or three (204) dollars to get my, my, uh, bus fair home. I, I didn't anticipate all this. And, I finally got home at about four or five in the morning. But, the urge was so strong to get home to my family and to get home to ... You know, I made every effort to do it. And I think most of us feel the same way about it. So, I just wanted to tell you that story.

MNK: Thanks.

Voice 18: Okay.

MNK: What would it mean to you if they do close this church?

Voice 18: Um. Well, I'll tell you this is a, a, a really big part of my life. Uh, a lot of the social life is, is, uh, uh, in this church. Friends, uh, are in this church. Um, when I worked, I had friends outside. I still have friends outside but a big part of my activity is out of this church. And, I remember a parishioner, uh, quite a number of years ago, say that, uh, if, if this is not a, a place where a lot of the activity, uh, occurs in your life, then the church (222) is not doing its, its proper work. And, I think we've, we've been able to achieve that here at St. Ladislaus. I think other churches are trying but I think we've really achieved it. So, it would, it would, it would be a tragedy. For me, it would.

Voice 19: I'd like to add, too, that a church is not just the mortar and the brick. It's the people in the church. That's the church in my estimation and, uh, here, you know, it's just a special bond be, you know, between the people of this parish and, and -- I just can't envision it being any other way, really.

Voice 18: We have a lot of faith in, uh, our Lord and, and especially in, in, our, our Blessed Lady. And, we just keep thinking that, uh, somehow she's going to pull us through. Right? (Laughs).

MNK: Do you agree with what she says?

Voice 17: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I don't want to talk about it because I get tears.

Voice 19: Oh, I think the last time we talked, I talked about the ... picture (241) room over there, do you remember that? Do you recall that? It's that, uh, it's the, uh, hanging, hanging picture over there with the gold border on the end. ...., goes back in the Seventeeth Century where the young people of Poland, they walk for three, three, four days and nights to get there for Holy Week, for Holy Thursday. And, uh, my mother, uh, made that ... when she was probably around fourteen or fifteen years old and they just walked through the day and may be spend night in somebody's barn or something like that. Then, just to make this ... and what that is, is the, the Rosary and the Stations going up to the, uh, to the Cross on the hill. And, it's -- Uh, in Poland to this day they still, still do that. They still have these, uh, marches where the younger people walk for, uh, the ... . And, to me, that's telling you a lot about the, the Polish traditions and the religion and that, this is what the thing we try to maintain here. Those traditions, those traditions that, uh, they need, uh, you know, to pass on to the other (263) people because, uh, that's where it's going to be with our younger people.

MNK: You, so you feel a link to the, to the Old World and to the traditions of your parents and/or people?

Voice 19: Oh, certainly. Certainly. I love them and I just, uh, maintain them as much as I can. Just like we were talking about the Villio, that's, that's very -- Even though my mom and dad are gone, you know, we still do that. Uh, the family gets together for Villio and the, uh, the breaking of the Polish bread and, uh, it's usually the, the, uh, duty of the father to start it off and he, he has a little Polish saying there that, uh, "This is for, uh, health and life, and, uh, a good life on this earth and a, uh, eternal crown in the next life." That's what it, what it, sort of like comes out to in English. And, uh, that's why my wife was talking about, you know, it's so important to be there on, on the, uh, Christmas Eve for that. That's the family, family bond. Just, uh, something that we really, we really cherish, you know. And, you don't find that in the, in the other churches around here, really. (284) I talked earlier about processions and stuff like that. A couple years back, uh, the, uh, the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was here in the, in the Diocese in this area. Where, where are they going to have it here? So, oh, send it down to St. Ladislaus because that's, you know, that's where they have all the processions. So, that's where it was brought. And, this church up there was filled to the rafters for like a two hour, uh, ceremony, uh, with the statue which coincide with like the first Friday and the, and the people just stayed, young and old. We, uh, that's what our religion is based on, really, traditions.

MNK: Thanks. So, you were going to tell me about

Voice 20: First, well, uh, our father came from Poland when he was seventeen, right?

Voice 21: Um-hum.

Voice 20: Alright. And, he was a student of music before he came here and he studied after and eventually he ended up playing with the Wheeling Band, (305) wasn't it?

Voice 21: Summer's

Voice 20: Summer's Band.

Voice 21: Marching Band.

Voice 20: Summer's Marching Band. And that was the forerunner of the Wheeling Symphony, wasn't it?

Voice 21: Yeah.

Voice 20: Alright, then, uh, he taught young men in this area and from outside the area

Voice 21: Over in Bellaire.

Voice 20: Over in Bellaire, right. And, they originally formed the, uh, Mamushka Symphonic Orchestra and, I don't know how long, uh, had no idea how long the Mamushka Band stick to -- until they, uh, formed the Polish American Rhythm Kings, right ...

Voice 21: Polish American

Voice 20: Rhythm Kings, alright. And, they also were, uh, the young men (316) that my father had taught and some other men who were Polish, too, had been music students. And, uh, in the band, the smallest guy played the big bass fiddle. (Laughs) And, they played on radio for about five years, I would say, until World War

Voice 21: ...

Voice 20: No, WWVA

Voice 21: Oh, WWVA.

Voice 20: Right. And, uh, they played -- A march was their opening number and the Helena Polka was their closing number. And in between, they played strictly Polish music. And, they played for dances, uh, in this whole area, they -- For weddings and

Voice 21: From Morgantown

Voice 20: Yeah, from Morgantown all the way up the river. And for weddings and for special occasions. They played, uh, during midnight Mass and

Voice 21: Easter Sunday

Voice 20: Pardon?

Voice 21: Easter Sunday.

Voice 20: Easter Sunday. And, they used to -- Did they play when, in the (335) funeral processions?

Voice 21: No, that was a band in Bellaire.

Voice 20: Band in Bellaire, alright. And, uh, like I said, they were together until World War, World War Two. And, the fellows were called in for the service and that was the end of the Polish American Rhythm Kings. They got together after the war, but then the fellows scattered to get jobs in different places and that was the end of that. That was it. A little bit of music history in this area.

MNK: Did your father continue to play after that then?

Voice 21: Oh, yeah.

Voice 20: Oh, he composed. He was never published. We were in the process of trying to get his music published when, uh, he was diagnosed as having cancer and, uh, that was the end of that. We never did pursue it after (349) that. And, he played up until the time that he couldn't play and he had cancer of the larynx. He played, uh, the violin, the clarinet, the, uh, horn,

Voice 21: the saxophone

Voice 20: The saxophone, the flute, piccolo. I can't think of anything else that he -- Oh, drums, he could play. Anything he didn't play was the piano and I took music lessons on the piano and that's how I got started. And, uh, I can't remember anything more, can you?

MNK: Was he a trained musician? Did he

Voice 20: Yes. Yes, in Poland, in Poland.

MNK: Where did he study?

Voice 20: That, he, uh, grew up in an area called, uh, Lublin. Uh, we don't know too much about his background, but, evidently, uh, it was a musical (367) family. His brother John, he came to the, uh, the states with his older brother, John. Did Uncle John play?

Voice 21: No.

Voice 20: No, he didn't play.

Voice 21: He came to Buffalo to work

Voice 20: Yeah. Buffalo, that's where they landed

Voice 21: And, then he came here.

Voice 20: And, uh, married, uh, my mother and.

MNK: How did they meet?

Voice 20: Well, actually, Olga's mother and my father were married and she died in the flu epidemic after World War One. And, then he married my mother. And, uh,

Voice 21: They met right here in this area.

MNK: And, your dad worked in the, uh,

Voice 20: Worked as a mu, -- Er, he was a musician until the Depression. And, then he had to go and find other, uh, -- Work for musicians naturally fell off, these people didn't have money for all the, uh, the things that or the (386) activities or the performances that they used to do. So, then he went into the mines. And, he worked in the mines. And, uh, that was it.

MNK: What did he, what did he do in the mines? Can you talk about that?

Voice 20: Uh, he, uh, he had a pick ax so he had to, uh, you know, chop into the walls, get the coal out ..., and one time he was, he had a severe eye injury but that healed up pretty well. And, I can remember -- What flood was it, the '36 flood? They had to come through, uh, water in order to get home in order to help the family get the furniture out the house. We had an old upright piano that played the, uh, rolls, and it was on the first floor. And, every flood up until, what, 19, oh -- I was married and we all, we still had it. But, anyhow, his neighbors and friends would come and they would cart the piano from our house all the way up to the auditorium of the school. And, that's up one, two, three flights of stairs. But, they were good friends and they did it every time. And then, finally, they said me if I wanted to hold onto the piano and I said, "No," 'cause I had an organ of my own by (412) that time. And, they finally, what sold it?

Voice 21: Sold it.

Voice 20: Sold it. Um-hum.

Voice 21: Another flood was coming up and the old buddies were too old.

MNK: So you were, you were born into this church?

Voice 20: Yes.

Voice 21: I was, too.

Voice 20: I, uh, was born in '23 over on Jacob Street and we moved to, uh, Eoff Street in 1926, and my family was a member of this church, well from the time it was, uh, built.

Voice 21: I was born in 1917 and I was baptized here. And, the school was here -- All my life. In fact, I've lived in the same house since 1925.

Voice 20: And, our grandparents lived in this area and they were in with the original parishioners.

Voice 21: They were one of the, uh, founders of the parish.

MNK: So, this church means a lot to you.

Voice 21: Oh, ho, everything. Everything. Everything is right.

MNK: How do you feel about the, uh, the proposal to consolidate this church?

Voice 21: Terrible.

Voice 20: She gets emotional when she even talks about it. (Laughs)

MNK: Sorry.

Voice 20: That's alright. That's alright. Let's you know exactly how she (441) feels. We all do. But, uh, oh, Lord, having grown up in this area, having gone to school. We had the nuns teaching us and, of course, we were in the children's choir, and we had the ... and then we had the, uh, grown-up choir, the older ones. Just kind of graduated from school into the big choir, as they called it. And, uh, every Christmas, every Easter,

Voice 21: Everything is here.

Voice 20: And, after I was married and my husband and I, we bought a house out Big Wheeling Creek. Uh, we, actually, should have belonged to St. Alphonsus, but since we had the association within church -- St. Vincent's right. Since we had the association with this church and this church had no boundary, really, uh, we could still remain as parishioners here. And, uh

Voice 21: She travels (Laughs)

Voice 20: Still traveling. And,

MNK: Are y'all going to be here tomorrow?

Voice 20: Oh, yes.

MNK: Why don't we continue this conversation?

Voice 20: That would be fine.

Voice 21: We might find more to tell you. (Laughs) Yeah. My name is Delores Skrzypek. We always made these for our street fairs but this is sort of like a fund raising project. And it's sort of special this year because this may be the last year for us. You know, and this brings a little sentimental feeling around you.In addition to what we're making, of course, we all have a lot of fun. People who come in to buy the pierogi are former parishioners and, you know. You see people you haven't seen for years sometimes. And this is the great part about it. Everybody gets together and we laugh, and we eat. And, uh, just think. We're supposed to close the church in '95 and so after that, you know, there will be no, no reasons for fund raising then. At least, this is how we feel, you know. There won't be the same feeling here.

MNK: Why is the church closing down?

DS: Because of the shortage of priests, shortage of priests, they have to share the priests and, uh, it's pretty hard for him to, uh, um, well local finances I'm sure. The other churches can't, uh, you know, for financial reasons is another reason, and for the declining population in this area.

MNK: Uh-huh.

DS: You know. And, uh, they feel, uh, they feel that particularly in our parish, we don't have too many young people. We don't have too many young people in, they move out of the area.The people around here now are probably around fifty, in the fifties and going into late eighties. We have some in the nineties. We have one parishioner that's, um, she's ninety-eight, she just broke her hip.

MNK: So this was a, this was a decision of the parishioners themselves to close the church?

DS: Oh, no, no, no. We're hurt because we manage very well. We didn't, we were not in debt. We had some reserves. And the parishioners themselves attended the services all the time and we had many services here that they did not have in other churches. And this is what we don't understand, why we're closing since we're not in debt and we were able to manage. And yet they, the bishop feels that, you know, this is, I don't, I don't want to say it's the bishop, it's the committee, the pastor, you know, the committee that he had assigned to study different congregations around here. The Committee decided this is the best thing to do is just to make St. Alphonsus the parish that we would belong to. But then they will eventually change that name too to combine the St. Mary's, St. Lad's, and St. Alphonsus. So you could tell just by looking at the ladies, you could see we're all getting up in years here.

DS: Well, we had Polish school here. I went to the Polish school, grade school. Um, we have a playground. I live by the playground and it we always spent a lot of time at the playground. My mother died when I was a young girl, very young. And so the neighborhood, there was practically all Polish. You know, we never worried about being out late. Well, they had a ten o'clock curfew but then all the kids never get into any trouble, not that I remember. And I come from a large, well seven of us in our family. I was the youngest, but then, they all had, uh, big families in my neighborhood. And we played together and we played the usual games that the kids played, you know. You had to do your chores at home and then you went out and played. You had to do your chores at home first, and then you played hide and seek, or we use to have cans and you used to kick the cans as far as you could down the alley. And then, oh we went swimming, we'd go swimming on Wednesdays at the Ritchie School. We went to, that was always nice, that was a treat for us. We went to, uh, swimming at Ritchie School. There was a, an older, there was a woman in the neighborhood. She used to teach the children how to dance the Polish dance. I don't know, what did they call that Polish dance. Do you remember what they called them? Polka Bianca? They had Polish costumes, the vests were all sequined and white skirts. And this woman, she taught them how to dance and how to play the piano and the violin. Then, we had different organizations in the church here. They use to have picnics, they'd have them out Lansing, Polish day. They had a Polish day and on Polish day I think they had for the different years, your pierogi and your cabbage rolls and then different kind of pastries.We always had our Polish Mass once a month. But years ago, well we use to have processions. We would have a May Procession in our schools over on Forty-Fifth Street and, and the children would all be in white dresses and then you had garlands of flowers, you know. We would have banners, and have all kind of flowers on these banners. And we use to march from the school all around the church and we had a May Queen. The May Queen and her court would be around six girls. That was always a big thing, a May Procession. And then in May we had the May Devotions Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, I think it was, yeah. And then in October, the dedication of the month of Mary, we always had devotions, Rosary Devotions in October. And then you had devotions in Advent and Lent. Now Advent starts in December. You came to church three times a week in Advent. So everything was centered around church. I made my First Communion here and funerals were here. My parents were buried from this church. I don't know when the school closed but back in those days we studied Polish and English up to the eighth grade. You had your Polish religion and English religion, uh, Polish history, English history. So, uh, we never felt like we were lacking anything. We felt like we had it all. I think we did. We had the Polish nuns. They were the Felician Order, and their mother house is at Coraopolis. We had the nuns here until last year. After the school closed, the nuns stayed here and they took care of the church, seeing that the altar was always ready and they had things ready for the priest. And then they went to visit the sick. and they gave Communion to the sick and it was just last year that the Mother Superior decided to take them, you know--Well they were getting up in age, one especially was getting up in age and the other one had to serve in another parish.

AY: My name is Anna Yourchuck. We had a large family, you know. And we always made pierogi. Maybe every second week. We use to make pierogi out of different things, out of prunes, longhorn, and, uh, fried cabbage. You can make them out of sauerkraut and put your potatoes in there, and they make it out of meat, too. And they got left over meat,like a roast beef or when you boil the beef, you could grind it up, doctor it up, make pierogi. Lot of people do it for Sunday, they got the dough, you know.

AY: My dad came here from Czechoslovakia. He was probably about five years old and he went to school here. And my mother, she come from Europe to Chicago. And, uh, I don't know how my dad ever got to her. That's something I never knew. But he went to Chicago and they were married. Cause he was from here, he was here from Benwood. But then he came back in 1920 and has been here ever since. I'm eighty years old. I don't feel like it, I'll tell you right now.But my mother never made pierogi like this. She rolled her dough out, then she cut it into squares, and all uniform. I was just wondering a lot of times how she ever did it. My mother cut hers out of, it was glass too. But my mother made them, it was squares, and she wouldn't have no dough left, and it was all uniform. And sh e would pinch it to three quarters like, you know. So when I got married, my mother-in-law was doing like this, so I says to her, "I never had, never seen anything like that." So when we started making them in church, that's how we did it, so we're doing it from then on. But I think it's better. I think it goes quicker. But some of my family still rolls the,dough into a great big like a slab, you know, and cuts it with the glass, or you know, like I said, with squares. I went to school here 1925, about 1920, 21 or 22 and all them years. Went to Polish school for about, I think three years, and I learned how to read and write in Polish. And my mother, I'd come home, uh, from school and I'd want my mother to teach me. My mother never had an education, you know. People coming from Europe at that time, they don't have much education. So, she says, "I can't help you." I cried like a fool, but I learned to read as good as any Polack. But I'm Slavish, you know, Slav. I don't know whether our church is going to go or not, you know, so we're going to, this is going to be for a special fund. We're going to keep it just ourselves, in case there's any repairs in our church or anything, we'll have the money. We got over seven hundred dozens, you know. That's a lot of pierogi. We make that much for our street fair too, but this is only for orders. But, uh, we do good. We have our street fairs and we make in two days what people make in three days, cause, you know, we got the ethnic food, cabbage and noodles and kielbasa and, well, pierogi, what else? But, we have nice turn out, very nice turn out. We have an orchestra and everything else and people like to dance and eat. Everybody's likes cabbage and noodles, you know. Ever eat it, you ever eat it? It's good. We come here six thirty this morning to work. Yesterday we peeled potatoes and onions. I peeled about forty pounds of onions and I didn't cry. I'm the onion peeler. We had it nice[growing up in Wheeling]. We had a lot of stores here. Anything you wanted you had it. Now everything's, you know, moved away and when one store takes over, it's Kroger's. The other stores don't have a chance. Makes it hard, you know. You don't have no transportation on Sunday, it's gone. But we had anything you ever thought of, we had within five blocks. Everything. Two shoe makers, funeral home, got three butcher shop. You name it, what you want. We had everything here. Had a shoe store and a butcher shop on the other corner, Norteman's and Wensyl's up there on another corner. Yeah we had it, it was nice and you didn't have to go anywhere. Now today you have to take a bus. But, of course, I took a cab cause I can't walk too much, you know.

Voice ?: My name is _________. I was born and raised here, belonged to this church seventy-two years. I was baptized in this church. That's the truth. My mother had nine children and we all grew up around here, all were born and baptized in this community. My dad came to this country when he was fourteen years old and he went to work in the coal mine. And then he become a baker after that. He worked in the Bond Bakery. It's nation wide so you might, might have heard of it, Bond Bakery. He died when he was seventy-seven years old, my mother died when she was seventy-seven years old, seven years after my dad died. I hope I can live till I'm seventy-seven. Wouldn't that be nice?Our parents built this church, mortgaged houses and all to build this church, but it ain't ours, no way. Belongs to the diocese. No church in this world don't belong to the individual, everything belongs to the diocese. They want to close it. We don't want it closed. We're fighting, we don't want it closed. Where's all these people gonna go? Take a look at us, half of us use canes. In fact, I do too, I got mine hanging over there on that door. But we come to work, to save our church, there's that. I don't know what they're gonna do, it'll be, they're gonna do something. June '95. Maybe they'll give us a Mass or two Masses a week and that's it so I don't know. We're not in need of money because we are self supporting. We have a street fair, we make as high as twenty-two thousand dollars every street fair, two days. And we make these pierogi, we'll make over two thousand dollars, sometimes three. We've already made twenty-four, twenty-four, twenty-five hundred dollars, we made already just, you know, just on pierogies.

Jane Murry: My name is Jane Murray. Right now, I think I'm having a little bit of fun peeling some potatoes. My mother use to make all kinds of pierogi. She made potato with cream cheese, you know, like we're making now. She use to make them out of sauerkraut, she made them out of cottage cheese. And then some people use to make them out of prunes but my mother never made those. But they were good too. I mainly like for Christmas,

JM: Well I had, uh, three brothers and two sisters. We all live in the same neighborhood, Forty-Fifth Street and Forty-Sixth Street. It's a good neighborhood, friendly neighborhood. THEY'LL ALL GO TO THE UKRANIAN CHURCH

Eddie ?: My name is Eddie. I live over on Forty-Fifth Street and Wetzel. And, oh, I don't know what's gonna happen. If they take our church, it won't be good. They say they ain't got enough priests. They send priests down here to have our Masses. Yeah, so what can you do? The bishop tells you, "You gotta go, you gotta go." Even our own Polish priest, he don't approve of having the church down here. But what can you tell them. I can't see why they should bother this church when down from Benwood to Moundsville, there's four churches. Understand? Does it make sense them having four churches and we got one from here up to St. Alphonsus and the Cathedral? Don't make sense. The older people, how are they gonna get up to St. Alphonsus or the Cathedral? They can't, too old to drive, most of the people here are elderly people. Why you can see how old most of them are right here. So that's what people are all complaining from this parish, cause this is a pretty nice community. So what can you do? They don't don't owe nobody anything. Everything's paid for and they got money in the bank so, what, what can you say to them? You can't say a word. The bishop's's supposed to be the boss but when it comes down to that, you know what's going to happen? They all will go up to the Ukrainian church So, that's what's going to happen. WE'RE A FAMILY

Stacy Kogut: My name is Stacy Kogut. I said there's a lot of Polish and community pride here at St. Ladislaus. We're very proud of our parish and we take care of it. We volunteer for a lot of things. We maintain a lot of the traditions here and I think it's going to turn around. I think the younger people will eventually see how important heritage and traditions and all are. I'm just concerned that our Polish heritage will be ended if the Polish church is closed to even some degree. I know the rumor is that we'll have Sunday Mass, but we congregate here. We're a family, we depend on each other for a lot of things and I think we love each other. There are a lot of parishes in our diocese that have trouble filling when there's a funeral. And that's very disheartening to the people who have lost someone. At St. Ladislaus, you do see people come and there's usually a meal afterward. And we gather together in fellowship with the people who are grieving and I think it, it gives them a sense that we really care for them, which we do. We have a full choir anytime there is a funeral Mass. There are usually about thirteen, fourteen singers here and I think it's very important that we maintain all these traditions we have had here at St. Ladislaus. We have a lot of activity here. It's unbelievable. We know that we're closing up and yet we're still doing exactly what we have done in the past. You can see by this gathering that we stick together and we enjoy what we're doing and, uh, I don't know what will happen though when the church closes. One of the services that we do around Christmas time is that we have a box where we gather little presents for the Baby Jesus. It can be rattles or socks or little clothes for a child, a newborn. And the first baby to be baptized into the parish, all this goes to that baby. So that shows family, that shows a great deal of concern for people. Um, uh, let's see, and other cold gifts When our pastors have come in, we've always had a really nice gathering for them, a welcome for them, or when they've gone away, we always present some kind of a little skit or something. The last pastor that we lost was Father D, and we had a sing-a-long and Nancy Klamut had made a little fan with a handle. And on one side it was the picture of a lamb. And we sang, uh, "The Whip-a-Poo Song" and when we sang"Ba Ba Ba," we would hold that up and, you know, make it sound like a lamb crying and everything. And it was very entertaining, people enjoyed it.

Voice 12: And then concern for each other, how are we showing it? We're not just concerned about our own parish, we have gone out into other parishes too. There have been other churches that have had no choirs and they've asked us to sing and we have gone very willingly to sing at the funerals and also a Fiftieth Anniversary up at St. Alphonsus. We've gone up there because they wanted a Mass in Latin and we do sing a Mass in Latin so we did it at his celebration, for his Jubilee. SHE WALKED ON MANY OCCASIONS TO POLISH MASS

Frank Kogut: My name is Frank Kogut. The people of St. Ladislaus will have a procession or something like that just to drop them a note. And we really like processions around here That's one of things that makes me really love this church. I'm not from this area originally. I'm about a twenty-five year veteran. But my roots are right here in this town and mostly in the Fulton area of South Wheeling. And my Uncle Pete came over here as an immigrant first and settled right over there in the area which is now the Swing Club. And he got a job at what later became the Blaw-Knox plant and he made a little bit of money. He sent my mom seventy-five dollars to come over as a seventeen year old girl, that's what it cost to bring her over here. And she came over and she settled, she lived over there with my uncle and, in Fulton. And she walked on many occasions down to this church, to come to this Polish church and Polish Mass. And she was working at the time as a domestic in, I think it was the McClure and she had to work on Sundays. So, the first chance she had of getting a job where she didn't have to work on Sundays, she moved over to the Windsor Hotel, worked in the kitchen there because she'd have Sundays off and she was able to come to Mass. Occasionally, the street car came down to this area, but most of the time, they would walk. So my roots are here. I spent forty plus years working out there in the Blaw-Knox plant. So I have a real warm feeling for this area. And I can understand with just being here roughly twenty-five years, you know, what these people who spent their lifetimes here are going through with, what is going on here.

Voice ?: My name is _________________. I was born into this church. And, our grandparents lived in this area and they were in with the original parishioners. They were one of the founders of the parish.This church means a lot to us. Everything. Everything is right. POLISH-ASMERICAN RHYTHM TEAMS. Has anyone, uh, given you any information about the, uh, Polish American Rhythm Teams, or the Mamushka Orchestra, a small symphonic orchestra down in this area? My father, came from Poland when he was seventeen and he was a musician and he taught music, he wrote music. Some of the men that are young boys that he taught music, became members of the Polish American Rhythm Teams. And they played for all the weddings, the dances, picnics, whatever in this area until World War II. And, of course, the fellows were called into the service and after the war they got back together again, but then, they had to scatter for work and things like that so that was the end of that. But before the Polish American Rhythm Teams, we had a small symphonic orchestra in this area, the Mamushka Orchestra. Mamushka was a famous Polish musician and it was named after him. And my father taught that small symphonic orchestra. And then he played in the Original Wheeling Band, Summer's Marching Band. And that was the forerunner of the Wheeling Symphony, wasn't it? He played in that. But it was local people here, who were members of both the Mamushka and the Polish American Rhythm Teams. And in the band, the smallest guy played the big bass fiddle. And they played on radio for about five years, I would say, until World War on WWVA. And a march was their opening number and the Helena Polka was their closing number. And in between they played strictly Polish music. The weddings they played at lasted three days. The wedding took place like on a Saturday, and then they had what they call a Polka Revenee, which is, okay we're gonna do it all over again. And usually the young couple didn't leave for the honeymoon until the third day because the relatives and everybody stayed and you went--Like we use to have all the weddings over at the Polish Hall, the auditorium at the school. And everybody went back. You went back for Polka Revenee, and also for the third day, some that were still.[It all started with] the blessing at the home, and they would have musicians at the home originally and you would be blessed, the couple would be blessed. Would kneel in front of their fathers and mothers. Traditionally, the groom never saw the bride until you get to church, and not in the Polish. The groom and the bride, they were at the bride's house and the parents would give a blessing and they would come to church and then usually the reception was held at the Polish Auditorium. And the bride and groom were greeted by what, what did we call them? Remember with the salt, the bread and the salt? But anyhow they were greeted by an elderly couple, not necessarily related to them. What's that couple, what did they call? Sparashtena, right. Okay, and they would have salt and bread and they would sprinkle the salt on the bread and the young couple would eat it. And that was so that they would always have the salt of the earth, and food to sustain them in their marriage. And then the wedding would take place. Oh, then in the evening, before everybody scattered, they would have the unveiling of the bride. She would be in a circle and people would, especially women, would be all around her and they would sing. They would sing, and the maid of honor would be in the circle with the bride. And they would sing about her future as a married woman, and at the end they would take her veil off and put it on the maid of honor and tie an apron around her waist. Now she's a wife. And also they had what they called the Betetanus, before that bridal dance. Use to be that everyone tried to keep the groom away from the bride. They would be dancing and the idea was to keep the groom away. And people would give money so that they could dance with the bride. And originally they use to have dishes and after you finished dancing with the bride, they gave you a plate to break. I have no idea why. But they would do that for a length of time and then finally they would allow the groom to claim his bride. And it was after that that they had the unveiling. Oh, nice traditions, we don't do them anymore and it's a shame. The band would play. Oh yeah, they would play and they would play and they would play and they would play. It use to be weddings were three days long. And then the baptisms were something else. The christenings were something else too. Remember when they had a christening? That's how I found out, when you had good moonshine. When my brother, Al, was baptized, my uncle came from, Reading, Pennsylvania and he brought some home made moonshine. And I can remember them taking it out of the bottle and putting it in a little saucer, and they put a match to it. And if the flame was nice and blue, that was good stuff. [Dead] people weren't in funeral homes then, it was always at home. And then in procession, they use to have banners and they would walk to the church and carry the body to the church and then the funeral Mass would take place. AT LEAST ONE POLISH HYMN.

Carolyn McCorney: My name is Carolyn McComey. I was born in the house [just down the street]. And when I was three years old we moved from Jacob Street to Eoff Street. And I lived there until I got married. I was married in this church. I'll probably be buried from it too, I hope. I hope. I'm the organist and so I put my soul in my music and the choir goes right along with me. We sing the Polish, yeah, at every Mass we have at least one Polish hymn. And we still have the one Polish Mass a month. As a matter of fact, Father Ted is going to have a Mass for All Souls Wednesday evening at seven and it's going to be in Polish. And it's going to be totally Polish. And we're going to have Liquimenke, a, uh, Liquimenke is prayers for the dead. The names are on the altar for the whole month, those who have died since last All Souls Day. How do we feel about the proposal to consolidate this church? Not acceptable. Not acceptable. That's a sore spot. We would so love to keep this church and I really do believe that we need to have one down here. I think there's too much of a distance from St. Alphonsus down to St. John's if they close this church. We need something in between, especially for people who over the years, have no reason to drive or whatever, and they walk to church. We have a lot of people who walk to church. And we did a little research about what it would cost to go up to the Cathedral or whatever, and the cost of taxi to go up and down would be prohibitive for a lot of these people. You know, four Sundays a month plus the Holy Days and special days, it would be a financial hardship. It would.

MNK: Supposing the diocese provided a bus?

CM: Then we would probably have to provide for the upkeep, plus try to get everybody together. And we were told it would be our problem. Yes, we were told that right here in this hall. It would be our problem how to get up there. Now you tell that to some of these ladies from here. I think, uh, what Ed what said would probably occur. We would probably all find ourselves up at the Ukrainian church. Especially those who walk. That's probably where they would go. Or watch the mass on TV. GETTING HOME FOR VILLIO

Stacy Kogut: I just want to tell you one thing, too. I just want to tell you how very important our religion and our church is to us. I just remembered a story. I lived in Cleveland and, uh, for every, every Christmas we would get together and we have a big Villio. All the Polish have Villio which is the Christmas Eve Dinner. It was so important to me to get here that I tried every mode of transportation. I was promised a ride and that fell through. A friend of mine drove me down to the train station. I took a train into Pittsburgh. It was a very, very bad night. My brother had come up to get me at the Pittsburgh station. He had to leave because the trains were so late because of the weather was so bad. It was snowy and it was just terrible. So, he had to leave and I decided to take a bus home. I had no money. I had to cash a check for like two or three dollars to get my bus fair home. I didn't anticipate all this. And, I finally got home at about four or five in the morning. But the urge was so strong to get home to my family, you know, I made every effort to do it. And I think most of us feel the same way about it. So, I just wanted to tell you that story.

MNK: What would it mean to you if they do close this church?

SK: Well, I'll tell you this is a really big part of my life. A lot of the social life is in this church. Friends are in this church. And, I remember a parishioner quite a number of years ago said that if this is not a place where a lot of the activity occurs in your life, then the church is not doing its proper work. And I think we've been able to achieve that here at St. Ladislaus. I think other churches are trying but I think we've really achieved it. So it would, it would be a tragedy. For me, it would.

Frank Kogut: I'd like to add, too, that a church is not just the mortar and the brick. It's the people in the church. That's the church in my estimation and here, you know, it's just a special bond between the people of this parish and, and -- I just can't envision it being any other way, really. We have a lot of faith in our Lord and especially in our Blessed Lady. And, we just keep thinking that somehow she's going to pull us through. Right? I think the last time we talked, I talked about the picture over there, do you remember that? Do you recall that? It's the hanging picture over there with the gold border on the edge. It goes back in the Seventeeth Century where the young people of Poland, they walk for three, three, four days and nights to get there for Holy Week, for Holy Thursday. And my mother made that [pilgrimage] when she was probably around fourteen or fifteen years old and they walked through the day and maybe spend the night in somebody's barn or something like that. In Poland to this day they still do that. They still have these marches where the younger people walk. And, to me, that's telling you a lot about the Polish traditions and the religion and this is the thing we try to maintain here. Those traditions that they need to pass on to the other people because that's where it's going to be with our younger people.When the family gets together for Villio and the breaking of the Polish bread, it's usually the duty of the father to start it off and he has a little Polish saying there that, "This is for health and life and a good life on this earth and an eternal crown in the next life." That's what it sort of comes out to in English. And that's why my wife was talking about how it's so important to be there on Christmas Eve for that. That's the family bond, something that we really cherish, you know. And, you don't find that in the other churches around here, really. I talked earlier about processions and stuff like that. A couple years back the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was here in the Diocese in this area. Where are they going to have it here? So send it down to St. Ladislaus because that's, you know, that's where they have all the processions. So, that's where it was brought. And, this church was filled to the rafters for like a two hour ceremony with the statue, and the people just stayed, young and old. That's what our religion is based on really, traditions.

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