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Part 1: Boyhood

Most people, when church is mentioned, think of church buildings ....so for those people I have included a collection of churches that should please the most selective souls. http://clubweb.interbaun.com/~jtidridge/churches.
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Most people, when church is mentioned, think of church buildings ....so for those people I have included a collection of churches that should please the most selective souls.

http://clubweb.interbaun.com/~jtidridge/churches.htm If this opens for you, you will find an eclectic collection of Alberta [mostly Edmonton] churches. It is quite amazing how varying the designs are.

For those who think of churches as people, here we go: Here are my own experiences as a young boy. My parents shipped me off to Sunday School at about 5 years of age. At some point this included church! And, to the utter amazement of some, I eventually joined the church choir at my home church of Eling St. Mary's, Church of England, near Southampton, UK. More on that later.

I do not remember too much about Sunday School except I had some very understanding teachers. Then I was not the example of good behavior I now am. Sunday School was fun!!! Teachers absolutely the best and patient. We learned Bible stories, bible verses and hymns. Choruses then were the bits in between the verses! End of year concerts, where we kids took part in singing and acting and probably eating, were great fun. I won many prizes for good attendance. They were good years.

Church attendance was considered a natural follow-on to Sunday School and I was soon in full attendance. One looked forward to the day when one could take Holy Communion. This, of course, required Confirmation classes. The course was led by Captain Wardle of the Church Army. From my recollections, his courage in attending and completing the sessions, with unruly boys, would have earned him an easy entry at the Pearly Gates. A six week learning program culminated in a special church service where one was blessed by the Bishop. I found the service very meaningful, I did not know why then, but I do now!

On a dare I tried out for the *church choir: I am sure the choir master was short of a boy or two. My friend and I sang for him, at his home, and I was engaged to sing in the choir. We were paid three shillings and sixpence a quarter. Order of dress: Stiff collar with a bow tie, cassock and surplice. One had to be [unofficially] imitated into some ancient tribe I think was called the Ancient Order of Washer Women...but I may be mistaken. This required being thrown into a holly bush by other choir members. Fortunately, not being the smallest singer in the choir, I was allowed to leap from a nearby tombstone into the bush!

It was a full choir: basses, tenors, altos sopranos, and trebles, us lads. I had my first cigarette [and the last for many years] , under a street light just outside the church gates. I did eventually learn...

It was a great experience: I attended a couple of 'churches joined for the occasion' concerts, learned several anthems and a love for music...not recognized at the time I am sure! , Those were the days!!

It was good to think of the teachers, choir leaders and members who were so dedicated and caring. And, patient.

I still love music, any kind of music, that has a bit of a beat!