The Steeple

Gonggg! …Gonggg! …Gonggg!

Bells are ringing out across the rooftops. I have to cover my ears, they’re so loud. And to my six-year-old eyes, the church’s tall steeple looks like it’s trying to touch the sky.

The parade is starting! From up the street at Lajoie Avenue, the girls in white dresses are walking down the middle of Outremont, heading for the big wide staircase of Église Sainte-Madeleine d’Outremont. They’re going to end up smack across from me – I’m standing on my Bubby’s balcony at number 753, looking right at the church – it is number 750.

STEEPLE 8.01.01 PM

Mummy tells me they’re marching because it’s their Confirmation. I wish I could have one of those… but she tells me I can’t because it’s only for Catholics. I gaze at their beautiful dresses, like wedding gowns, and they have flowers, too. I’m jealous. But Mummy says we don’t have Confirmations because we’re Jewish. I don’t care, I still want one so I can wear the white dress. I also don’t get to have a Christmas tree, either. It’s not fair.

Oh, there’s Bubby’s neighbour, Mr. Laplante. He has a nice smile, but he doesn’t speak hardly any English. Zaidy comes out, he has no problem with that, he talks French with Mr. Laplante. I wish I could understand them. They must be having a good time, they’re sort of laughing.

Mummy told me once that when Bubby and Zaidy came to Canada a very long time ago, they first lived in Quebec City. And there they learned to talk in French even before they learned English! I think that’s amazing, that they only spoke Yiddish and French! Zaidy learned in his tailor shop from his customers, and Bubby learned a bit in the stores where she shopped. But she didn’t learn as well as Zaidy, I guess because she didn’t speak it every day like he did.

The girls are filing into the church. Zaidy’s asking me now if I want to go get ice cream. Oh yes I do! I take his hand and we go up the street to Robil’s. Their ice cream is delicious! I have the best ice cream and the best Zaidy and the best Mummy in the world. Even if I can’t have a Confirmation.



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