I must have been nine years old. We had an electrical fire in Apartment Six of 1261 Leland Avenue. Pop put out the flames with flour. There was no substantial damage except that we lost electricity.
To a kid in the 50s, the loss of electricity meant no TV, no record player, but it was no TV that was the gamechanger. But my father had the answer.
First, he had a stockpile of what he called “plumbers” candles that provided our light. Then, he went out and bought a bunch of games and prizes that provided our family entertainment for the weekend that was no longer going to be long or boring.
We played cards (Crazy Eights primarily) and bingo and Monopoly and had snacks while we played. It was a great time, and I never missed TV for the entire weekend.
In fact, when we finally got our power back on Sunday afternoon, I wasn’t at all excited and wanted to continue playing games, which we did.
On another occasion, when my family was facing another crisis, games weren’t the vehicle that brought us together. This time it was prayer.
It was October in 1962. I was now twelve years old and in the seventh grade. The crisis that faced my family was not a loss of power but a fear of the use of power.
The Soviet Union was engaged in a game of chicken with the United States. Premier Khrushchev was calling President Kennedy’s bluff.
The Soviet Union sent nuclear missiles to Cuba, and Kennedy told Kruschev to knock it off.
On the night when things were getting tense, my mother led the family in the Rosary, on our knees.
We prayed for Divine Intervention when we were facing total annihilation, and we were granted salvation.
I am not sure which story applies more to our current situation.
Perhaps both apply equally.
At a time when many of us are forced to stay inside our homes, a little fun time with our family might be just what the doctor ordered.
Then, too, a little praying wouldn’t hurt.