Sunday, May 31, 2015

Changing American Demographics - St. Joan of Arc School Harrowgate Philadelphia - 1957

In a changing American demographic from white to moca, from urban to suburban, from blue collar to white collar and or pajama (work from home), the boomers have been on a ride of a lifetime.

Saint Joan of Arc in Harrowgate Philly is defunct. It as a building designed by famed British architect George A. Audsley as his last project, in his eighties, the building still functions as a “charter” school, whatever that is.

The church, the parish was officially dissolved in 2013, merged with 3 or 4 other ethnic enclave churches, just as much for lack of attendance and or interest in the ancient Christ myth as the fact that celibacy and a lack of numbers in the priesthood make serving in the sheep with good shepherds impossible. That and the AD of Philly had millions to pay for decades of corrupt buggery hidden from view etc. Needed to sell a lot of R/E.

In looking back this photo is the first grade class of boys circa 1957 and there is 62 kids reporting this day for the photo, probably the official - take your kids photo day marketing thing. The nuns, the catholics were always nickeling and dime-ing the inmates in order to finance and survive, getting their cut on the promotions, Chocolate Bars, Half and Half lottery tickets on Bingo night, even shoes at one point but rather unsuccessfully I might add. The Nuns, women married to Christ and their faith, devoted their lives to us children. For that I am grateful but somehow the picture looks strange to me. It came into view the other day on some Facebook page and the comments there reflected re-awaking to memories, of childhood connections reconnected across the vastness of America now where many of these children and their sisters, siblings now live.

There are probably ten or so kids not present, out sick with sniffles etc. in this photo.

My first grade class numbered in the nineties for students, the baby boom yet to peak, in a latter first grade class, my own.
They used to bolt two of these old cast iron and wood desks together and sit three of us across. If you took a few sick days, you lost your place in the three across temporary daily seating thing. Lost your pencils and boxes of cardboard letters and numbers used as a teaching aide too etc. Lost in the shuffle of life.

Have to wonder in retrospect what was the effect of the baby boom on class size in the local public schools. But for us factory working, Irish Catholics and Italians mostly in this photo, parochial school was the only way to go. 

No PTA meetings and you did what you were told. And if you got out of line with a little ADHD? That was what the wooden ruler, wooden chalk board pointer was for - to crack over your knuckles on break over your back to get your attention – to focus. That did happen once with the chalk board pointer but at a higher grade level, bigger boys etc., but luckily not to me. Sounds terrible. LOL. But considering the memories I see mentioned in comments on Facebook, few remember the discipline.

The only thing I notice greatly between then and now, besides the numbers thing, size of the class, physical size of the room, was how white lower middle factory working class Harrowgate was in 1957.  

The demographics, they are a changin’.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Changing American Religious Landscape

To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans – roughly seven-in-ten – continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith.1 But the major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%. And the share of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths also has inched up, rising 1.2 percentage points, from 4.7% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2014. Growth has been especially great among Muslims and Hindus, albeit from a very low base.