While growing up in Illinois my Sunday afternoons were dictated by family rules. Sunday was considered God's day, a day of rest. But also, Sunday was set apart from the rest of the week as a family day. We were not allowed to visit our friends or have the neighbor kids over. The day was intentioned as one the family would spend together.
On Sunday mornings my sister and I would eat our breakfast while dressed in our cotton slips so as not to spill food on our Sunday best dresses that would be worn over our undergarments for Sunday School. Mom would brush our hair, my eyes would water as she tugged at the snarls. Dad would tie the dress bows at the back of our waists while we stood as still as possible in black patent leather strapped shoes that pinched our toes. He would then place a quarter in each of our palms to take to Sunday school class for the offering.
After Sunday school class we would climb up the stairs from the church basement and congregate in the chapel for the Sunday sermon with our parents. The pews were hard to sit upon--no cushioned seats. In summertime, the sweat would pour off of our faces as we sang hymns while the minister's wife pounded away on the piano keys--no air conditioning. I could seldom keep my attention on the pastor's preachy words -- my mind often floating to far away places or choosing to mentally count the pine knots decorating the wooden walls to help the boredom pass more quickly.
Sunday dinner would consist of an overly-charred pot roast thanks to a long-winded minister that kept my mother away from home to pull it out of the oven before the natural juices had dried up--no crockpots in the sixties.
The afternoon was a quiet time. Dad would read the "funnies" often chortling out loud at the antics of Blondie or Marmaduke. He would also keep his eye on the television for ballgames. Mom would be sewing or reading her Family Circle and Woman's Day magazines. I would often spend the afteroon in my bedroom with my nose in a Nancy Drew novel, or reading pages from The World Book Encyclopdia. Later in the afternoon Dad might be persuaded to go outside and play a game of croquet or badmitton with my older sister and me. Or, we'd all climb into the Ford and go for a drive. We would cruise the different neighborhoods and look at the houses other people lived in. In the fall we would head out into the country to view the color changes on the landscapes.
Sunday night we usually attended the evening services at the church. After returning home my Dad would watch Bonanza on our black and white television. We didn't have supper on Sunday evening, this was the one meal each week that mom got a break from cooking. We would pop some popcorn or have a scoop of ice cream to tide us over until Monday morning breakfast.