When I was growing up, my Sunday activities varied little over the years.

On Sunday mornings, my mother, grandmother and I went to the early service at Grace Lutheran Church. As I remember, we rarely missed going to this service.

Although I was a regular church attendee, I never attended Sunday school. The female members of my family believed that the one-hour church service would be enough to do my soul good.

When we returned home from church around 10 o’clock, I would sometimes be able to read the comics, but usually I would have to wait until later in the day when the adults finished reading them.

After lunch and in good weather, my grandfather liked to take a long walk, and I usually accompanied him.

We generally logged 4-5 miles with a stop at a drug store so he could buy a supply of cigars.

During these walks my grandfather would point out places of interest.

Over the seven years that we walked, I saw the two homes in which Hemingway lived; the home of Frank Lloyd Wright; the cottage where Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, had lived; the home of Robert St. John, the war correspondent and author; and the childhood home of the psychologist Carl Rogers, just to name a few places of significance.

My grandfather was a friend of the newspaper columnist and Sherlock Holmes expert, Vincent Starrett, and occasionally we would meet him when we walked south on Oak Park Avenue. Mr. Starrett lived at the Oak Manor Hotel [Write Inn], and he would often invite us to join him for tea in the hotel restaurant.

Mr. Starrett got me so interested in Sherlock Holmes that I became a lifelong Sherlockian.

On the Sundays when we walked, my grandfather and I would eat an early lunch so that we could arrive home in time to listen to ball games on his Philco radio or, after 1952, watch the games on our RCA television. The only teams we followed were the Chicago Cardinals and the White Sox.

After supper during the school year, I would go to my room in order to study and to complete school assignments. I did not have access to a phone, a radio or a television. This lack of access was written in stone.

During the summer months and after church, the routine was much the same, except that after supper I would play baseball until it got dark, and then I would watch television with the rest of the family. I was in bed by 10:30.

After my grandfather died in 1955, I stopped going for Sunday walks, and instead, during the fall, I would watch the Cardinals, and in the winter I’d either go to the movies with a couple of friends or, if not, I would simply read and do homework until supper time.

Yes, I was a person of habit, but I always had a plan on how I would spend Sundays.

John Stanger is a lifelong resident of Oak Park, a 1957 graduate of OPRF High School, married with three grown children and five grandchildren, and a retired English professor  (Elmhurst College). Living two miles from where he grew up, he hasn’t gotten far in 76 years.

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