14. The Devine Printing Company & slap heard thruout the Cathedral.
Located on Port Avenue directly behind the big HEB store at corner of Port & Leopard, and a Mobil gas station corner of Antelope & Port not shown. Across the street was Hasty Tasty restaurant. Us kids in the 1960s had two printing places to dig thru trash back then, great stuff, found pencils, paper, and great things only poor kids could love with imaginations could know of 50+ years ago. Paper airplanes could toss off I-37 overpass, cardboard pieces to stick in spokes in bikes to make them sound like motorcyles, but also take the things to school to enjoy. HEB trash dumpsters behind close by, so could catch mice & rats there also. Yep, we played with rats & gave them the dozen or so back at the house!
Mister Devine was a diminuative fellow, looked like Penn & Teller magician, the smaller guy who never speaks. His wife was just butt out crazy. We didn't have specialized fancy words to describe crazy back then. Loco, coo-coo, you name it. She wore a heavy coat with fur lined hat to Cathedral and one of the altar boys, maybe Danny Castro or Humberto Ramos, someone nick named her "The Easter Bunny". I was a altar boy at this time in 1960s (photo 1) which shows me at church, although not in my smock thing.
The Devines usually sat in middle of Cathedral where it splits pews if any of you ever been in this majestic church. (photo #2) Everyone would sit and stare wondering what would happen next when they sat down. This old Easter Bunny woman with a permanant scowl & cat eye glasses looked intimidating back then, especially to us kids. Priests like Monsignor Schmidt (photo #3 is Monsignor Schmidt, a heavy German man who loved popcorn) & Father White (he was a rookie) KNEW she was a nut job, as several stunts she had previous pulled off in this House of God: one time she walked right up to front alter (there were 2 of them, large back wall altar & smaller front alter to face people) and grabbed the new microphone and screamed" I WANT TO INVITE EVERYONE TO THE GLEN CAMPBELL GOODTIME HOUR TONIGHT AT 7:00PM ON CHANNEL 11" of course Father White silently stepped back and didn't intervien. We had electricity during this time over at the old crappy house at Doss & Antelope so you know we tuned in the see Glen Campbell's Goodtime Hour later that evening on the old black & white Zenith TV. Another time she reached into her Lincoln type stovepipe hat (with fur around top ha ha) and grabbed out a Whataburger! Sat there slurping on it, looked like Gallagher concert onions, lettuce flying everywhere, some parishioners chuckled, others rolled eyes, Mass went on, but boy, sure smelled good, Whataburgers always smell good. Another time she rolled orange down aisle towards alter. My dad said she was a loon.
And then there was THIS. I was about 9 years old, and serving Holy Communion holding my gold (gold looking) platter under people's chins as they lined up and Monsignor Schmidt (who was highest ranking priest in Corpus Christi) was giving out those wafers. Easter Bunny in my lane, no big deal, had served her before. This time she came up, Monsignor Schmidt said "Body of Christ" and she slowly turned to look at me and said CORPUS CHRISTI!
She slapped the shit out of me.
My head spun sideways even Linda Blair would have been proud. The first 10 or so rows that saw what happened the collective GASP drowned out the soft organ music from above. It was all slow motion to me as I saw the horrified worshipers with huge eyes staring, shocked at what had just happened. I had tears already swelling in my eyes and was going to run and tackle this old bitch and Monsignor Schmidt whispered 'Eddie don't do anything, don't do anything' as she walked off.This all in span of 10 SECONDS or less!
We finished Mass & as usual, would walk to foyer and out onto front steps porch of Cathedral to tell folks bye. Photo #4 shows me with candle photo #5 shows the steps out front that is me with bowtie crooked just above girl with tiera, hey I want a tiera!) A crowd had gathered around momma, telling her what happened.
My mom, Sarah Stakes was a short lady over 200 lbs. Sweetest person you ever met, would give you her last tortilla or bread knowing she might not eat for days since we were dirt poor (photo #6) she was FUMING. Funny thing is no one from "church" said anything to HER about it, it was parishioners who normally would not give her time of day that told here, including a Cathedral teacher!
Since the Easter Bunny went to 9am Mass, momma made sure that I served 7am and sometimes 10am Masses, but not 9am. A month passed no big deal, didn't see Easter Bunny. So we went to 9am Mass. I served Mass with Monsignor Schmidt & at end, walked out to steps like had done for years. Uneventful Mass, but crowd standing out front! Momma had saved up a big mustard jar and filled it with dog shit & mustard and smeared it all over the Devine's little white Renault Dauphine parked right out front! It was most disgusting looking & smelling thing I had ever seen! In a time before cell phones this would have been viral video. My dad went to his grave not telling me if he was in on this.
Mister Devine, took off coat, wiped dog poop off windshield and doors, let his crazy Easter Bunny wife in car, and drove off. Even Monsignor Schmidt was laughing, my momma nowhere to be seen. My poppa drove & picked me up. Everyone seemed to know who was repsonsible however. The kids in my class next day all asking questions about it, i played dumb of course.
Monsignor Schmidt told momma later "that was not a very nice Catholic thing to do" while snorting chuckling. Us kids continued to plow thru the Devine Printing Press dumpsters. I didn't really forgive miss Devine & have actually had nightmares of that incident over 50 years ago. We never saw the Devines again, I think they switched to Sacred Heart 8 blocks away.
Photo #1 me in Cathedral about 1965. Photo #2, inside Cathedral facing altar. Where the people are kneeling near it is where Easter Bunny grabbed mike and wanted everyone to watch Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. In the center mail aisle is where she rolled oranges and various fruits. Never easter eggs though. Photo #3 that is rare photo of Monsignor Schmidt in center, not sure who ladies are. Photo #4, Robert Canas on left with crucifix, me on right with candle. Photo #5, Confirmation Day I am the kid squinting 3rd row left I clean up good. 3rd grade teacher Miss Francis near top and the nun appears to be 4th grade teacher Sister Berchmann, I do not know who the man on right is. Photo #6, don't slap the shit out of my baby, that is my mom and dad & me years later. #7 Renault little ugly ass car, made uglier if you can imagine it covered in dog shit & mustard and only God knew what.