I have no idea how we ended up going to the Universalist Unitarian church in Salem. I don’t believe it was a friend at school that invited us, perhaps it was from an acquaintance of our folks. In any event it was thought that we should get exposed in some manner to religion.
Inside, the building had an odd, old feel to it. The sanctuary, or hall as they may have called it was perhaps colorful but I don’t remember any ornamentation. The memorable view that I carry with me is one from the side, looking into the meeting area. There were a lot of books lining the shelves there. The titles that stick with me were Donbie and Son and the Old Curiosity Shop. For all I knew these were their sacred texts, (purchased when Dickens himself came through Salem in the early 1800s). I didn’t see a Bible, nor do I remember any teaching based on it.
Perhaps we were limited to the Sunday school rooms and were not in with the adults. My brother did, however, take a strong exception to the adult with whom we were placed. The gentleman either had an aversion to children in general or to my brother in particular. He no doubt had a certain opinion as to how kids should be raised, and for some reason he disparaged my mother’s parenting in front of my brother, calling her by a rather unkind appellation, one not usually bruited about in any church setting I’d ever heard of. My brother wasn’t big enough to cold-cock him, but if he were, he would have.
He did the next best thing – removed us from there. And we never darkened their assembly again.