Miller Medley



3
First start the music below, and then begin reading.
We were special; we never went to school. I never learned the life of a normal kid. I sleepily heard dad driving to work at 6, and was grateful that only he had to go. He commuted 1 hour to the hospital in Cleveland where he worked as a clerk.  We—8-9 children—woke up around 7:30am. I loved our new house, because I had my own room: Ben, Brian and I lived in the attic, although you wouldn’t have noticed, if it wasn’t for the slanted ceiling. We slid down the banister and took the remaining 3 flights of stairs in 3 bounds … flat. (That’s why the walls were always dirty. It drove mom nuts.) Once up, it was breakfast to make, children to dress, (diapers to change) and beds to tidy. We kids did all of these things. Remember, the first 6 were boys, so we couldn’t dump the housework on my sisters—they were too young. We ate together. Cornbread, waffles, coffee cake, French toast, eggs, muffins, biscuits and toast were all homemade—even the bread, but most of all we lived off of oatmeal. It was cheap and easy to make. I remember the day we discovered its replacement: cornmeal mush. It was like heaven, a new breakfast. We couldn’t afford prefabed cereals, or orange juice, or pop tarts etc. (#38); the weekly grocery budget was $100! But even the new mush got old after a while and I remember the day we decided to go back to oatmeal. Thereafter we used to switch between the one and the other. Daily morning prayers, memorized from one of those old monastic books, was—and still is today—prayed as a family around the breakfast table. A few years ago, a hymn (below) was added to end the morning praises. (The unwritten Miller rule is, once the hymn starts, you can start picking at the food J. And when you get to the word PROVE, you have to hold it as long as you can….) Now if you want to make me cry, just sing this song.
Before lunch we did schoolwork: Latin, 2 hours of daily reading (whatever, as long as dad approved it. Basically whatever we were interested in), 30 minutes of music (everyone played an instrument or 2), history—these were the subjects my dad taught us in the evenings. Then with mom it was Math, English, Art and plenty of surprises. My favorite subject was … baby duty. Yes, I’m not joking, but we didn’t get credits for it. (Come to think of it, we didn’t get credits for anything.) We all took turns taking care of the baby. There were also periods in life when we studied things like farming (right before we moved to Wisconsin), or Bridge, or the Baltimore Catechism. I used to long for the moment we could go out and play. We had to wait until the “school children” got home, so it didn’t look like we weren’t learning anything.


Learning Bridge...


Dad arrived from work around 5PM and we ate dinner together. Afterwards my job, for years, was to sweep the floor. After washing the dinner dishes, depending on how tired dad was, we had our evening lectures, during which mom give the little ones a bath and then we usually had a popcorn party in PJs. At times we prayed an evening family rosary and then it was off to bed for the youngest ones. At night it was forbidden to have pillow fights, so we had them in silence. The special blanket (#57) (we all had one) was your sword, and your pillow was your shield. Somehow dad always found out.
Considering I will be ordained in just 3 days, I figured a bit more family background would help you to see who I really am. Just a Miller. On top of this family foundation I have been trying—and while we speak I am hard at it in Spiritual Exercises—to form the pure image of Jesus Christ, the one true priest and victim for souls.