Doris Kearns Goodwin

“I opened the curtain and entered the confessional, a dark wooden booth built into the side wall of the church. As I knelt on the small worn bench, I could hear a boy's halting confession through the wall, his prescribed penance inaudible as the panel slid open on my side and the priest directed his attention to me.

"Yes, my child," he inquired softly.

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my First Confession."

"Yes, my child, and what sins have you committed?"
....

"I talked in church twenty times, I disobeyed my mother five times, I wished harm to others several times, I told a fib three times, I talked back to my teacher twice." I held my breath.

"And to whom did you wish harm?"

My scheme had failed. He had picked out the one group of sins that most troubled me. Speaking as softly as I could, I made my admission.

"I wished harm to Allie Reynolds."

"The Yankee pitcher?" he asked, surprise and concern in his voice. "And how did you wish to harm him?"

"I wanted him to break his arm."

"And how often did you make this wish?"

"Every night," I admitted, "before going to bed, in my prayers."

"And were there others?"

"Oh, yes," I admitted. "I wished that Robin Roberts of the Phillies would fall down the steps of his stoop, and that Richie Ashburn would break his hand."

"Is there anything else?"

"Yes, I wished that Enos Slaughter of the Cards would break his ankle, that Phil Rizzuto of the Yanks would fracture a rib, and that Alvin Dark of the Giants would hurt his knee." But, I hastened to add, "I wished that all these injuries would go away once the baseball season ended."
...

"Are there any other sins, my child?"

"No, Father."

"For your penance, say two Hail Mary's, three Our Fathers, and," he added with a chuckle, "say a special prayer for the Dodgers. ...”


Doris Kearns Goodwin, Wait Till Next Year
tags: memoir
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Wait Till Next Year Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
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