Most kids who went to Catholic school in the 50's and 60's know about pagan babies.
Each class in each grade collected nickles and dimes to buy a pagan baby. It cost $5.00.
When I entered first grade I remember coming home and telling my my mother about them. I said that when I got mine I was going to take care of it all by myself.
My mother wisely refrained from saying much about it. (She went to Catholic school too, and I don't know if they had pagan babies then but I bet they did.)
Anyway, I was wrong about getting a pagan baby. You didn't buy one with the $5.00. Your class picked out a name for the child and it was baptized with that name into the Catholic Church. The class would get a certificate for each child they named. There was a bit of competition between some of the nuns as to whose class had the most. The certificates were pinned up on a bulletin board.
The photograph at the top is the cover of a book named Pagan Babies, and the container that the coins went into. I don't remember a container like that, though. Mostly we used cigar boxes.
This is a photo of a real Pagan Baby Certificate. You can see that this pagan baby was named Susan.
I went to Catholic grade school at St. Amelia's for 8 years. We must have had at least 5 pagan babies in each class. That's 40 pagan babies right there. I think most of them were in Africa.
Going back for this high school reunion has me thinking about all kinds of things from my Catholic school days, like using Necco wafers to practice First Holy communion. And the time I put together a shoebox with all the items I needed to go and baptize my Jewish friends across the street, Amy and Kenny Wolpin.
But that's another post.