Back then, we knew something was up if our mother returned from ShopRite with a half-gallon of Breyers ice cream. It meant that another 8-year-old first communicant had feigned an understanding of transubstantiation. It meant that someone was celebrating her first birthday, or that someone had seen his last.
Most of all, it meant a reprieve from the cheaper fake version of ice cream that usually defiled our freezer, a store-brand ice milk that tasted like nothing so much as frozen sadness. Ice milk represented dessert as punishment.