1 Nephi 1: 1, 3
...therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

^^That pretty much explains this blog.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More About Catholic School in the 1960s

I've had several comments to my memories of Catholic School.  Some disagree with what I remember, but that's the definition of a 'memoir.'  I remember it one way and you remember it another.  I guess that's what a child's memory is, too.  I'd love to have your memories, though, to add to mine.

For Mary Nagy:
I have another picture from school.  It is a trip to Harrisburg in eighth grade.  There is Sister Francis Maureen, front and center.  We all loved her so much.
Center is Sister Francis Maureen flanked by a Senator and a Representative; second row, from left:  Mrs. Shank, me, Mary Nagy, Debbie Riley, Patrick Sellers; third row:  Mrs. Riley, Joanie Fuller, Jean Leofsky, Samuel Forese, Robert Derr, Mark Wolfe, John Lindenlauf, Sonny Gracia, Paul Phillips, my mom; fourth row: Laura Cahoe, Patty Hewczuk, Mona Trace, LuAnn Forese, Robert Persch, Danny McMichael, Thomas (Greg) Shank, Joey Atkinson.  I think a boy is missing.  I remember there were 12 boys and 9 girls in eighth grade.  21. Anybody know?  Joseph Nagy?  Did he go all through to 8th grade?
 The Sister Francis Maureen scandal might be spurious, and is completely conjecture.  I don't think anybody really knows.  But I'm sure we all thought it was because the other nuns were jealous of her because we loved her so much, and they made her life horrible, so she either asked to be transferred, or the other nuns asked for her to be transferred.  Of course, that's just the anger we had at the time coming out.  She was so good to us, and thought 'out of the box' for a nun. 
Mary, she changed my life, too.  She helped me 'see' things in a whole new light.  One day, during religion class, she was teaching about hell.  She just had one thought that she threw out.  Perhaps 'hell' is not a place of fire and brimstone.  What if it is a place where we cannot see the face of God ever for eternity?  Won't that be a terrible punishment?  I never looked at hell the same way, though both thoughts are scary.
I just noticed in the picture her pointer finger is pointing to the ground.  Or maybe it's the sign 'We're Number One!"  She was so proud of the boys on the basketball team.  Remember the Spartans?
This trip must have been taken place in the fall because she was gone by Christmas, right?  Or just after Christmas.  I remember the boys had a basketball game just after she left and they were determined to win 'for Sister Francis.'  They didn't.  We cried and the boys were dejected.
Mary, you are right.  My mom (and maybe someone else's mom, too) drove us down to Chester to her new inner city school.  I remember the graffiti on the walls outside and I remember my mom was scared to leave her car parked outside.  I remember Sister Francis just had the biggest smile on her face and she said she was happy there.  But we knew she couldn't be happy without us!  She had to be lying.  I remember she said she asked for the transfer.  But, again, we knew she was lying (or we thought she was). We all bawled our eyes out the whole time!!!  We wanted her back.  We didn't care if inner city kids needed her!  How could she leave us?!
Remember one time there was a fire drill and some of the boys went to Gibneys?  When the Mother Superior was checking to see if we are all back, I remember Sister went up to Joey Atkinson from behind and put her hands on his shoulders, shook him, and facetiously said, "Yes, we're all back, aren't we, Joseph?"  He looked up at her in surprise that she didn't rat him out.  I don't know if he ever had it in him to 'love' or even 'like' a nun, he seemed to always have so much anger in him, but I think at that moment he liked her very much.
Oh, Mary, you got a letter from her?  Where from?  Do you know where she might be?  I think Mona said Florida.  Do you know her 'real name?'  Wouldn't it be so great to get in touch with her again?
Yes, we heard she left the convent and even got married.  I think Mona got a letter from her, too.  I never did, but she gave me a special gift before she left (though I didn't know she was leaving at the time).  She gave me her art portfolio from college. (Who knew nuns went to college?  At that time I just thought they joined the convent and then taught school.)
She knew I was interested in painting and one week she let me bring my paint box and canvas and easel to school to work on during 'art' class on a Friday.  I remember my mom came, too, to help me.  That probably never happened before--or since.  But, she gave me her portfolio!  I still have it. 
That's another reason I think she was transferred, not of her own accord.  She told me, when she gave me the portfolio, that she would help me with my painting.  She said, after Christmas we would concentrate on it during art class.  I was shocked that she made me that promise, then left!
Here is a picture of the painting I did.
Haha...I remember that shirt. From the Sear Roebuck catalog, I think. Or Penneys catalog.

I haven't painted in oils since my first child was born (considered too toxic), but that was the first of many.  I was 13.  My brother Henry has a big collection of my paintings in his home in Florida.  I was flattered when I visited him and saw them all hanging.  He was proud of me.  I don't have that many, maybe two or three.  He must have at least a half-dozen or more.  My mom has some, too.  And I have some of hers.  She and I started painting at the same time. My grandmother, too!  She was 63, my mom was 33 and I was 13.
Now that there are non-toxic oil paints, maybe I'll sign up for a class--once my foot is healed.

Some more memories of school.  Cheerleading.  We were the second class to have a cheerleading squad.  Mona was the captain and I was the co-captain.  Me?  Uncoordinated me?  I remember my mom found the perfect gold short-sleeved cotton ribbed shirts for us in the Penneys catalog but Mona wanted us to wear those hot long-sleeved sweaters (with three buttons on the shoulder) from--the BonTon?  They were stylish, yes--but not cheerleading clothes!?  Anyway, Mona won, much to the chagrin of my mom.  They cost $20!  We did not have that kind of money.
I remember, one time, I had to practice a cartwheel and I went into the girls bathroom and cartwheeled right into the trash can!  I sprained my ankle and had to sit out the whole game.  I missed a week of school with my foot up and swollen.  (I've been thinking about that since I broke my ankle recently.) That might have been our last game of the season--of forever.

I would very much like to read other memories of our Catholic School.  Please tell others who were in our class, or our school, about this blog and have them visit and give comments. ♥


Mary Nagy said...

I remember we would go over to the church for choir practice, all the girls, 8th grade, I believe. Anyway, we were sitting up in the balcony with that giant organ, singing, and we decided to play hookey. We crouched down and snuck out of the church and walked uptown. I can't seem to remember what happened when we got back to school, but I remember it was myself, Mona, and I can't remember who else. Were you among us Susan?

Susan said...

Mary, so good to hear from you again. I do remember leaving choir practice. The reason was because Mrs. Short and Mrs. Bruno wouldn't let us harmonize. If you remember, after we all saw "The Sound of Music," we sang together and harmonized everything. We sounded beautiful--I thought. I approached Mrs. Short, but she wouldn't let us. So we all walked out. I don't think we sneaked out. I think we up and just left. My father received a call from, I think one of the priests, or maybe Mrs. Short herself, telling him I made all the girls leave choir practice. I was grounded for a very long time, a month, I think, and my dad told me I had to be in the choir. I was the only girl from our grade in the choir because of that. Nobody else came back. So sad.
I don't remember where we went when we left, but it was everyone who walked out. You, me, Mona, Joanie, Patty . . . whoever else. Joanie has a good memory of things. She will probably remember what happened.
Thanks for your post. How do I reach you? Please email me at
tobel dot knight at g mail dot com.