As a young kid, I don’t have a lot of great school memories. I do remember cutting my own bangs during art class…but that wasn’t a particularly good memory. However, it did get my hair out of my eyes.
We moved a lot – between kindergarten and high school, I went to five different schools. I suppose that’s not a ton. I know a lot of people have gone to far more, and in a way, you get used to being the new kid.
I think my favorite elementary school was Riverbend. I loved the teachers I had there – Ms. Zanta for third grade and Mr. Velthouse for fourth. The playground backed up to an apple orchard. We weren’t supposed to go back there, but we always did. We played hide and go seek, tag, Little House on the Prairie…I wanted to play King Arthur and his Knights, but I never got any takers.
I don’t have any really great school memories until high school – mostly because the schools I attended from fifth through eighth grade were a special kind of hell. Think Mean Girls 70s style.
However, in ninth grade, we moved for the last time. And for the first time, I attended a Catholic school. Now, I was raised Catholic, but I had no damn clue what is was like to go to a Catholic school. My poor little public schoolgirl heart was shocked. And also weirdly delighted. I felt like I’d landed in some sort of bizarre social experiment.
I’d never seen nuns in the wild before. That was some serious culture shock – particularly since many of these women ruled their classrooms with ear twisting, ruler slapping, head cuffing, public shaming, and the finely tuned ability to wield guilt just as effectively as a ruler.
When I started my freshman year of high school, it was at a Catholic school. Having been to five public schools prior to high school, I had no idea what was in store for me. The only nun I’d ever met was the aging hippie who played guitar at the church my parents had taken me to.
The nuns at my new school were a surprise. Most wore habits – involving black and white coifs and veils and dresses and skirts in varying shades of blue or brown polyester depending on what order they belonged to. There was also Sister Michael Ellen aka The White Nun or the Library Nun who wore one of those giant, old school, white multilayered numbers.
Because of her particular habit, I was always a little afraid of her. She looked incredibly intimidating – not to mention mean, especially when she was walking quickly through the halls, her clothes billowing and her gianormous wooden rosary swinging wildly from her waist.
It didn’t help that it seemed she was always ordering the AV nun, Sister Mary Projector, (not her real name) around. Sister Mary Projector (I’m not sure if anyone actually knew her real name) was on an endless quest to deliver the filmstrip projector on the cart with the super squeaky wheel. But mostly, she just wandered up and down the halls never reaching her destination.
I had a theory that The White Nun was trying to keep Sister Mary Projector out of the library as much as possible by sending her to a room that didn’t exist because she’d always fall asleep and snore loudly, driving The White Nun batty. Once I followed Sister Mary Projector for an entire class period – she never delivered that cart anywhere.
Then there was Sister Rosine. At first, I thought she was just a sweet, little old lady. That was cleared up within the first five minutes of religion class when we were all seated alphabetically – except for the non-Catholics. They had to sit in the back of the room, because they were “going to hell, anyway.” There was also the day that she went on a tear about the color red. As far as she was concerned, it was a color reserved for Satanists and whores. Unfortunately, that was the day I’d chosen to wear a red sweater and had painted my nails bright read to match. So had my friend. We had to stand up and announce that we were “Brides of Satan.” Yeah. I know. It was insane.
And lastly, there was Sister Clarine – the biology nun – think white lab coat over a baby blue polyester dress and the most sensible of sensible shoes. The first time I saw her, she was standing outside the door to her room with a clipboard. The second time I saw her, she was draped with two, seven-foot boa constrictors. I promise you, there are fewer things more disconcerting than a sweet faced, little old lady wearing a a veil and covered in snakes.
In addition to nun antics, I also met several of my favorite people in the world at that school. My oldest and dearest friend, Margaret and my equally awesome and amazing friends Kelly and Paula. We’re still friends to this day, and that in and of itself is pretty damn impressive.
Margaret and I did musical theater together – The Wizard of Oz, Camelot and Grease together. Kelly, Margaret and I sang in the choir. And Paula and I laughed until we cried. A lot.
I also met Mr. Green there. Yep. The husband. That one. We were in a study hall together that was more like sit-around-and-gossip-and-play-cards for-an-hour-in-the-cafeteria than a traditional study hall. We met because he was an asshole. And trying to pitch Red Hot candies down the front of my blouse. I waited until the bell rang and everyone was getting up to leave and walked around the table. In retrospect, it was kind of sweet. He looked weirdly hopeful. And then I upended my Coke on his open Calculus book. That was one expensive book. But I didn’t have to pay for it. He did. Because he was an asshole.
However, he did (obviously) redeem himself considering that we just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this year.
So, those are some of my fondest school memories. What are some of yours? Click the names of the other Wednesday Random bloggers to see theirs. I, for one, can’t wait!