Raise you hand if you went to Catholic Elementary School. No, don’t I can’t see you! I don’t remember much about school until eighth grade which was hands down the worst school year of my then 13 years on earth.
I went to school on the first day of first grade wearing my little maroon uniform and matching beanie. Things went well until recess when I asked this girl if I could play with her and her little clique. Her name was Stella Mack, which I thought was perfectly ugly name. She said no! I sobbed like there was no tomorrow. Three little girls came over and said they would play with me. I don’t remember their names, but one I called Flat Top because her hair was quite flat on the top of her head. I went home, promptly fainted, and did not go back until after Thanksgiving vacation. By that time, I was reading my sister’s 5th grade reader with ease.
On the first day back to school that nun tripped me up. The nun (who we all called Sr. Mary Tissue Paper) asked me to spell the word “two”. I had no idea. I could read a 5th grade book, but I cracked under the pressure. I had to stand at by my desk while everyone else spelled various words. Luckily, there were few other illiterate children standing with me by the end of the lesson.
I went flying across the street to my house. Yes, I was one of those lucky kids that simply rolled out of bed and across the street. I also ate lunch at home most days.
So here I am, with one day of school under my belt, and it’s already December. I hysterically told my mom and aunt I HAD to learn how to spell numbers one through ten or I would be shot by a firing squad of nuns. I believe this was when my fear of nuns and organized religion began to rear it’s ugly head.
My mom and aunt drilled those words into my brain. I went back thinking I would ace spelling nine or ten, when that nun said it was time for the next subject. Arggh! I was not happy.
The other less traumatic things I remember from first grade were singing America the Beautiful and receiving a construction paper Christmas tree and gluing pictures from magazines on the tree. I remember tracing pictures of letters and numbers on mimeographed paper, and circling the word that started with a certain letter.
I also remember The Blizzard of First Grade. I walked over to school while it was snowing, and it continued to snow all morning. The nuns said walkers had to wait for a sibling to take them home, so while I waited for my sister, I made one of those construction paper place mats that we all know so well. Mine was red and green.
I went to school some more until one day my mom said that school was over. FOREVER I asked??? Just for the summer??? Damn it!