I was the romantic lead in the school play,
"Trish." A look at the yearbook page I designed for that play show hints
at the potential I had as a scrapbook designer. Actually, as I look at it now, it
looks like something I just threw together. But it was quite innovative in 1960.
We were the leads in the cast. I'm on the left holding the
hand of Randy Jones, my leading man (whom I also dated--and who was gay. Was this a
hint?). Rose Lewis, on the other side, is now a plastic surgeon. I've lost
contact with Helene and Judy, the other two.
One thing about going to a Catholic
school is that religious celebrations were part and parcel of the day to day
life. Mass was offered frequently in the school chapel. I got to be an
"altar girl," though as a lowly female, I wasn't allowed to be inside the altar
rail while Mass was being said. But I did get to give the prayer responses (in
Latin) and ring the bells at the appropriate time.
We had "retreats," where priests would try to increase our
level of spirituality and where all of the questions seemed to be about "how far can
you go with a boy?"
A group of us met in the school chapel each day to recite the
rosary, and we belonged to the "Legion of Mary," which had daily prayers to say
and which were supposed to, I think, do good works. I don't remember that part.
Walt loves to hear about our "living rosary," where the
students ringed the periphery of the cathedral which was our neighborhood church.
Each student represented a bead in a rosary (No, we did not carry bowling balls), and
recited the first half of the Hail Mary. The seniors formed a cross down the center
aisle. Those who weren't part of the rosary itself sat in the pews and said the
responses to the prayers. Anything to keep religion alive.
And then there were the yearly May festivities which culminated in
crowning a statue of Mary.
Oh Mary we crown thee with blossoms today
Queen of the angels, Queen of the May
(i think those were the lyrics)
I was such an overachiever I was involved in just about
everything. Again, nothing much as changed.
|WEST, Beverly...St. Brigid; PR 5-8792;
Class Treasurer 1; CSF 3,4; Low Honors 1,2,3,4; High honors 2,3; Sodality 1,2,3,4;
Secretary 4; Councilor 4; Legion of Mary 1,2,3,4; Treasurer 4; Catechetical Work 3,4;
Parish Teen Club 2,3; Vincenta Staff 2,3,4; Underclassman Editor 2,3; Editor 4; Spirit
Staff 3,4; Publications 3; Essay Contest Winner 1; Dance Committee 4; Decoration Chairman
4; Pep Club 1; Drama 1,2,3; Senior Play 4; Freshman Choral 1; Glee 1,2,3,4; Junior
Achievement 3; Service Club 4; Oratory 2,3; Christmas Tableaux Co-Chairman 3; Traffic
Council 3; Secretrary 3; Library Club 1,2,3,4; Secretary 3
But it was such a special time. I
know people who hated high school. I didn't. I went to this little school,
total student population 200. I knew everybody, don't remember being disliked by
anybody. I was teacher's pet (they always liked the kids who had
"vocations"). I got to school early to help the teachers set up for the
day, or to work in the school store. I stayed late to work on the yearbook or the
newspaper. I came in on weekends to go with Sister Anne to bring lunch to some of
the poor people in the neighborhood.
That place was my whole life. I even had my first
auto accident there, trying to make a sharp turn into the yard from the street, hitting
the fence, and wiping out both doors on the car. I still remember having to sit in
the office and make "the call" home to let my parents know that I'd just wiped
out their car!
I remember graduation day, June 13, 1960. Funny,
but what I remember most about that day was standing outside with Ruth Rose, one of the
five black girls in the school, who hugged me and said "I suppose we'll never see
each other again." I poo-poo'd that comment, with tears in my eyes. But
she was very nearly right. It was 30 years before I saw her again, and then it was
briefly at a reunion. I hoped to contact her by e-mail, but have been unable to find
her e-mail since that time. (She's registered with "Classmates" but it's
not worth it to me to pay $20 just to get her e-mail address!)
They tore the high school down a long time ago to revamp the neighborhood. It's now an upscale place to live and there is a new cathedral standing where my high school once stood. It was a whole 'nother world, that four year period of
time. I was a different person then. But sometimes it's nice to remember.