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This Day in My History


George Washington's
Rules of Civility
and Decent Behaviour

73rd:   Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.

Perhaps a good rule for bush.


Yesterday's Entries

2000: ** 2 day hiatus **
2001:
 Computer Tricks
2002:  The Flossing of Beverly
2003:  Patience is Still a Virtue, Dammit


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APOLOGIES ARE IN ORDER

6 November 2004

It seems I owe my 6th and 7th grade teacher a big apology.   I have mentioned her twice in this journal, Sister Mary Johnetta.  Once I talked about how I stole a stamp from her and how I still feel guilty about it, and once I talked about her calling me a hypocrite and how I still remember how it felt to be unjustly accused.

Well, the Internet is a strange and wonderful thing.  Someone found   those entries and told her about them and she called me from Chicago yesterday.   She called to say that (a) she had never collected stamps in her life, and (b) if she ever called me a hypocrite and scarred me for life, she apologized.  She also reminded me that she was not my 4th grade teacher, but my 6th grade teacher.

We had a lovely talk but then I was confused.  Who was my 4th grade teacher for it was she, indeed, who called me a hypocrite and from whom I stole a stamp (oh the confessions of my misspent youth!).

So I fired off an e-mail to the famous Judy Lucchesi (of whom I have spoken several times and with whom I was recently reconnected).  She reminded me that our 4th grade teacher was Sister Mary John Maurice. 

NOW I remember.  Well--they both had "John" in their names!  So, Sister Mary John Maurice, if you are ever googling yourself and happen to stumble across this entry, I'm sorry that I stole your stamp and I lost it years ago.  And honest--I really wasn't talking that day you accused me of being a hypocrite!

It's a funny thing, other than briefly when writing a couple of things in this journal, I really haven't thought about my years at St. Brigid's School in years.  I was thinking back on how few things I actually remember, yet how strong those memories are.

I was a shy kid in grammar school (I didn't hit my stride till high school--and was never going to be Prom Queen no matter what happened!).  I can remember dreading recess because I got teased for being fat.  I was always one of the last kids picked for a team of anything because I was non-athletic.

I spent a lot of time chipping rock.

Seriously!

Our playground backed up onto the backside of St. Brigid's Church. (Now there is a rectory between the school and the church, but when I went there, the rectory wasn't built yet.)

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The church was made of big blocks of stone and at some point in about the middle of my 8 years at St. Brigid (probably when we were old enough to move from the "close playground" to the farther playground for the older kids), I discovered that I could take the metal tip of a bobby pin...

bobbypin.jpg (13321 bytes)...and I would start to pick at the blocks of stone.  I could thus remove flat chips of the stone, the way you might pick at nail polish you're trying to remove without polish remover.  If I'd been smart, I could have seen that I was a budding archaeologist right there on the playground, but it was just this compulsion I had to chip away little slabs of stone from the rocks of the church. 

God didn't smite me, so I guess She didn't mind.

How pathetic is that?  Lonely little kid standing away from the rest of the kids with her trusty bobby pin picking away at rocks. 

The other thing I used to do at recess was to climb up on top of this little shed--it probably contained the generator for the school or something--and I would sit there during recess and read.

Again, how pathetic is that?  Lonely little kid sitting away from the rest of the kids with her trusty book, reading while everyone else played.

Occasionally one of the nuns would come along and make me get in and play with the others, and it wasn't that I didn't enjoy myself.  I suppose I did, but the rock-chipping and the reading  are the things I remember most from my days on the grammar school playground.

I can also remember the embarrassing day that Marie Davilla and a committee of girls decided to reach inside my middy blouse (we wore uniforms--middy blouses with collars and pleated wool skirts) to see if I had any breast growth yet.  

I had started Kindergarten a year early, so I was a year younger than everyone else and they all matured physically earlier than I did, so I had to go through this test to see if I was "normal" or not.  I can't tell you how much I hated that inspection, right there in the middle of the playground.

I also remember working to maintain my "goody two-shoes" reputation.  I can remember that when someone sent me with a note down to the principal's office, I would stop in front of one of the statues of the Blessed Mother, and actually kneel down right there in the hallway to say a prayer.

How times have changed.

I also remember that the 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls had a "special bathroom" because it came equipped with kotex pads and the younger kids weren't supposed to know about that yet.

The other thing I remember vividly about grammar school was, not surprisingly, food.  I would frequently (see above paragraph on goody two shoes) go to Mass before school, especially during Lent.  I'd have to leave early in time to get breakfast in the cafeteria before class began.  I still remember the comfort of hot chocolate with stale cake donuts that had were coated with powdered sugar.

In my later years, I know what they mean about fat people always trying to recreate the tastes of their past.  I am sure I could take a powdered sugar donut and dunk it in the best hot chocolate in the world and it wouldn't have the same comforting effect on me that those cheap donuts did in the cafeteria of St. Brigid's School.

Funny to think back on all this stuff that I haven't really thought about in years.  And all because Sister Mary Johnetta didn't teach me in 4th grade and never collected stamps in her life!


Website of the Day

The London Daily Mirror has made available its cover from yesterday's paper (which I printed yesterday) and also reprinted a wonderful editorial called "God Help America."  Unfortunately, there is a problem with the links.   I've put them in several times and each time they come up with a bad link, though I can get both pages by doing a Google Search on "London Daily Mirror."  I encourage people to read the editorial.

Those who wish to send letters of support to Elizabeth Edwards, diagnosed with breast cancer on election day (talk about black days!), can do it through this web site.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

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These are black cockatoos.  They say that if the black cockatoo
sings, it's going to rain.  I miss these guys too.

 

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