Saturday, March 03, 2007

Memory lane

When I was a 5th grader at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Kenner, LA., I had Sister Virginia as a teacher. She was a singing nun, complete with guitar. She helped revolutionize our Mass with her upbeat, folksy (still religious) songs. She was young and pretty, and energetic. I considered becoming a nun that year. That was 1971-2.

Sister Virginia auditioned the girls in the class and then cast me as the lead in our Thanksgiving play. At the time, 5 of my (what became 7 by 1973) siblings were at that small school; with Elizabeth in 1st and Robbie in the 8th grade, the rest of us in between.

There were only approx. 650 students in the school with 2 classes for each grade. None of my siblings classes were ones crammed into the classroom where I gave a dramatization of Sarah Hale's asking President Lincoln to make the fourth Thursday of November a holiday where we as a nation give thanks.

I came up with my own costume; I can still remember it. Sister Virginia didn't know who she tapped up for the part, but the actress in me took over and claimed it. I had to laugh during one scene and say the only line I remember from that play, "You flatter me, Mr. President."

I don't remember who that was playing opposite me.

The next year, I had Sister MichaelAnne, who had a machine gun laugh. I one time made a remark in class that caused her to take me around the school to repeat to other teachers. She would laugh each time I quipped it, "yeah, some of us are still evolving." It had to do with scientists theories of man's evolving from apes.

The year after that, Sister David came to teach at OLPH. I had her for 7th grade. She spanked. One time, she whacked me good and hard on my seat. I was non-plussed and told her I'm too old for spankings. She told me to act like it then.

Then, Sister LaSalle, for 8th grade. Oh my goodness, the woman was kooky from the start. We knew how to push her buttons. Her one pet peeve was clicking of the pens. It would send her into madness that we devilish children never tired of seeing.

Those last three teachers knocked the wind out my want-to-be-a-nun sail.