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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

School Daze and Growing Up Catholic

When I think of the money my parents had to pay so that all five of their children could have a Catholic school education it makes me wonder how in the world they did it! Dad worked and mom stayed home to raise us. Here is my former parochial school Saint Mary's in my hometown of Pueblo, Colorado. The school sits in the historic neighborhood known as bojon town. The school was opened from 1895 to 1971. You know we had a lot of fun at that school. I still keep in contact with a handful of kids I have known since the kindergarten. I wish I had some photos to match with the various teachers:

Kindergarten , Mrs. Killian . She once caught me being naughty, sent me to the corner when I   cupped my hands over my mouth and stuck my tongue out at her! I was mortified because I was shy. I know it is hard to believe today but back than I was afraid of my own shadow! I fixed her though here is what I was really thinking:

I was a strong willed kid, what else can I possible say! 

You know there is a story behind those incredible short bangs. My mom had this friend Zolly who cut our hair. She lived on Berwind Street in Bojontown,  No Zolly did not make a mess of my bangs I did! Boy did I get into trouble with my mother!  When I look back I often wonder how my mother survived raising me! I will talk about Zolly later in a different post. Bojons, they are multi-talented!

First Grade: Sister Leocadia O.S.B. I was so afraid of this woman. If you were ever a small child and had to deal with nuns that look like penguins in their black and white habits because they belong to the Benedictine Order you can relate. I figured the best way around this nun was to get on her good side. She asked if anyone had a hole punch that she could borrow! I eagerly raised my hand! I didn't have one but my older sister did! To this very day my sissy will remind me how that nun stole her hand held paper punch!
In case you don't remember here is that 99 cent Bollinger's special!  I often wondered if God punished that mean ole nun for stealing my sister's paper punch!

Second Grade: Sister Caroline O.S.B. Although this "nice" looking nun appeared to love small children and she was the sister of our parish priest Father Daniel Gnidica I figured she must be nice! Ha! Until she turned into Miss Agatha Trunchbull ( the evil teacher from the movie Matilda) The woman said I was not to use my left hand. She tried to force me to use my right hand. I told her  she was making me ill. She had I was not wanting to do what I was told! I said, "Sister, I am going to be sick" and she replied "No you  aren't" and I puked inside my second grade religion book! They never asked me to use my right hand again!

Third Grade: Miss Octavia Cook, the woman was a spinster but she could be very kind to children. While attending third grade we learned how to square dance with boys and we all thought it was pretty gross, boys included ! Nonetheless it was a nice lesson and we learned how to take direction! Here I am in the third grade:
I had a poodle cut to match my pretty and very soft turquoise colored sweater with a bow in my hair! My mother's cousin Rose who was married but childless always got my mother 
 a great deal with her Crews Beggs discount as Mrs. Rose Ballas worked in the girl's department. Bojons are generous people!

Fourth Grade: Sister Beatrice.O.S.B. This is a tough one! This nun was possible the devil himself or perhaps his twin sister. Nonetheless, she was quite mean and wielded a long yardstick! If you got in her way she would whack you out of play! We all learned to be patient and tolerant of this evil woman. I started wearing glasses in the fourth grade. That alone will destroy a girls confidence. Please do not be frightened when you see this photo:
The top row is my fourth grade photo. On a bright note my outfit was so adorable. A red knit short jacket with a navy kick pleated  skirt! That hairdo is also not a style Zolly would have given me! I am sure it was myself making me look quite silly with my cat eye glasses. I recently bought new glasses and the gal helping me was talking about all the latest styles! I saw those very glasses, laugh out loud! She said they were quite popular. Sad note in the fourth grade my grandmother Mary Videtich  Kocman passed away. I remember all the wonderful family Sunday's we spent with all our relatives in bojon town at Grandpa and Grandma Kocman's home. I will write about that home soon.
Fifth Grade: Mrs. Roseanne Dionese. The fifth grade was a turning point, knowing there were only three more years left to finish parochial school. Our teacher was sweet and very young.  She genuinely cared about each and every student. It was a nice breath of fresh air after having to tow the line for some of the nuns!
Sixth Grade: Sister Adelaide I felt blessed to have Sister Adelaide as my 6th grade teacher. She had a kind heart when I lost my grandmother Cecilia Kralj Steblay when I was 12. I remember how she took me out of the classroom and expressed her sympathy. I remember asking my mom how that nun would know how I felt. My mom told me she had lost her own brother, a fireman, who fell off a fire truck rushing to a fire. He died from the impact and I think in those days they did not have the head gear that they wear today. When Sister passed away, she was about 100 and I remember my mother called me on the phone and told me and I wept She had a great impact on my life because I had lost my dearest friend in life my grandmother, and she understood.

Seventh Grade: Mrs. Martha Sandstorm This teacher was an older lay teacher but she had a nice method of teaching. She seemed to understand young people our age. It was an exciting time and I enjoyed walking to school with my good friend Karen Mesojedic. Karen's dad came from "the old country" and she was a bojon like me. We still keep in contact to this very day and she is a colon cancer survivor. She is the oldest friend I have, having known her since we were infants, four moths apart. I lost my wonderful grandfather Joe Kocman and felt that same sadness as I had losing my maternal grandmother. He shared many stories with me.  He is the person who explained how the term "bojon" came about.

Eight Grade: Sister Xavier O.S.B. Ah, what comes after the 8th grade? High school! A change in scenery and meeting more cool kids from other Catholic schools and starting a new journey. If you could survive the Big "X"! This nun who I am pretty sure was the second sister of Satan was a tyrant! She enjoyed wielding her power over young people! She carried a wooden ruler with the metal strip on the back. She never hesitated to use that ruler! Karen once passed a note and was busted! The nun read it out loud for the entire class to hear and when she saw that Karen called her the "Big X" she told Karen, go home and inform your parents that the "Big X" raised H E double hockey sticks with you today! Don't forget to let them know that I used profanity too! That nun kept you on your toes. We had all become so accustom to Sister Benita Coffee O.S.B. She was this super young and super cool Irish nun who grew up in Chicago. She was the type of person to roll up her skirts and play baseball with us. When Sister Benita took a new assignment she was replaced by the devil's sister. Not too long ago I asked Boyd Damkoehler at Face Book if he remembered her. He must suffer from repressing Catholic school memories because he said no! I remember the day well. I was called to the board by the "Big X" to solve a Math problem. I was not a Math whiz that was my older brother Eddie's department. I was the reader, the writer, the poetry composer. So Boyd was trying to signal the answer to me and she caught us. She backhanded him across the room and she took her trust ruler and hit me across the middle of the back of my head with her metal strip. When I had my first neuro surgery in 1984 the surgeon asked me if I ever took any blows to my head. I said "I went to Catholic school, what do you think?" I was going to go to high school and to be truthful, many of the nuns were scary but they did teach us well and we learned to read and write and no one I attended Catholic school with tried to bomb their school, murder their peers or harm anyone because of something someone else  had done to them. We were raised in the greatest neighborhood ever and we had values, respect, honesty, and kindness instilled into us not only by our phamilies but also but the teachers at our parochial school. I have taken a lot of time with this post but I will carry on my heritage and write more stories and share more people as the days of July slip by. Thank you for sharing with me.


Intense Guy said...

Such wonderful photos - you were so cute!!!

And such memories!! I barely remember my teacher's names - and not much more from the Elementary School days.

Algodão Tão Doce said...

Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!
Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!


Beijos Marie.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Cute photos, Anne. I guess we all have our memories, good and bad. Thank you for your visit. It has been a life long dream for my son to become a math professor and he's almost there. He will be heading for CO next week. I'm sure he will love the scenery and hiking trails. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend.


Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

Great walk down memory lane!
love your naughty corner story :)
HapPy 4th :)

Edna B said...

What a great story of your schooldays. I am impressed that you remember all your teachers' names. I only remember a few. But you are right about how we and our classmates were not out shooting people and planting bombs everywhere. We were raised to respect and obey the law, among other things.

Looking back, I enjoyed my school days. I still enjoy learning. Best Buy now offers free classes to teach you how to use your tablets and cell phones. Starting next week, I'm going to take advantage of these classes.

Now I'm off to read your other post. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.