Duck and Cover Days (tf)

First grade? A painful time. Sister Dolarossa was a bit of a sadist, and she had one of those big red ruby rings. Like a college class ring or something you’d get for winning the Super Bowl. When any of us displeased her she would slide the ring down a bit on her finger, so she could drive it into the top of our skulls when she gave us noogies. Such violence was no big deal at the time, because if we even bothered to tell our parents about it they either didn’t believe us or thought we probably deserved it. Sister Dolarossa was, incidentally, one of the most even-tempered nuns in my grade school. My 3rd grade teacher was a Sister Daria, a woman of volcanic temper who, in retrospect, not only shouldn’t have been allowed around children….but shouldn’t have been allowed outside in generation population at all. She once slapped me on the side of the head for sitting at a desk that she managed to trip over. Her face would turn purple when she lost it and spit would come out of her mouth and it sounded like she was speaking in tongues. Her arms would flail and her nun-hat would slide of the back of her head and she’d reach for whatever was handy and throw it at whoever was handy. And then, just as quick, she’d be normal again. Even matronly. She either didn’t take her medicine or was prescribed the wrong stuff, because she was totally batshit. We were terrified of her.

After that, things calmed down for a few years….mostly because in 4th and 5th grade our nuns had to be a combined 200 years old. They couldn’t hear very well, and they weren’t nimble enough to beat us up. We started to exact some revenge for past tortures around this time. Tried and true methods included sticking nickels and dimes to the floor with glue and farting so incessantly that the classroom at times needed to be cleared and aired out. Golden Days.

Business picked up in 6th grade with Sister Fanchon, a 4 foot, 240 pound squeaky-voiced, sex-obsessed dynamo who disgustingly used the same tissue to blow her nose all day long, folding it up in a new square when done and clamping it to her wrist with her watch. Boys were not allowed to sit without both hands showing on the desk, because she was convinced any hand that could not be seen was tugging at something the holy spirit did not approve of. She called us her “little petunias” and she packed a wallop, one time banging on the window so hard to get somebody’s attention that she put her hand through it.

For some reason all I can remember about 7th grade is that I kissed my first girl that year and really really liked it a lot. It was behind the school bus and she had gum in her mouth and braces and those rubber bands you wear with braces. I felt all three and life was never quite the same again.

By 8th grade disturbed nuns were so common that nobody really batted an eye when Sister Joan threw a kid from Dickson City down the steps. Nobody really liked the kid anyway. On a school trip to the Philadelphia Zoo he reached into the peacock cage and pulled all the bird’s feathers out, which caused the poor thing to die of shock as we all watched. That was an interesting bus ride home. As far as I know, my grade-school is still banned from the Philadelphia Zoo to this day.

In High School I had a few more nuns….one who taught Latin sticks out only because she eschewed physical violence, instead tearing our little psyches to shreds with the most sarcastic tongue I’d ever heard. I admired her for not running with the pack. I think she’s still alive. She was about 90 then.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on May 1, 2011.

One Response to “Duck and Cover Days (tf)”

  1. I can make up for what you missed in 7th grade, I had Sister MAry Godzilla, who used to whack out knuckles with a one by one board ( not a ruler ), when she finished you could not move your hand or pick up a pencil for about an hour.

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