“I’m a detective, but nuns could stonewall Sam Spade into an asylum”

The sun is winter sharp. The pine branches stand silhouetted against the blue sky. Snow flurries are predicted. It is only 30˚, the high for the day. It will go down to the teens later. I could go out, but I won’t. I’ll save all my errands for tomorrow.

When I was a kid, I’d stick out my tongue to catch the snowflakes. I don’t remember the cold days so much. I was always dressed in layers which I’d bemoan when I got to the cloak room where I’d have to peel off each layer while trying to avoid my classmates doing the same thing. The cloak room was narrow and made even worse when the winter coats hung from the hooks on both sides. I’d put my hat in one sleeve of my coat and my mittens in the other. I was always glad to get into my warm classroom with its high radiators hissing with steam and rumbling with water passing through each pipe. I’d put my lunchbox under my desk and then sit, hands folded, and wait for the bell announcing the start of the day. An eighth grader standing at the very top of the staircases rang that hand held bell.

My church has an upstairs and a downstairs. During the school day, whenever we went to church, the nuns used to walk us and shush anyone who dared to talk. We walked two by two in pairs of girls and boys, always to the downstairs of the church except when we practiced for ceremonies like first communion and confirmation. Despite the keen-eared nuns, we whispered to each other. The key was to keep looking straight ahead while talking. The nuns could hear us but never figured out who the reprobates were. We could hear the nuns get out of the pews. Their beads always rattled. By the time they got to us, we were quiet. I never got caught.

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6 Comments on ““I’m a detective, but nuns could stonewall Sam Spade into an asylum””

  1. hedley Says:

    Mrs MDH and I were aboard the 6am flight out of Ft Meyers back to Detroit. The coat issue was somewhat problematic moving from a nice warm 80 something to a bit of a challenge in the 20s. the sun had burned most of the snow off the car and as usual Delta did an excellent job getting us home.

    I always prided myself that we were identified as the first boys to be caned at St Andrews convent when we were 6 or something. We had been stood in line to enjoy the only boys toilet and the corridor stretched past “Father’s Door” whatever that means. Anyways seems he was not amused that we were singing “Father opened the door and floated down the corridor” and we were rewarded by the swipes of a rambunctious nun.

    Perhaps this is why, when Mark Mower and I decided (aged 6) to slide underneath all the partitions in the girls bathrooms and lock all the doors from inside, we were not impressed with the “amnesty” offered by the sisters as they went classroom to classroom looking for a confession.

    When I think about it, I am surely doomed to the down escalator. oh well

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I’m sorry, but I can’t summon pity for you and your coat problems. You were hot, and I was cranking up the heat.

      I love your prank of locking the doors though if I were a six year old girl who had to go, I’d be really angry. We also had only one girls’ room, and it was in the basement. If you were on the top floor, you had to go fast and furiously down the stairs.

      My friends claim that I got away with everything. They were right, and I have no idea why. I was even blatant about my skirting the rules. I guess I looked too innocent.

  2. Birgit Says:

    It’s cold, slightly above freezing. Who would be so crazy to go to an open air concert? Well, I did and and a lot of other people too. A school band played as part of our weekly gathering against the nazi march in that town. It was fun. Kudos to the band playing in the cold.

    • katry Says:

      In my younger days, I would probably have gone, layered of course.

      I picketed for the grape workers, and against George Wallace when he ran for president. I don’t think cold would have stopped me.

  3. olof1 Says:

    Sunny here both yesterday and today and I can feel the temperature drop outside now, the night will be chilly. I have a new ice scraper for the car windows but I just can’t remember where I put it. I accidentally brought it in with me the day I bought it and placed it somewhere I would find it easily 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I’m trying to remember what we did with our clothes during winter, I think that we hang our jackets outside but all the extra pants and sock were removed in the classroom as I remember it and I was lucky by always siiting by the window and beside a radiaotor so myclothes dried up pretty fast 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      I had to laugh. Like you, I put things in easy to find places then I forget where I put them. I’m always surprised when I unexpectedly find something. My mother too was like that. We’d often find a new present under the tree after we had opened all of our presents earlier.

      Sunny and a bit warmer today. I was out doing errands. Tonight is quite cold, but that’s how it’s been for the last few days.

      When we were little, we were bundled in the winter. We wore skis pants under our school uniforms. Older kids wouldn’t be caught dead wearing ski pants. I wore knee socks, and I remember pink longish underwear which stopped at my knees. The cloak room was often so filled that things didn’t dry.

      Enjoy your day!

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