Posted tagged ‘Grammar School’

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”

November 7, 2013

I love the sound of rain and today is a good day for a lover of rain. When I woke up, the first sound I heard was rain drops falling on the roof so I stayed in bed a bit longer and listened. Gracie gave me a look but she was too comfortable in bed beside me to move and quickly settled back to sleep. I stayed in bed and read a while but the thought of a fresh cup of coffee and the biscotti I bought yesterday were too enticing so I got up and went downstairs, put the coffee on and went outside to get the papers. The leaves are plastered to my driveway and the street. Pine needles cover the lawn, but the rain is welcomed as it has been so dry.

Yesterday Gracie and I went for one errand then we took a ride down cape. She kept her head out the window surveying the world as we passed. I saw some color, mostly bright red. The ocean was quiet. I stopped at one store and bought a few things, odd things like measuring cups, a scoop and some chutney.

I remember my grammar school classroom on rainy days. The lights hung down from the high ceiling, and in the darkness of the day the room always seemed a bit shadowy despite the banks of windows on the back and one side wall. Rain subdued us. There was none of the shuffling of feet or the rustling of papers. I’d lose myself in the rain, and the sound of the nun’s voice would get further and further away until I didn’t hear it anymore. I’d watch the drops of rain pelt the window and find one drop to watch as it rolled down the window getting smaller and smaller until it finally disappeared then I’d find another drop to watch. I was a long way from school on rainy days.

Today is a stay home day. I have no reason to go anywhere. My bed is already made so I have done all my household chores leaving the rest of the day for reading and maybe napping in the late afternoon. A dark, rainy day seems to lend itself to a nap. I’ll stay in my around the house comfy clothes and slippers. Today sounds perfect.

“My childhood smells like a box of Crayola crayons.”

November 30, 2012

I won’t bore you with a description of today’s weather. Ditto ought to be enough.

We all slept in this morning: Gracie, Fern and I. It was really late or early morning depending on how you look at time before I finally went to bed. It was 10 o’clock when I woke up. Gracie and Fern are already back to napping. Maddie is also napping. She is beside me on the couch and right next to the dog. This is monumental. Gracie has been chasing Maddie since Gracie first walked in the door when she was a puppy. Lately, though, Gracie ignores Maddie more than she chases her. They have even sniffed noses, an intimate move in the animal world. I don’t know if its familiarity after 7 years or just boredom which has caused Gracie to give up the chase. Poor Maddie has finally stopped running.

In grammar school, when I was in the first or second grade, we sometimes colored pictures near Christmas. The pictures were always of the manger scene, no Santa and no reindeer. The nun would have us pull out our boxes of crayons and we’d get busy. I remember I always made the straw yellow, a bit bright, but that was as close I could get to the real color of straw as shading colors was way off in my future. The halo over the Baby Jesus was the same color as the straw; a box of Crayola crayons in those days had limitations. The scene also had Mary and Joseph, the manger, always colored brown, a donkey and a shepherd with a lamb across his shoulders. I colored Mary’s dress blue because every statue had Mary in blue, different shades but still always blue. Joseph wore brown. The shepherd wore green and brown. The lamb wore white.

I’d scrawl my name at the top. It usually went all the way across the paper as I hadn’t yet mastered sizing my letters. Most time only Kathleen R. fit, and it was never written in a straight line. It sloped on the right and started going down the page. It didn’t matter. I was always proud of my work. It was perfect for hanging on the refrigerator art gallery.

“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.”

March 17, 2012

Yesterday it was in the darkness of early morning when I woke while today it was 10:30. I am as fickled as the weather. My friend Clare came by with a few St. Patrick’s day gifts and rang the bell. Gracie barked, and I woke up then tried to figure out the what day it is. I got it on the first try.

If St. Patrick’s Day was on a school day, we got it off as a holiday. After all, I went to St. Patrick’s Grammar School, and we had to honor the school’s patron saint or at least that’s what the nuns told us, but the significance of the day was always lost on us as we had no idea how to honor a patron saint, but we knew how to enjoy a day off from school. March was always the most dismal of school months with only this one day off unless Easter came early and we got Good Friday. We did thank St. Patrick but not for the reasons the nuns expected.

If you lived in and close to Boston, you also got today off from school but not for St. Patrick’s Day. Today is Evacuation Day. It is the day the British evacuated the city of Boston during the Revolutionary War. It used to be an official holiday for all schools and state workers but it was eliminated last year and now is celebrated in name only.

When I was in high school and a member of St. Patrick’s Shamrock drill team, we marched in the parade. It was the worst of all parades in which to march. Sometimes it was freezing cold. Every time, some drunk would join us for a bit of the march with a glass of beer in his hand he was more than happy to share with us. I remember the crowds along the street were loud and always cheered us for our name and for the shamrocks on our uniforms.

When I was in college, going to the St. Patrick’s day parade in South Boston was a big deal. It was a day to celebrate by wearing green and drinking a significant amount of alcohol. I remember several toasts to me by people I didn’t know that we’d met in the bars. Kathleen Ryan is as Irish a name as can be.

My mother always made corned beef and cabbage today. She was a great cook, but I do remember one year she cooked it a bit too long, and my father was mystified when he couldn’t find the potatoes. They had dissolved in the pan. He was more than disappointed.

I have no plans for today though I’m thinking I might go out for corned beef and cabbage. I can’t imagine St. Patrick’s  Day without it.

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

December 16, 2011

I was surprised at how warm it felt when I got the papers this morning. The day, from the window, looked cold. The sunlight is steely, and there is a wind blowing even the biggest pine tree trunks back and forth. Last night it rained, and the drops pelted the door and windows. Gracie wasn’t too happy when she had to make her last trip outside before bedtime.

Around this time of year, my school, St. Patrick’s Grammar School, held its annual fair. It was a really big deal and it was held at the huge meeting room in the town hall which had moveable wooden seats, a stage and an orchestra pit under the stage and was where we made our record with Guy Lombardo. On the day of the fair, we only had a half day of school. The nuns would walk us down the street two blocks to the town hall, and, once there, we were free, on our own. The first stop was always for lunch, a hot dog, a rare treat to have the money to buy. It made me feel rich plunking down the money for lunch. That was thanks to my mother who always gave us enough money so we could buy the hot dog and still have some left to buy a few gifts for the family. Tables ringed the room, and on them were all sorts of gifts for Christmas. I could buy crochet doilies, knitted mittens and hats, plants in all sorts of containers, baked goods and just about anything else you can imagine one of the mothers might have made, but I always headed to the kids’ table. It was filled with gifts to buy for the family and most were only a dime or a quarter. I’d walk up and down the table looking for the perfect gifts for my parents and for my sisters and brother. My mother often got a plant, my father a hankerchief. Once I bought army men for my brother. I don’t remember what I bought for my sisters, but I figure it could have been baby bottles for their dolls, the sort where the milk seemed to disappear.

Those gifts weren’t ever much, but I always felt proud that I could buy them and have something to give at Christmas. When I’d get home from the fair, I’d hide my packages until I could wrap them. The most excitment came when I’d put them under the tree and then tease my sisters about what I had bought them. That was always fun.

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