Posted tagged ‘leaving school’

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

February 22, 2016

I saw them this morning right beside the front steps. My snowdrops, the first real stirrings of spring, have bloomed. Those tiny white flowers have endured snow, below zero temperatures and freezing rain. They are my heroes of spring flowers. They bring hope and joy. Seeing them made me almost giddy. Today is a good day.

The sun is bright but the chilly breeze makes it sweatshirt cold. I have a few stops including the hardware store, not often on my list, and Agway for cat food and litter, two boring places for shopping. I just can’t get excited about nails or screws or wire. As for Agway, they have flowers come spring which redeem the other parts of the store, the boring parts.

I always used to wonder what was under the headpieces the nuns wore. I thought nuns were bald until once I saw a tiny bit of hair from under a coif. I never understood why their outfits were called habits and why most of their habits were black and white, even their thick stockings were black. When my aunt the nun didn’t have to wear a habit any more, she dressed in normal clothes. She also had the worst taste in clothing. I suspect it was because of decades of wearing her habit and not having to choose what to wear or how to accessorize.

Nuns in habits were a bit scary looking when I was young. Most weren’t mean but the habits made them look as if they had the ability to be. A glaring, burning look was all a nun needed for discipline. It wasn’t until I was in the eighth grade that I heard one yell. She was Sister Hildegarde, a legend among us. Even now we all still remember Sister Hildegarde and each of us has a favorite story. I liked her because she was oblivious. I left school during the day, but I always asked permission. She always gave it and never once asked a question about where I was going. I’d just tell her I had to leave but I’d be back. I’d wander around the square, go to the library or have a picnic near the benches at the town hall. I’d mosey back to school after an hour or more of freedom. She’d nod at me to acknowledge my return when I came in and sat down. Usually my friend Jimmy was with me. He took the same delight I did in skirting the line. Nobody else ever came with us. I don’t think they had the same sense of adventure we did or maybe they were just a bit scared. We did it for the fun of it.

“I’m sorry. This is diary, not enlightenment.”

April 28, 2014

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I woke up. There it was, the sun, shining through the bedroom window. The sky was even blue. I ran downstairs trailed by Gracie and Fern and opened the front door. The sun streamed through the glass and Fern got comfy on the rug in the heat of the sunlight. Gracie went into the yard, and I went onto the deck. There was a bit of a morning chill, but I didn’t care. We have sun, glorious sun.

One side of my den table is covered in sticky notes. A list of perennials for the garden fill one note. I chose flowers of varying heights because I particularly want some taller ones for the back. Another sticky has a small shopping list for today: bird seed, cat food and toilet paper. A third note is a reminder I need to go to CVS.  The last note has a list of authors I want to read and a few apps I want to download to my iPad. Sticky notes are my salvation.

When I was around twelve or thirteen, I got a diary as a Christmas present. The cover was pink vinyl and had a cartoonish teenage girl on the front talking on the phone. The diary came with a small gold key, but I really didn’t need to lock it. Little in there was ever something I wanted hidden. In my first few entries I mostly talked about school and drill (I was on a drill team) and what my friends and I were doing which wasn’t much. I did mention sneaking out of school at lunch time pretending I was going home to eat. I also admitted to my diary that I had lied. I arrived back to school late after lunch some days and told the nun I was with Father somebody or other. She always bought the lie.

I didn’t have enough teenage angst to fill my diary. I wrote about being angry with my mother or father, but that anger never lasted long. I wrote about what a jerk my brother was, but that was no revelation. Life for me was really pretty easy. I got tired of that diary after only a few months and stopped writing in it. I put it in my drawer and just left it there. It got covered with stuff, and I forgot all about it until we were moving to the Cape. I was clearing out my bureau where I found the diary and started reading. It was about the most boring thing I’d ever read.

“You can drag my body to school but my spirit refuses to go.”

June 7, 2013

The morning is chilly, drab and damp. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and thinking about socks as my feet are cold. I should have known the weather would turn as soon as I took the comforter off my bed. This weather will be hanging around through the weekend so I might as well pull out the comforter and put it back on the bed. I had such high hopes when I stored it. Yesterday I got outside as far as the deck. I made my bed, my sole accomplishment of the day, and went through cooking magazines and cut out recipes. I also browsed catalogues and dog-eared a few pages which had items I’d like to buy. It was a good day.

When I was a kid, around this time in June, we’d have final exams then we’d spend the next few days cleaning out our desks and packing away the classroom. It was always the best time of the year. We could chat all we wanted, and we did no schoolwork. Learning had ended. Our last day of school was always a half day. It was the day we got our report cards. The nun would call us to her desk one by one. None of us looked at the cards until we got back to our desks where we always looked on the back first. The bottom of the back was where it said Promoted To. We didn’t care about grades or deportment. We just wanted the next number in succession. I remember running home that last day with a few papers and my report card in hand. I’d yell to my mother I got promoted. That always seemed the most important part.

My sister who is five years younger than I wasn’t all that keen on being in school. She’d ask to go to the bathroom or the cloak room then go straight out the door and walk home. My other sister, too young for school, would tell my mother, “Sheila’s coming up the hill.” My mother couldn’t drive in those days so she walked Sheila back to school with my youngest sister in tow. The next time it happened I got sent to get her. I never minded. It meant I could leave school, take a casual walk home then walk back to school with Sheila. The nuns figured out the answer to Sheila’s escapes: they sent a guard with her whenever she left the room. That put an end to her walks home and my freedom even if was a little while.