"Hey, there’s a spot! We must’ve done something right along the way.”
“Yep. Karma. Maybe.”
“I didn’t get picked to play Mary in the Christmas pageant. They chose Darlene. She had blonde sausage curls, straight A’s and was such a flippin’ saint all the time. Remember? The stable used to be right here in front of the convent..."A news story about the St. Anthony pageant. T'was a big deal.
“I always had to wear my dad’s robe, my brother’s sandals and a hand towel on my head to be a shepherd. I think I even wore a beard one time. I was taller than everyone. I never got to be a girl in these things.”
“There were real animals though. I remember a donkey and a calf or something. Sheep too? I think I played an angel one time.”
“Did you hang by your waist from a tree like you were flying? I seem to remember…”
“Everything seems so small now. It was huge when we were little. Even the Angelus Tower seems shorter now. We used to climb up there y'know. All the way to the top. Bill and John and me. Altar boys knew all the great secret passages…”
“Yeah, I heard they used to get the wine from the sacristy and drink it up there…”
“Well, I didn’t do that…I did, however, climb up to the school roof over the principal’s office once thinking I’d avoid getting busted for something or other. Found Sister J. there, her veil off, having a smoke. We promised that we wouldn’t snitch on each other for being on the roof. Or smoking. She had brown hair. It kind of marked me for life to see she actually had hair under her veil. Didn’t we think they were bald? I don’t think she stayed a nun…”
“Stack of bibles.”
“Aww, damn, the gym’s locked. Remember the locker room under the bleachers and when we had to wear these special jumpers for P.E.? They made us look like powder blue pumpkins. Well, so did our regular uniforms as I recall.”
“It always smelled so funky in there.”
“Probably because there was no air conditioning.”
“Can you believe we had no A.C. in 90 degree heat when we were kids? I don’t know how we did it. Let alone the nuns. May explain some of their behavior…”
"It may explain some of ours..."
“No hard soled shoes on the basketball floor! God, they got mad when we wore our loafers out there on the shine. I could slide almost all the way across in my socks.”
“I loved that crazy stage where we put on plays. It had real curtains we could open and close…”
“You were always directing something, yes, I remember.”
“Oh, I can picture the Christmas Fair here. My mom always ran the bazaar. We stuffed ourselves with cotton candy, candy apples, and hot dogs and then we barfed it all up on the rides later! It was weird to see the nuns and the priests out playing carnival games and just hanging around wasn’t it?”
“We’re walking around in a closed school on a Sunday…”
“What’ll they do if they catch us? Call our parents? We went here, we have permission!”
“Here’s a memory: On this very spot, right outside the cafeteria, I will never forget Jose the Janitor sprinkled his magic sawdust down where Terry puked after lunch.”
“I think Terry projectiled on a bunch of us in 1st grade too, during reading circle.”
"And right here they gathered in a clump. A penguin convention. All the nuns sent us home early that day in '63 when Kennedy was assassinated. Remember? They cried. Nuns crying. THAT was awkward."
“It’s a little spooky how much things haven’t changed isn’t it? Will you just look at this cafeteria with the turquoise tiles and the columns that flair at the ceiling and the weird statue up there of Jesus watching over everyone eat?”
“It’s Jesus as like maybe a 6 year old all decked out in a fancy-schmancy medieval robe and a crown, like he was aware of his special powers even as a kid…”
“It’s the same, yes. Wow.”
“I have a question. Your mom volunteered in the hot lunch line with my mom right?”
“Did she ever reveal how they could get the fruit salad chunks to suspend in the jell-o? And, really, what was ‘meat sauce?’”
“Nope. They were sworn to secrecy on the jell-o and I believe meat sauce was also a proprietary recipe.”
“Hey, first grade classroom is open. The alphabet is still up on the wall. It looks the same. Oh, damn. I’m welling up. What the hell? I never wanted to leave first grade. I hung on to Sister S.P. like a spider monkey the last day.”The uber-cool Sister S.P. when we were graduating 8th grade. We knew she had hair.
“Sister S.P. was the best nun ever. She was so cool. She played kickball and ran the bases like a flippin’ gazelle. Taught us how to make crayons last forever. And to read. Dick and Jane and Puff.”
"Brave too. She stomped one of the biggest scorpions I have ever seen. Didn't hesitate, just crushed it!"
“The old live oaks are still out on the playground too. I can see them out the first grade window like I did then. Man, did I daydream about recess in those days. All around those trees.”
“Hey, where’s the bench that used to be outside the principal’s office? I left my very own butt impression there and I am not happy they removed the thing!”
“The principal, Sister M. from 8th grade, was a tiny woman. Remember? She had to reach up to put her arm around my shoulders."
"She had a hard time catching me. Most of us were too fast for her."
"She told me I had some ‘unusual views on things about which we will be having many serious discussions.’ Maybe my face-off with Darlene in a debate contest rang her bell a little, I don’t know. Topic was abortion. I kind of went all scientific on her head.”
“Well, someone had to debate the little angel.”
“C’mon. I’ll show you where I kicked a hole in the wall and was made to clean the boy’s bathroom on a Saturday as a punishment…”
"Oh, Lenzen, that was sappy!"
"Yeah, Wiley. So?"