I was youngest in the school…….. started at only 12 yrs old, and a young 12 at that! I was intelligent and quick thinking, but at the “tomboy” stage. Naive too. Not interested in Social Niceties, not out to impress, not too concerned about my looks……. just wanting to learn and enjoy life.
My one and only friend was a girl named Mary, who was second youngest in the school! We were inseparable…….. passing notes, giggling, reading the same books. Getting in “trouble” but nothing serious, just young girls being full of life. Our Home room teacher was Mother Elaine……. oh how her rosary clacked as she rocked back and forth on creaky shoes…. She seemed to be miserable and unhappy.
She certainly didn’t like me…….. I was not a suitable “Lady of Loretto”….. I stumbled on the steps….I hated the dusty old corridors in the older building….. the horrid wooden seats in the assembly hall, everything so dreary and depressing…….. the freezing toilets…… the ugly black uniforms, black stockings, black oxfords…… hard collars and cuffs…..
One day my mother said that M. Elaine had called her in for a talk. I trembled in my shoes, as mother was very strict with great respect for the nuns. I had no clue what the talk was about and waited for mother to come home. She said nothing about the interview so after a day or so I asked what M. Elaine wanted? Mother (who would DIE before disrespecting a nun) only answered “Oh, that woman!” and that was that. I was relieved I wasn’t going to be punished and left things it at that.
Years later, after I was a mother myself, the subject came up again……. this time I found that Mother Elaine said that my only friend Mary and I should be separated. Why? Well not because of our silliness in class but because we were lesbians! Well, at that age I was not even aware much about any sex at all, nevermind that lesbians or gays existed! No wonder my mother didn’t say anything.
As for Mary and I……… we got put in different classrooms. Fortunately for us, we had taught ourselves sign language, and would message each other through the glass windows in the classroom doors! LOL!!!
Looking back, I see that some of the nuns were OK. Most of them seemed remote from real life………. in health class (what a joke) I remember being told to “rinse my hose in the sink every night” and “remember girls, to stay away from the opposite sex”.
But lately I have I begun to respect some nuns ……… those who are involved in the community, the parish work. They seem more human.