Favorite Teachers and Catholic School Uniforms
I wore a uniform for 12 years: 8 years maroon and white, 4 years green and white. One might think we girls all looked alike and in grammar school we did except for that one show-off who wore white knee socks instead of maroon. In high school a more drastic measure was adopted to differentiate us from the pack: belts were tightened. Hello smoking young divas.
Here’s how it worked, the belting brought up the uniform’s length and we just pulled it tight enough to stop the breath, ours and the boys. But bless her; Sister Mary Cora would make all the girls line up to assess our respectability and then she efficiently proceeded to measure - with a tape from the ground up - this uniform’s proper length in inches from the floor.
But we teen females being ever so clever would bend forward; therefore, the lengthening of this little wool dress was guaranteed. Sister, on her knees with her habit covering the floor, would look up. “Missy, stand up straight,” she would order but we knew she loved us even without a smile so we would stand erect (while all of the other kids watched and covered their grins) until, that is, she looked down. So bend again we would and on and on. What delightful innocence. Kids remember the best teachers for so many reasons.
Now keep in mind, this nun, this divine Sister of Mercy, read Homer aloud to us. She told me the way to win the smartest guy in the class would be to get an A. She made me recite Milton “When I consider how my light is spent ere half my days in this dark world and wide,” though admittedly I had difficulty with this exercise until she agreed that I could sing it to my favorite song “What Kind of Fool Am I.”
I received an A on this exercise and figured this was a true definition of mercy but I suspect Sister honestly didn’t know what to do with me. In parting, may I mention that this good and brilliant nun was a Jewish convert to Catholicism? Oh, on the boy? Sister’s suggestion worked.