Monday, August 31, 2015

Sisters of Mercy


In third grade my teacher at Catholic school was a nun named Sister Leonce, I think. If I am wrong, if anyone wants to correct me I would be happy to hear what her name was. And while you are at it, I cannot remember what the order the nuns were. Were they sister’s of mercy? Luckily some of the Good Shepherd kids read my blog and might be able to help me out here. (This is what blogging every night with two kids looks like: I think of things and have no time to fact check, barely check spelling and grammar, and so it just gets written, it is a work in progress.)

Side note: a bunch of the nuns had interesting names, some with a French origin. There was an ancient ancient librarian named Sr. Victoire, Victoix? I am not sure of the spelling, but the pronunciation was Vic –TWAH. Pretty cool name, she could have been 100 years old, and she wore a black habit and floor length dress, unlike some of the more modern nuns who embraced the 1970’s styles for nuns of lighter colors and just below the knee dresses. She wore black stockings and boots or high cut shoes that she could have been wearing since the turn of the century. Sr. Victoire was hunched and wrinkled and may have been going deaf or blind, and ultimately was not so pleasant to me.

Sr. Leonce, on the other hand, was a decent egg as far as I recall. One day a boy was giving me a lot of attention. Attention from guys made me incredibly uncomfortable. It was late in the afternoon, we were all just reading at our desks, doing nothing. I was reading a Paddington Book. The teacher was sitting at her desk, not teaching and she got amused by this boy. I am not sure what he was doing but he was making a show of his affection. She called him up to her desk and he told her that he liked me. They had a conversation about it. Then he sat down and she called me up. She just chatted with me which was something I had never really experienced before, not from a teacher, or any grown up ever, really.  She was light and playful and she asked me some questions good-naturedly something like, “So, is M giving you a hard time? Does he like you?” Something like that.

I was a deer caught in the headlights. I had no idea where this was going. I was used to things going haywire and me figuring it out before it did and knowing how to duck and cover, knowing how to survive, knowing how to take care of myself. I had been taking care of myself since birth by figuring out what I was supposed to do to suffer the least possible hurt but I could not figure her out and know what to expect. I stood there and kind of shook my head and grunted, kind of answered her and she smiled and scooted me back to my seat. Nothing happened.

I went back to my seat and held the Paddington book in front of my face for privacy and I sat at my desk and cried.

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