Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Catholic School, Part I

When I was young, I did some time. Hard time. I was in the big house for a 6 year stint first at St Pius X in Scarsdale NY, then after 5 years, got sent up the river to St Patrick’s in Bedford NY. I escaped after my sixth year, and they have never seen me since, all they have seen was the sole of my shoes running away. Yeah, it was hard time. In the 50’s, being Italian growing up in a Jewish/Irish neighbor was hard enough, but then having to go to an Irish dominated Catholic School, well, I should have been given the chair, it would have been easier. I swear!

I took public transportation, rode a bus, and my Mom, bless her soul, she was a great mom, but she didnt read the paper, well, unless it was the National Enquirer, so when the bus drivers were on strike, she didnt know, and she would send me down the street, then three blocks up the hill to the state highway, waiting for a bus that wasnt running. I would stand there for hours, until a po-leece car would pass me for like the 4th time, realize that I was waiting for a bus that wasnt running, so he would drive me to school. Now, the school was built as part of a religious compound. It was walled off, had the main school, the church, a rectory for the two priests, and a convent for the 10 nuns. Nuns, you know, the Order of Mary Magdalene, friends of Zorro, the long flowing BLACK capes. Darth Vader had nothing on these women, they could disable his light saber with a mere smirk, and get them pissed off, the Emperor would be crying like a baby at slap time during birth. I swear!

So when said po-leese officer brought this Italian kid into the inner sanctum of this walled city, well, they just KNEW that this Eye-talian was a no-good account son of an immigrant. I would immediately get put into the back of the room after the principal, Sister Mary Margaret gave me the rubber hose treatment in her office. If you look closely at the crosses that adorned every doorway in a Catholic school, they aren’t images of Jesus, they are past children that did the ultimate sin, they talked back to Sister Mary Margaret. I swear!

Catholic school was a real education, I would not be an engineer today if I had gone to public school during those formative years. I was deprived for 6 years from any education regarding science. I was taught some useful skills as the techniques of the Spanish Inquisition, or what the Catholics would call, “The Good Old Days”. I learned how to pray when you life flashed in front of you as you changing subjects in class, were lifting the desk top’s up getting out the cathecism book putting in the history book (pre papal was the dark ages), talking to Brian O’Malley next to you, when looking down towards the floor as you were talking about trading baseball cards, you would see a black flowing robe swishing on the floor at your feet, and before you could pull your head away from the safety of the desk top, SLAM, down came the desk top, hitting you on the head, then before the pain of that hit your sensory, your face was slapped five times by a woman who in her 60’s could hit a punching bag harder AND quicker than Iron Mike Tyson ever could. I swear!

Yeah, science in a 50’s error catholic School was watching Mr Science on public TV mix vinegar and baking soda. I know they would rather us watch heathen Muslims burning at the stake during the Crusades, also called “The Good Old Days”, but even the Church moved a little bit to the center. I swear!

So when I got to public school, I was instantly amazed at REAL science, not the world being created in 6 days, Notre Dame football and bingo being created on the 7th day, but not in that order, it was a revelation. I swear!

to be cont

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