Friday, March 5, 2010

Take One Nun, Add a Pinch of Underage Gambling, Place in a Mixer, and Press Blend

The last two years that I lived in St.Louis before moving to Alabama, I attended a private Catholic school. I'm not Catholic, but the area I was living at in St. Louis had a pretty rough school district. For example, our elementary school's motto was” Be Fight Free!", and not "Education is Important." I really struggled at that school, so my mom put her Southern Baptist daughter into a safer environment.

I really enjoyed attending St. Aloysius. It was a really low key school, it had no heating or ac, so school was canceled if it got too hot or too cold. We had no playground, so we played in the parking lot, and if there was a funeral at the church we had nowhere to play. The classes were really small, and there was only 11 other people in my entire class. It was odd to be the only non-catholic in the entire school, but it really wasn't that big of a deal. My biggest memories from that time period involve dissecting owl pellets (gross), learning to diagram sentences, and a really awful mid-90s hair do.

You see I used to have stick straight blonde hair. You've seen pictures of my hair now, and I have more curls than a southern toddler beauty pageant contestant on the show Little Miss. Perfect. This is because in 3rd grade my mother decided stick straight wasn't good enough, and she gave me a perm. A perm that never, ever fell out. I'm not even kidding. It changed the texture of my hair. If all hairdressers gave perms as permanent as mine, they would go out of business. When it was first permed, it looked like a big curly mullet. And I hated it. It took years before I learned how my hair should be cut, and what it takes to look good. LOTS AND LOTS of FRIZZEASE.

The nuns that ran the school were really kind, but they seemed scary to me (but you know I'm scared of the wind). Those nuns were strict. We wore uniforms, could not wear nail polish, or so much as a hair scrunchy that wasn't in St. Al's colors. But I loved wearing a uniform. It made getting ready in the morning such a simple process. Now I have to do things like MAKE DECSIONS about my clothing, and that just seems so unnecessary. Plus if you know me, you know that picking out matching clothes has never been my forte.

I remember one particular fall season, asbestos was discovered in our school cafeteria and it needed to be renovated, so all the different grades were eating lunch in different classrooms around the school. Our fourth grade class just happened to be eating our lunches in the computer lab. We had been warned again and again that we were not to even think about touching the computers with our grubby little fingers. So we didn't, but the screen saver on the computers were of three hamsters racing. Each time the hamsters would race, a different hamster would win. We soon started betting on the hamsters racing in a CATHOLIC SCHOOL.

"If Green Wins You Have to Trade Me Your Oreos for my Carrot Sticks!" (See, I was a fat kid even then). " I See Your Pretzels and Raise you Two Chips!" Pretty soon we became addicted, and every day we were taking bets and whooping and hollering for every race. And I guess it was the whooping and hollering that attracted the attention of the nuns. The nuns just don't go in for the whooping and hollering. And the nuns were not so happy when they discovered what we were doing. They told us they were very disappointed in us, didn't we know that gambling was wrong? " And that this was something we needed to talk to the priest about at our next confession." (They used to take us to confession once a week as a class, we didn't have to confess anything, we just had the opportunity).

I think she was probably a little hard on us. I don't think we really even knew what gambling was. What did she want us to do break down an apologize and promise to join gambler's anonymous?!? Plus, does she know what I used to do when people would tell me they were "disappointed" in me? I would go home, open my closet, empty my toys from my toy box, close the closet door, and hide in there for hours (I did this all the time as a child).

You would think all of this would have taught my class some kind of lesson about the evilness of gambling. But I guess THEY were all already addicted and it was just too late. Because the next year they started playing poker at recess. But this time, I stayed in the corner and watched.

1 comment:

  1. So you really did get a permanent! :-) I can just see you girls gambling for those hamsters in the computer lab. At least it was with food and not money! Did you have a pit boss? ;-)


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