Grades 1 - 3, I went to the downtown York primary school, which I've documented a bit here.
Sidebar: A perfect example of why blogging is a dying art; I remembered posting these photos and memories, but thought I had done it here. Nope. Facebook. 100s of perfectly bloggable posts have been posted on social media instead over the past years.Definitely a different world, when a parent would put a first grader on a bus to a downtown (inner city) school miles away.
|Image: Google Maps|
- Serving mass (super early) at the church next door. Dad would have to drive me to services and go to mass himself. We'd also get tapped for occasional weddings (weekends, we'd get tipped) and funerals (weekdays, we learned to suck it up and not cry, and also got out of school for a few hours)
- My first grade teacher, Miss Lonsdorf, who kind of traumatized me in terms of art. We were coloring some sort of potato based leprechaun for St. Patrick's Day (I'm 60% Irish so the problematic potato famine iconography is OK). I got chewed out for coloring vertically rather than horizontally. I've never given art a chance since.
- Serving on the school safety patrol. I remember a white cloth belt / sash (which mom dutifully bleached), a badge, and some sense of responsibility / power, even in 3rd grade.
- Getting tasked with putting up / taking down the American flag in front of the building, along with stern directions about folding and not letting the flag touch the ground.
- Recess in the parking lot between the school and the church, as well as behind the church
|Image: Google Maps|
|St. Joseph's School, York, PA, Grade 3 / Mrs. Kroft's Class (1969-1970)|
When we lived in York, St. Joseph had an annex or elementary school (Grades 4 - 8) out in East York, near our home. No bus involved from Grades 4 - 8, instead we walked or (more often) rode a bike.
|Image: Google Maps|
Lots of memories from this property:
- Being the "manager" (i.e. water boy) for the grade school basketball team. The school's one African-American, a kid named Keith, was an all star center - as close to diversity as I got back in the day. Protestants were exotic, Jews unknown, and persons of color were just not in my world. To my parents' credit, Keith came to my birthday parties, I held on to a card from him (which seemed far more 60's hip than anything else in my life) for many years.
- Playing folk mass (wall of guitars, all strumming in furious unison). In those days before electronic tuners, one person would tune to a pitch pipe or tuning fork, and we'd all tune to that person, and must have been a gloriously atonal mess.
- Taking down the seating after mass, before the home basketball games. The chairs would go on long rolling carts, which rolled under the stage. To this day I kind of like putting tables and chairs away.
- For some reason, I ended up being one of several kids tapped to open up the school. We'd ride our bikes to arrive early, get in through the kitchen, and open up the metal security gates for the nuns, who would arrive en masse in a station wagon from the downtown convent. I think we could get our fingers in to unscrew the bolts holding the gates to the floor, the gates would open 18" or so for early arriving staff and teachers. Once the nuns arrived with keys we would unlock the gates and stow them for the day.
- Sr. Kathleen, a rabid Phillies fan, who would sit us in order of performance on the last math test, and task the person in seat #1 (star pupil, no need to really pay attention) with listening to the game on the radio with an earphone, and report any scores.
- Sr. Alice, a tall drink of water who was also the gym teacher, and I suspect excelled in basketball and volleyball in her own school days.
- Sr. Patricia Anne Doyle, who got that I was one wounded little kid behind my "smartest kid in the school" exterior, and tried to round me out a little.
- Sr. ________ (name escapes me) who would show 35 mm filmstrips, with cassette tape soundtrack, and would fall asleep. We'd go (quietly) wild, make sure to rewind the film to the start before she awoke.
- My nemesis, a kid named Francis W. I'm pretty sure our battle royale was for last place in the school pecking order. I think I got into a real fight with him at some point in my school career which must have been, in hindsight, pretty pathetic.
|St. Joseph's School, York PA, 8th Grade Graduating Class (May 1975)|
Aside from Keith, not a lot of diversity, although looking closely at the faces (I don't recall many names) there were probably a few middle eastern, Mediterranean, and Latino kids. But we all spoke English and we were all Catholic - so not much in the way of cultural diversity evident.
Truth be told, I adored the nuns, probably because they were mostly proto-lesbians with varying levels of butchness, sportiness, curious hobbies and interests, trying to find a place in a world that was not quite ready for who they were.