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Tales of Catholic Grammar School

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  • #16
    Good stuff Bocco

    If you substitute navy blue V-necks for your green ones then your experience is pretty much the same as what we had at St. Al's. I've been waiting for someone to mention cutting up brown paper bags for book covers. I thought that maybe my brother, cousins and I were the only ones who did that. I thought it was an Italian thing like pepperoni sandwiches, green olives and frisidee (sp?) in our lunch pails. The Irish kids like Birddog and Gamagin had to suffer with peanut butter and jelly and Hostess white bread. Of course I really didn't know there was a difference and I thought we were all both Irish and Italian until I was in about the 8th grade. After all, we all stole altar wine together, wore green on St. Patrick's Day, Notre Dame was the only football team in the land and St. Aloysius was Italian. No wonder we were all confused. Father O'Malley would end his religion class with a little prayer to Our Mother of Victory on Fridays before a Notre Dame game. That's the same Father O'Malley who also taught religion to my mother and Bing Crosby and he's the same priest who Bing named his leading character after in Going My Way and Bells of St. Mary's.

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    • #17
      jhoop

      I meant to mention stealing sips of altar wine and munching on unconsecrated hosts, that most be a common experience of every altar boy. For me it was one of my first tastes of alcohol other than the stolen sips of beer from my dad when he wasn't looking.

      Fr. Duggan was our pastor. Every so often he would come into the 8th grade classroom point to two of the boys and say "you two come with me." Now when its September of your 8th grade year and you are one of the two he points to you start shaking in your loggers and wondering what the heck you did....turns out he needed two servers for a funeral. After the funeral he took us over to the rectory (in our alterboy garb) for hot chocolate and donuts, while the funeral procession left the church and headed for the cemetary. After about half an hour we climb into his Rambler American and proceed through the streets of Tacoma at 50 plus miles an hour (the speed limits were mostly 30) barely slowing for red lights, stop signs etc, and just catching up to the funeral procession as it entered the cemetary for the graveside service. I think I spent the whole time hunkered down in the backseat waiting for the cops to pull over us over. Would have been quite a site - two altar boys and a priest all decked out in our church garments pulled over by Tacoma's finest. It turns out the Tacoma police were well aware of Fr. Duggan's driving habits and he had accumulated more that his share of speeding tickets.

      I think the next time we knew there was a funeral and the pastor came into the 8th grade classroom all 26 of us jumped up to volunteer.
      The world is a magical place full of people waiting to be offended by something.

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      • #18
        If you can't handle the confusion, stay out of the Foo!

        Uber on GuBoards: "Pathetic. We've got posters just sleepwalking through threads."

        No Foo for You!

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        • #19
          JMJ

          April 16, 2007

          Dear Mr. UberZagFan


          Thank you so much for the wonderful photo of the good Sisters of the Divine Retribution, who taught me during my eight year confinement at Holy Fool of the Lord Grade School (known affectionately to those incarcerated there as Holy Fools.)

          Your picture is much more recent that when I was at Holy Fools since their weapon of choice was approximately 3" long pointer that had the appearance of being miniature pool cue, and the sisters were much younger in appearance.

          The last thing one wanted to hear as Sister was pointing out the errors a fellow student made diagramming a sentence was the rapid tapping of said pointer on the black board followed by the words, "Mr. Bocco front and center." Resistance was futile. Upon compliance with this request you were further instructed to hold your hand out palms up, and justice was quickly given. Usually this was to the sniggers of the remaining fifty-nine students watching with great glee and relief that it was not them on the receiving end. Sniggering was brought to an immediate halt, when Sister inquired if anyone else want to share in my discomfort.

          After grade school I attended Justice Under God Preparatory run by the Jesuits. Most of us referred to this as JUG. Punishment was handled with less immediacy. Usually you were sent out of the classroom and told to put your nose to the window of the classroom door and wait for the vice-principle Fr. Disciplinarian, who routinely patrolled the halls of JUG Prep looking for scofflaws and miscreants. The choice given was either two hacks or and hour after school cleaning the grounds of the school. Usually the hacks were preferable.


          Sincerely yours,
          Bocco

          P.S. Your picture must reflect the good sisters new calling of being the promised Heavenly Virgins mentioned so often in current news stories.
          Last edited by Bocco; 04-16-2007, 04:53 PM.
          The world is a magical place full of people waiting to be offended by something.

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          • #20
            Nunsense

            Nuns with Guns. . .sounds like a new wave band. . .or a very religious group of power lifters who hang at the Gold's Gym. . .

            FWIW, when I first saw the photo of the firearm totin' penquins, it was just after the word on the Virginia Tech massacre had hit the internet. I didn't find the photo very funny after hearing THAT piece of news. . .
            The GUB Resource Library: Links to: Stats, Blogs, Brackets, & More. . .

            “They go to school. They do their homework. They shake hands. They say please and thank you. But once you throw that ball up, they will rip your heart out and watch you bleed.” -- Jay Bilas

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            • #21
              Originally posted by RenoZag View Post
              FWIW, when I first saw the photo of the firearm totin' penquins, it was just after the word on the Virginia Tech massacre had hit the internet. I didn't find the photo very funny after hearing THAT piece of news. . .
              So true RenoZag. The events at Virginia Tech are very sad and sobering. Hopefully we are all keeping the victims, their families and friends in our prayers.
              The world is a magical place full of people waiting to be offended by something.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Angelo Roncalli View Post
                There was a lower class of Catholics, the kids who attended public school and had to go to CCD on Saturdays for their religious indoctrination.
                Yeah, and we CCD kids really envied you...we had to do both school and Mass on Holy Days of Obligation, when you got off with just Mass. CCD at St. Paschals was rigorous in its own way, as the Sters had so little time to indoctrinate us. I was a suck-up with a beatific smile that I perfected, so was able to get away with lots more than other boys. And the guessing games, where Ster would give a holy card or scapula to the student who guessed the number between 1 and 100. With one teacher the secret number was always 7, and with another 40, so I won a shoebox full of holy cards.

                A lot of the other things are the same as you guys experienced, saving the pagan babies, Father coming to the classroom to tag us out to train as altar boys, baseball on the (asphalt) church parking lot. Oh, and the nuns gave us extra credit if we ejaculated: saying the Holy Names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph out loud. And writing JMJ on top of our papers. Man, they were so predictable.

                To us public school kids, you guys were thought to be tough and probably smokers, and the girls were reputed to be easy. When I went to GU in 1965, I found out a lot of it was true.

                Now back to your fond memories.....

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by zag69 View Post
                  the nuns gave us extra credit if we ejaculated: saying the Holy Names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph out loud
                  Now there is a word I have not heard in that context in quite a while. Thanks for the remembery.
                  The world is a magical place full of people waiting to be offended by something.

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                  • #24
                    The Day Sister Lucilla raided Skinners.

                    This was in "57" of course, and "Pappy" Skinners pool hall was just around the corner from St. Patricks School. Some of us 7th & 8th grade boys would skip mandatory attendence at 8:00 AM Mass to pick up change racking balls and bussing tables, even shooting a game of snooker once in a while if an adult(usually a younger family friend or relative who would'nt rat you out) would consent to play with you.One Monday Sister Lucilla hit that place like Elliot Ness on a bootleg raid, herded about six of us out of there and we had to meet with Fr. McKernan after Mass and explain ourselves. Needless to say our hastily contrived cover story was a complete flop. We all received corporal punishment, in my case, as I was a Server, I had to serve the 6:30 AM Mass for two weeks in a row and write a detailed account of how hanging out at a poolhall could become an "occaision of Sin". You should have read that story. lol.
                    [/QUOTE]“Sometimes a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.”
                    ― Scottie Pippen

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                    • #25
                      HBZ, that is a great story! Was that St. Patrick's School in Hillyard?
                      _______________________________
                      Gonzaga - The Greatest Student Section in the Nation!

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                      • #26
                        Bcw

                        Glad you enjoyed it, but that was when the HBZ was in his element, St Patricks School in Weston West Virginia,taught by the good Sisters of Mount St Joseph of Cincinatti, who dispensed Faith, Knowledge. and Love in equal proportions with discipline. Those Ladies loved us kids, but were very quick on the draw with a ruler across the knuckles.
                        [/QUOTE]“Sometimes a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.”
                        ― Scottie Pippen

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                        • #27
                          Bump ( after the shocking discovery in an abandoned footlocker of a cache of photos previously unseen by Reno ). . .
                          The GUB Resource Library: Links to: Stats, Blogs, Brackets, & More. . .

                          “They go to school. They do their homework. They shake hands. They say please and thank you. But once you throw that ball up, they will rip your heart out and watch you bleed.” -- Jay Bilas

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                          • #28
                            Montana Experience

                            Realize I am reading this thread quite late, but the stories are so memory stirring I have smiled the entire time.

                            We had St. Francis nuns(huge habits, small headgear) and Jesuit priests. Entire Parish central was set up on one city block with inner area dedicated to school hour playground and event/mass parking other times. Gym, high school(120 kids), church, priest house/rectory(4 priests/ 5 bedrooms), grade school for 8 grades(approx 480 kids), Janitor's home(1000 sq ft/5 kids) and the nuns convent were buildings comprising the outer edge around the entire block. So big then, hard to imagine all that activity on one square block in the 50s and early 60s.

                            1st to 5th grade used inner area as playground, 6th-8th(no recess of course) used an actual city street for lunch hour play. The "publicans", as we called all non-catholics, didn't really approve but Catholic voter turn-out was always the strongest so council and strategic police and fire positions were often under God's province if you will. Approved playing in the street must have escaped the city's insurance man in those days...hookie bobbing was world class all winter so long as you weren't caught. Lumber yard trucks from across the street to the north allowed up to "8 across" to catch a ride the entire block and you knew the trouble/punishment would be less since there were 8 of us.

                            In addition, somehow the boys of my class, 60-68, were the apple of the nun's eyes(early on they could tell we were going to be just possibly the best athletic class to go thru 1928-2009, when measured in terms of all-state football and basketball players(I was the first with Division 1 scholarship offers in both sports only because my recess buddies played so hard)). Nuns loved all of us boys like little brothers for our competitive natures and gave us a little more latitude when it came to "symbolic" punishment. Sometimes as punishement we would have to come to the convent on Saturday mornings for work detail. Work lasted about a half an hour and then 4 or five nuns would take us into the high school gymnasium for great games of all kinds. Finally, they would get the key to the high school "candy store" and treat us to one 10 cent pop and one 5 cent candy bar...we loved them more than they ever understood.

                            My mother, a Lutheran convert to Catholicism always questioned how my father approved of my evading Saturday morning "chores" in the name of "nun's Saturday punishment". He also could see something special in my group of guys and figured any "gym" time was well spent. And, the high school closed at the end of our 8th grade year so our awards were accomplished at the highest level of Montana high schools at the time---we loved our "publican" teammates by then and they welcomed us even though we had no tackle football experience till freshman year with them.
                            Some unique experiences:

                            All during Lent if you attended 8am mass you got to eat breakfast(no eating before communion) in the classroom during the first 20 minutes of school. The non-mass goers envied you until Easter.

                            Milk was 3 cents if you brought your lunch and no chocolate milk was sold. Some would save the 3 cents to spend in the candy store on penny candy...tell me some of us weren't sugared up till school got out, especially if you started breakfast with Frosted Flakes.

                            Being an altar boy had great benefits. Learned to do in Latin in 1964, had no idea what I was saying till English was adopted years later. Spring picnic( no school) with actual prizes donated by merchants, baseball gloves from an actual sporting goods store were the best. Summer detail included 1 week solid of 7am and 8am daily masses. These 5 days were memorable as first priest said 7 am mass in 18 minutes and took you to rectory for full hot breakfast he would prepare while smoking the largest cigars I ever encountered in my life. 8am priest would grab you at 5 to eight and this mass lasted the usual 30 minutes, then you would bike home.

                            You've probably all seen the tv program "dumb crimnals", while I really wasn't in trouble much, I would have qualified for the program more than once. 6th grade first snow brought a quick 5 inches covering the entire playground/parking lot. As the snow stopped, math individual quiet work began. The good news is I finished 40 minutes of problems in about 15 minutes...now what to do without letting the nun know I was done and ready for more.

                            Just then my friend in front of me, a future aviation engineer, finished as well. As we sat in the row nearest the open windows, approx 14 inch openings, I had the Idea---who could make a paper airplane fly out the opening, glide the farthest, and stick in the snow. We still had a good 1/2 hr to get this competition going. Remember, the grade school had 8 classrooms overlooking the playgound and the high school had at least 6 classrooms who could also watch the aeronautics...I forgot all of this( I was a B student).

                            As the contest heated up, I never realized just how fast I could make a paper airplane and hitting the opening was a piece of cake. Within about 20 minutes the 2 of us had flown about 40 planes into the snow, most of which were quite visible, AND THEN IT HAPPENED, simultaneously 2 priests came out the back of the rectory and 2 nuns came out the back of the high school.

                            The light went off in my head as I looked across at the high school windows and could see half the high school and nuns at the window watching the competition, some laughing noticeably. A rather stern knock at the door and I knew I would never live to hear the word Boeing.

                            And, as your life flashes before your eyes you realize your sophomore sister is one of the high school observers and your MOTHER WILL KNOW BEFORE THE PRINCIPAL EVER CALLS HER. Levels of punishment began immediately. Parish Pastor went first; we had to clean up all planes now as at least 300 high school and grade school kids watched...visual punishment/embarrassment would make an impression on all 300...their comments continue after all these years when we meet.

                            Even my parish council father wasn't able to provide any leniency at school or home, and I was big enough for my mother to whack as she knew she wasn't actually hurting me, but it sure did make her feel better.

                            More later, as I ended up going to a Mormon college, Catholic College, and GU Law.
                            Last edited by RenoZag; 11-20-2009, 04:51 AM.

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