1. What is your earliest memory of school?
I remember trying to read a book in kindergarten and being deeply frustrated because I really didn't know how to read. I also remember Fr. Cranston,the headmaster, walking around in his clericals. Carrying a stick. And I remember that my best friend in kindergarten was missing a foot. She used crutches and had a stump. She had lost it in an accident when her father was mowing the lawn. (Can you imagine her dad's guilt over that?) When I saw her again, years later, she had a prosthesis. I can't remember her name.
2. Who was a favorite teacher in your early education?
Miss Hall was chubby and sweet and gave us dum dum lollipops when we did a good job.
3. What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?
Awe, heck, they smell the same to me. Paste and pencils and sweaty kids.
4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned.
8th grade:Is this a dagger I see before me? The handle towards my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements. Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, that I may be filled from crown to toe, top full of direst cruelty.
I used to be able to do the whole darn speech. As a joke, I used to do it with a RI accent. Lady MacBeth from Cranston. I once did it for the founder of the RI Shakespeare Theater. He didn't find it amusing. At. All.
Is dis a dagga I see befaw me, da handle taud my haynd?
Mrs. Penny, the English teacher, was a big one for memorization. She drilled the 5 paragraph essay form into our heads so much so that I can still write one in my sleep. That little tidbit of information saved my butt in college, when I was too lazy to do homework. I would whip out papers the night before they were due and still snag 'A's because they were half-decently structured. Thanks Mrs. Penny.
5. Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share?
I never did my science homework in 9th grade (sensing a theme here?) and as a consequence, sometimes had to go down to the Headmaster's office to get swatted on the ass with a stick. But I loved the headmaster so much that it was more of a privledge than a punishment because we would spend the rest of the class period discussing all kinds of things that seemed infinitely more interesting than science. Coincidentally, the Headmaster was the same guy who I had in kindergarten, even though it was a different school. I wasn't the kind of kid who embarrassed easily, I must admit.