Memories of a Catholic Girlhood

I attended Catholic schools from 5th grade through 12th grade. One of the schools was all girls through 10th grade. The other school was coed (11th – 12th).

I first spoke to a boy for any length of time in 11th grade. I did go to coed discos and youth groups in the 80s in England. My school did not sponsor dances. I have horrible memories of desperately wanting to be asked to dance by a boy, but instead standing around waiting. I cannot listen to “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell without thinking of being a wallflower.

The headmistress (a tough as nails Irish nun) at the 5th – 10th grade school had a firm policy against boys being on campus. She once stood in the bushes at the school gates and took Polaroids of the boys lurking outside the gates and distributed the photos to all the Catholic boys’ schools in Manchester, England. No boys returned.

I was a shy child with a core group of about 4 friends. I was in the drama club and the Legion of Mary — a service group where we also said decades of the rosary each week. It’s a wonder I did not become a nun — actually I joined the group because older girls told me that I would love the group. As soon as my friend and I joined the older girls left — nice. My friend and I then became officers for the group.

In my 10th grade I was nominated as a prefect. My peers voted for me. In addition to my school uniform of brown skirt, beige shirt, striped tie, v-neck beige sweater, blazer, scarf, and brown knee socks, I wore a brown academic gown to school assemblies and monthly mass as well as a prefect’s badge on my tie.

One of my duties as prefect was to babysit a 6th grade class at indoor recess. My friend and I had the bright idea of writing and directing a nativity play. I recall feeling overwhelmed by the girls not listening to me AND the girls jumping off the stage. I missed the performance as my parents took me to Paris as my dad had a business trip. My friend was not happy with me for leaving her in the lurch.

I NEED to get my scanner up and running. I must post a photo of me in my school uniform.

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