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Enjoying high school memories

Published on -4/16/2014, 10:27 AM

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A few weeks ago, some of my high school classmates met for lunch. I was able to join them after my luncheon meeting with AARP, and this brought back memories of high school.

There were approximately 60 girls in my graduating class of 1960 from Girls Catholic High School. As most of you know, this was a Catholic girls' school in Hays. No boys allowed. This school was taught by nuns. The principal at the time was Sister Monica. She was loved by all. We did have one teacher who was not a nun, Mrs. Neely, who taught speech and physical education. One year, she had the girls in her speech class put on a program. I got to play a doll, and if someone pushed my button, I would say "Sister, sister." For weeks after the play, when other girls saw me, they would mimic me, "Sister, sister."

I was a country girl from a small grade school, so it was a big change to have 60 students in my high school class. Of course, the majority of these girls had been friends since first grade, which left me feeling left out until I made new friends. This was the first time I changed rooms to go to different classes. That was fine, except if you were in the basement having art class with Sister Perpetua and your next class was on the third floor with Mrs. Neely. That was a lot of steps to climb. Ah, but I was young, and other than being out of breath when I reached the top, it didn't kill me. Back then it was creaky steps, whereas today it is creaky knees.

Sister Perpetua also taught sewing class on the third floor. I was allowed to use the electric sewing machine because I had sewn on my mom's electric sewing machine at home. The rest of the girls had to use throttle machines. Those sewing machines were antiques, but it was a good experience to use them.

The Sisters of St. Agnes did not give me much grief except for a few times. One time I checked a book out of the school library. At the time, my parents and we kids lived in our basement because we were remodeling our house. It was a fluke deal, but it rained one night and can you believe, it rained on the new library book. I felt bad about it, but needless to say, I got scolded. I also came late to school several times, but one time I really got chewed out for being tardy. They didn't understand how things work on the farm. The least little thing can cost you precious time.

Here's the best one. As you all know, we wore dress uniforms, so if you wore a ring other than your high school class ring, you were considered out of uniform. Well, let's just say, that I defied the rule and got caught. I was wearing my boyfriend's class ring because we were going steady and I wanted everyone to see it (everyone except Sister). This happened in typing class, and Sister Augusta made me take off the ring and give it to her. Later, Bob (my boyfriend) had to go to the Sister House and get his ring back. He almost let her keep it.

Sister Patricia was the music teacher. She was kind to me. She told me I had a beautiful singing voice and I ought to take singing lessons. That was nice of her, but what would I do with that talent? Even though I did not take lessons, I kept on singing, and sing solos quite frequently in church. Her encouragement meant a lot to me.

I enjoyed noon hours because we could leave the school building for lunch, but quite often I just ate snacks from the vending machine. What was really fun is the fellows got out of school for lunch also, and they would drive around GCHS. My future husband was one of the guys driving by. This reminds me of a song. "I was looking back to see if you were looking back to see if I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me ... and it was plain to see that I'd enjoy your company." Sometimes we girls stuck our heads out of the school windows or were outside the building and waved at the boys.

Let me tell you about a few unwritten rules I'm aware of from high school. It seems we weren't supposed to chew gum. It was distracting. As you know, some of us like to smack or pop it. My concern with gum was that it might get caught in my hair if I blew a bubble. One rule was not to wear black patton shoes, or the boys might see your body reflected in the shoes. Now I'm thinking what is there to see -- I'm wearing my big girl bloomers and they're not lit up. Ha, ha.

Don't walk up steps with a boy behind you; he can look up your skirt. How about this one, don't kiss a boy (especially in front of the school) -- that could lead to a mortal sin. Who can forget the do's and don'ts and heaven forbids? Not I.

Alberta Klaus is a member of the Generations advisory committee.

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