Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I’ve been trying to come up with a post for this month’s Carnival
of Genealogy and realized that there are stretches of my school
life I’ve very few memories left to review. It may be because
I switched schools four or five times over the years.

For instance, I can recall some of my days at the ABC Nursery
School: the big yard, a cocker spaniel who belonged to the school
owner, and the little girl who I had a crush on and whose name I
gave my sister. Of course the memories are helped along by a
class picture I will post here at some point.

Elementary school was split between three school as I spent the
first two grades at Linden Elementary School in Malden, then
grades 3 to 6 at the Frank V. Thompson and grades 7 and 8 at
St. Matthew’s Parochial School, both in the Dorchester section
of Boston.

I can’t recall who was my first grade teacher…but ah…second
grade! Miss Murphy, my first and only teacher crush. That was
where I learned to play the flute-a-phone and was part of a big
Christmas Chorus where they lit a tree. Those sort of events
are long gone now at public schools.

When we moved to Dorchester I ended up in Miss May’s 3rd
grade class. It was there I got my first rattan on the hand and I
realized school in the city was a whole lot different from the
suburbs. It was also the first time I had to go from the style of
handwriting I’d been taught in one school to the one my new
school was using. 4th and 5th grade seem to be unmemorable but
the 6th grade…well, the fights between the male teacher and one
of the students that were a near daily occurrence I recall clearly,
as I do the two unfortunate brothers whose Swiss immigrant
parents sent them to school in leiderhosen one memorable Show
and Tell Day.

The 7th and 8th grades I spent at St Matthew’s under the eagle-
eyed watch of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Sister Mary Roque felt
a tug on the ear was a great stimulant to solving math problems at
the chalkboard, but Sister Mary Steven was a sweet elderly nun
who was patient.

I spent the 9th grade at Cathedral High School in the South End
of Boston, a building so close to the elevated railroad tracks that
from our classroom window it looked like the trains were headed
right at us when they came round a bend on the tracks. Another
change of writing styles (no wonder my writing is horrid) and a
disastrous encounter with the new math taught in the Archdiocese
schools which totally confused me. The Left Distributive Principle
of Multiplication over Addition, for example

And finally my last three years of high school I spent at Abington
High School where while I wasn’t a whiz I did have teachers whose
names and faces I still recall in good memories: Mrs. Trask, Mr.
Smith, and Mr. Divoll.

I googled my old schools just now. The Linden School still is there,
but the Frank V. Thompson is closed and being developed as
apartments while the nuns left St. Matthew’s years ago and the
school was closed last June and the students sent to the nearby
school at St. Gregory’s parish at the Lower Mills.

I wish I knew why certain years seem to have vanished into a haze.

Maybe I will dig out the old report cards Mom saved and see if
they jog any more memories.

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