Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May day wishes............

I know I have told you my childhood story of May day and celebrating with dancing around the maypole at school but I will tell my tale again.

It was during the McCarthy era in America and I was just a first grader. I had come to public school after a run in with the nuns of St. Vincent's Academy for Girls over the dreaded eating of the green beans everyday at lunch debacle.

This incident happened because my Baptist raised Mom didn't know that Catholics did not eat meat on Friday and dared to send me with a sack lunch with bologna on the 2nd Friday in September. The principal, the lovely and sinister,  Sr. Mary Claire had declared her fellow nuns "friends of Zorro" (my thoughts not her words) were to take my lunch sack and I was to be detained at lunch and eat what was being served in the cafeteria.

I didn't like green beans and so left them on my plate. Next day I was given a lecture regarding the poor starving children of the world and was made to eat more green beans, which I politely declined and  left for said children. I told them I would have like to send the green beans to those poor unfortunate children but they did not agree with me. The next day, I again was blessed with a mess of green beans and nothing else. So on the fourth day of green bean torture when the bell rang, I threw up on my teacher, the ruler wielding, Sr. Mary Geraldine. Of course I was sent to the principal, my good buddy Sr. Mary Claire. She proceeded to pull down my underpants and whip me with a paddle, every day for the next week.

It took 2 weeks of this, my stubbornness and being told that I was evil to bring the incident to the attention of my mother. The girls I had grown up with and were neighborhood friends, who were my classmates declared that they could no longer ride in the car home with me because I was evil. They had no choice but to say this because Sr. Mary Geraldine told the girls of my class not to be associated with anyone who defied the nuns (like me and my evil non green bean eating self).

My Mom carpooled with the other mothers and it was her turn when the girls made this announcement. My Mom marched her Irish tempered self into the school leaving us in the car.

When she came back out, I was the first ever voluntary dis enrollment from the highly esteemed St. Vincent's Academy for Girls and thus began my public school life. I stayed home for a couple of days and my Mom tried to convince me that I was not evil and that no nuns (not really friends of Zorro) would be at my new school.

She was quite right. I had the most understanding and kind teacher. Her name was Mrs. Sandman and she forgave me for throwing up for the first week when the lunch bell rang and was ever so wonderful to me.

So when at the "almost end of school" May day celebrations came and I had made it through first grade and had friends and ate my bologna sandwiches at my desk everyday and did not have one other meeting with the principal with a paddle, I was thrilled.

I thought that it was a perfect acknowledgement of the good times I had come to know at Lew Wallace Elementary school. The colorful ribbons blowing gently in the breeze, the games on the lawn, the laughter and joy all seemed like a celebration for me and my school.

But Mr. McCarthy changed all that and said it was a communist celebration and that no good American would celebrate May Day. So that was the only year we had a Maypole dance or party at public school. But it has always stayed in my memory as a delightful celebration.

Sheesh. Grown ups and their believes, it's why I have never aspired to become one.


  1. What an excellent story! Sheesh I'd toss my cookies too if I were faced with green beans every day for lunch. I too was a bologna sandwich eating kid. In fact, that is all I ever wanted for lunch, every day, was a bologna sandwich and an apple. Every single day.

    Yeah, thanks to Mr. McCarthy, the b***ard for effing up May Day.


  2. Oh, what a wonderful memory. Wishing you and yours a fabulous May Day

  3. I'm so glad you have that wonderful May Day memory to offset that horrible experience of authoritarianism by those abusive nuns. A nice juxtaposition of pagan values with catholic values too!

  4. No wonder you have such a dislike for Catholic Schools! Who wouldn't with "Green Bean" torture having to be endured! I like your Mom!

    I remember May Poles! They were so much fun! And May baskets that you snuck up and hung on people's front door! What a grand way to start the merry month of May!

    A very Merry May to you Oma Linda!

  5. If you're feeling Randy go dance around you're own "Maypole". teeheehee.

    If not, then "love yourself".

    Yeah, I'm off today.

    Happy Beltane Oma <3

  6. Yes, enjoying oneself at school or work is to be frowned upon at every opperchancity it would seem...

  7. a truly wonderful story.. and one I can so see you being a part of... A rebel even in the young years of your life. :-)
    I miss the May pole as well... and I say fudge with anyone who says it is unhealthy, evil, or odd to be a part of one.
    Sad when you see what some people honestly believe when it in turn hurts some so... blessings dear friend...have a wonderfully happy May day...

  8. Yikes, that Catholic was out of a Dickens' novel. Love how your Mom handled it. Just wish it had happened sooner for your sake.

  9. I am sorry for what you went through at the Catholic school! You evil?? Ha!!!!! A beautiful memory of the May day celebration ;o) I have never danced around a Maypole. I will ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

  10. I am so sorry for how you were so cruelly treated......those nuns sound evil. I had 12 years of Catholic school...and I have a few nightmares of my own. I did not send my girls to Catholic schools! Be well dear one...you are not Evil! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  11. What's wrong with green beans?? LOL! I love this story and wish I had been your classmate so I could have stood beside you and together we would have been Sr. Mary Geraldine's worst nightmare. Happy Beltane Oma Linda. S&S


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