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.