For most of my life, I never wrote in a journal, too fearful of anyone reading my thoughts. These days I live alone, writing with abandon. Oops, are you going to read this…?
In 7th grade of primary school, I had a teacher called “Soeur Saint Basile”. We used to call her “Bazou” in French, (in this instance it translates into jalopy in English. Picture this in 1954, I am 11 years old. By then nature had already bestowed womanhood upon me.
This was a Catholic School for girls, nuns dressed in black habits, though they all had a head and two hands that extended from their garments.
One day a bunch of boys climbed up on the roof of the garages overlooking our classroom. Being a little woman of 11 years old, I got very excited about seeing boys. I had no idea who they were but I was determined to show off so they would see me; and, I did just that. For each question Bazou asked the class I would spring up, waving my hand like crazy, at the ready to answer. Bazou never once looked my way.
After the class, Bazou leads me to the Principal’s office. Both nuns began to call me derogatory names. No matter how many times I told them I did not know these boys, they insisted that I did; there could be no other reason why the boys were there. The Principal had already called my mother to tell her to come and get me at school. I was being expelled from school on the spot.
My parents sent me to the convent. Here I attend daily classes with the nuns, going back home at the end of each day. The Nuns wear similar habits; I sit quietly in my seat, reluctant to answer questions.
In my 11th grade of high school, still, at the convent, we are often led to the Chapel for one ritual or another. This one time it was confessions. By then I had a steady boyfriend. I went into the confessional to confess my little venial sins. The attending priest refused to give me absolution unless I promise to never see my boyfriend again. What did I do?
I never went back to confession, continued seeing my boyfriend, always afraid the priest had talked to the nuns about me and my little necking sessions (which consisted only with French kisses).
Going forward, during my career as Holistic Health Educator/Counselor, I taught Yoga classes to different groups in the community. One day I got a call asking for a certified teacher to give a class in a Community Centre.
To my surprise, the Community Centre ended being my old primary school. Remember 7th grade? The school was now used as a Community Centre. The outside and inside of the school were exactly the same as when I was there in 7th grade with sister Bazou. The Director of the Centre gave me a room number where my class was to be held. It was my 7th-grade classroom.