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I am going to give this blog thing another go-round.  Practicing what I preach. 

I was reading WIllie Nelson and had a memory about the boys’ dorm across the street from mine at CSR.  We were sure it was haunted.  We heard strange noises and objects were often moved…one day a jar of jelly just fell on the floor in Paul’s room and it looked like it literally hovered in the air before it fell.  Our dorm was thought to be haunted as well. It had a chapel in it, with a pretty stained glass window and the whole house was filled with dark woodwork.  Creaky stairs…it was once a mortuary, either before or after the nuns lived there.  One evening several of us were in the chapel, which had been converted into our common area.  We were watching TV, and a girl who lived in the next dorm who was known to be a lesbian became ill almost as soon as she sat down.  We were all convinced she had been struck down by the dead nuns.

Other random memories…Frank and green jello.  He would beg us to dare him to drink the little creamers.  Many times he would show up at the cafeteria and beg me to add jello to my tray.  He was living off-campus and was pretty much starving.  Sunday morning brunch when we would all stumble into the dining hall hungover, craving those runny scarmbled eggs loaded with ketchup, cold toast and coffee that was sometimes weak and watery and other times strong enough to gag us.

Even now, almost twenty-five years later, I still have a terrible dream that I did not pass that public speaking class with Sister St. Hillaire.  She comes and takes my diploma from me, telling me I failed because I did not come to class regularly.  The nuns had a way of triggering feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness in me that is the root of my Catholic upbringing.  Today, going to Mass is like self-flagellation; I love the punishment.  Maybe that is why organized religion is so hard for me to grasp.

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