In a recent column, From the Archives shared the first part of a reminiscence of her days at St. Aloysius Academy by Roseanne Nash Eumen. This month we will continue her “Memories.”
After the article was published in October 2018, your archivist learned that Roseanne had died on September 8, 2018. S. Marguerite Wolf shared that she had worked with Roseanne when she was in New Lexington and that they had continued to keep in touch over the years. So, enjoy this excursion down memory lane and remember Roseanne and her family in your prayers.
After talking about her gym locker, Roseanne continued: Since I’m still in the gym, do you remember the noon hours, when we danced to the old piano rolls? I can see Mary Studer pumping away as the sounds of “Cecelia” and “It’s Three O’clock in the Morning” provided the beat. I never could figure out who was doing the leading. “Those were the days, my friends!”
I’m really smiling as I think of those classy gym suits. Short sleeves, big legs, hard to get in and out of, the very first “jump suit.” I couldn’t get in or out of it without working up a sweat. Oops, I forgot, “young ladies” don’t sweat, they perspire. Many a time I wanted to just rip it off. Of course, “The Hulk” wasn’t discovered as yet.
Can you still swing the dumb-bells? There certainly was a knack to it without hitting yourself in the head. Jane Watson could swing them every which way. And the “Grand March!” My date and I led it at New Lexington Alumnae Dance the year we graduated. Sure was glad I’d paid attention.
This brings me to Mrs. Kishler and her hop, shuffle, ball change, all done without the aid of taps. Every once in a while I go into my little dance. Remember Helen Murphy to-tapping on the drum? She sure could beat out the rhythm without missing a step. Oh, once I was a bunny in a review, complete with the long ears and the big fluffy cotton tail. Weren’t we great?
I can smell and taste the fudge on “Old Farm Day.” How good it was, even though it was always slightly scorched. The walk to the farm seemed forever, but skipping a little got me there a little faster. The sisters, on this particular day, seemed to become one of us as they joined in the fun.
Louise and I had been classmates at St. Rose, but during the next years we were to become bosom friends, forever. As we walked to and from school, we talked about everything. We tried to figure out the minds of boys and how our relationships would develop. We picked out names for our children and dreamed, dreamed, dreamed. Too bad we didn’t record those conversations. Probably be a best seller.
For our tuition over the years, we set the tables, ironed clothes, cleaned the classrooms, and as always, we were together. We shared and shared alike. . . . One day we had a surprise English test—one of those when any piece of paper would do. So I tore a piece off mine and gave it to Louise. When the tests were returned, Sr. Isabelle had written on mine, “Great minds,” and on Louise’s, “Run in the same channel.” It seems our answers were so much alike and sitting across the room from each other, we hadn’t copied. Thank the Lord for small favors!!
This brings me to Frankie, the gal with more than one sweater. I would have frozen if she hadn’t shared one with me during those cold winter days.
How hungry I’d get, as the aroma from the twister donuts and fresh baked bread drifted into the classroom. I ate many a slice while doing the noon dishes. Sr. Ruth made sure her helpers didn’t go hungry.
I remember leaving study hall to sew for Sr. Ita, so Irish, and always praying she might visit “the old sod” before she died as her fingers moved over the beads. When the Academy closed, Sr. Christina, gave me her rosary with the pearl shamrock on it. The crosses on the purificators and the corporals were embroidered using one thread and making very tiny stitches. After a while we had to stop sewing, because we weren’t allowed to leave the study hall. You can’t win ‘em all.
Sitting here thinking about those years; and the impact they had upon my life, brings a prayer to my lips for the good sisters whose moral values and high ideals were given to me in a steady diet of dedicated service.
I know I received the best education possible, not only scholastically and spiritually, but socially as well. Sr. Leo saw to that. Do you recall the Friday morning etiquette sessions? The proper way to sit, legs never crossed, one foot a little before the other; meeting an older person on the stairs; leaving a room; using the right fork; moving the spoon away from you when served soup and after eating, fold the napkin only if you are going to eat another meal at the same table. Remember? How many times have you said, “excuse my left hand,” when improperly taking something from someone?
We don’t forget, do we . . .
[to be continued]