By John McElligott
I did not know how to read, write, or even how to count. I was 5 years old and scared to death. I sat down as straight as I could and interlocked my fingers on top of the desk. I looked to my right. Skipper Goulet was down below me and Joe O’Neill, Harry Miller and Cathy Colligan were at the end of the row. They all were staring straight ahead at a black board with letters from top to bottom. I later found out the writing on the board was all capital letters. A very pleasant Nun introduced herself as Sister Jean Marie, and she called upon me to point out the letter “A”. I stood up and saw the first letter in the upper left corner and the last letter in the lower right corner. Not knowing anything, including my ABC’s, I picked the first letter at the top left. I was so proud of myself for picking the correct letter. I had become a student!
I looked around and saw a beautiful girl with long blond hair. Her name was Margery Chase, and to her side,a boy named John De Julio. I decided I needed to meet them. There were some big boys in the class, as well, who soon became my playmates. My only saving grace was that I could out run them all.
Sister Jean Marie tutored me any time she had a chance. By the time I turned 6, I could count all 10 of my fingers and toes, read at little and could do some addition and subtraction. One day, Sister Jean Marie asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. I soon realized that we were all different. Joe said a priest, and I quickly agreed and said the same. Harry said he wanted to be a zoo keeper and right away I knew I was in with some really different people. Even so, we all became friends. Some for the rest of my life, others though, came and went. I am afraid I don’t remember them all. So, I challenge my fellow first graders to continue this story. As for me and Harry Miller, you will hear more stories about us. Especially, when we were expelled from St. Ann’s. That’s a story I will tell later.