Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Re-Occurring Dream

For four years I attended a school that was also a convent.

It was a small parochial school, quietly set in the middle of town. Most people didn't even know it was there.

As a matter of fact, this school was set back in a preserved corner of desert that was like walking back in time-- with dusty roads, and a very old adobe ranch-style home as the center of its campus.

We had Chapel every day, with mass on Wednesdays.

The founders, administrators, and a few teachers of this school were nuns, dressed in all-white habits. They each looked the same by outward appearance, but their personalities were far from identical.

There was Sister A, a sweet-yet-spunky soul, who had a 1000 watt smile and a laugh to match. She loved to watch Magnum P.I., most specifically Tom Sellack.

There was Sister AC, who worked in the kitchen, preparing the food for the boarding students and the teachers. She didn't like nonsense, and was a hard worker. We had to pass through the kitchen to get to three different classrooms...if  one was smart, when she was working you didn't linger in the kitchen for very long.

There was Sister MC, a soft spoken and gentle woman, who was often sickly. But her long and lanky frame was calming in the hustle and bustle of our little school.

There was Mother Virginia, a tiny go-getter, in her late 70's, who drove the biggest car in town with the long veil of her wimple blowing in the desert wind. We loved her because she was such a delight to talk to, always listening and appearing interested when she spoke to you. Her size and age made her appear unassuming.

Looks can be deceiving.

In ninth grade I got caught looking at another girls math test (commonly known as cheating) and was immediately sent to Mother's office. Her quiet disappointment and firm reprimand let me know that there was giant living beneath those ivory robes.

And then...

There was Sister ML. The Disciplinarian. I'll never forget being asked to take a note to her from another teacher. I walked down the dirt road through the center of school to the building where she taught fifth/sixth grade.

She wasn't there.

So I walked to the kitchen where she was pouring Palmolive into a students open mouth.

When she finished squirting about a tablespoon of soap upon this girls tongue, she closed the bottle with a snap, and said with a low tone and firm authority, "Now swish...You will not again take the name of the Lord in vain."

To say that I silently high-tailed it out of the kitchen would be an understatement. I decided that the note would be better delivered to the top of her desk.

Sister ML wasn't all prickles and consequences. She had a soft side that she would show students from time to time. She was the first teacher to encourage me to sing, and she was generous with hugs, if one dared to approach her.

She is the reason I am writing this post.

Sister ML eventually became Mother Superior over our little school, years after I was gone, until she died several years ago.

I was sad when I heard the news, but I hadn't really thought about her as I moved about my life. Its been over 25 years since I was apart of that little school.

What's weird is that for the last 3-4 months I keep dreaming about her. Even last night, she was in my dreams and I told her, "I'm always dreaming about you."

The mind is so funny. Who knows why she is popping up into my thoughts when the day is over, but I am grateful. My years of walking the campus in my blue plaid skirt and white blouse were good years, and I am happy to remember them.


Joy for the Seasons said...

Those little parochial schools always seem like a concept to me and not real. So neat to read of some of your experiences!

The Lord Family said...

Not sure about why you are having the recurring dreams, but what a beautiful story you told of your time at the school.
Your words were so descriptive that I felt like I was walking along with you.
Lovely story and thank you for sharing!

Carpool Queen said...

Dreams are funny, aren't they? My childhood friend died almost twenty years ago, and she shows up in my dreams. I've often noticed that she's there when I'm troubled. I think that's a gift from God.

Michele said...

I think dreams are so interesting. I have a couple of dreams that reoccur. Lately, I have been dreaming about different people from my past for no reason. Usually I can pinpoint why I dream about certain people and things, but lately that's been harder to do.

Rae said...

Wow! I too went to a school that was a convent!! It was an all girl boarding & day high school. I was there for all 4 years and it is amazing how those nuns become part of your life FOREVER!! I still see some of the sisters here and there and have never forgotten them or the lessons they taught. There was one sister who literally had a ruler. Honest! 9th grade history class. Such good memories!!! I had a dream about Ryan Seacrest last night....a far cry from any of my nuns! :)

Tracey said...

What a wonderful story. God is so good to give us all different experiences and then the ability to share them, blessing others. I've been blessed. Thank you!

Amber said...

I'm usually a nonsense dreamer. Like big pink elephants cooking pancakes in my kitchen while wearing my cozy socks or something weird like that. Probably has some hugely philosophical meaning..but it is totally lost on me.

But every once in awhile, I'll have a "real" dream, and they include special people or places. I love those.

I loved hearing the stories about your school. SO.FUN.

Oh..and it is possible that I've had my mouth washed out with Palmolive. But I'll deny it if someone asks. ;)

O Mom said...

I think dreams are so amazing. God has often talked to me this way. Maybe He is just reminding you of something.....?

Gretchen said...

Better Palmolive than Lava. I hear, anyway.

This was lovely. And I'm inclined to think, like CPQ, that it was a sort of God hug. Like a breeze of stability in an unknown life. Just musing. Thanks for giving us a peek.

Deidre said...

I enjoyed reading this - dreams are a funny thing and catch us by surprise, don't they? Memories we hadn't conjured up in years, but make us smile.

Rachel said...

Dreams can be so random! Great story, I enjoyed reading about your memories from your school days! :)

2cats said...

Dreams are certainly strange. My mom and cousin have been in my dreams of late. I think maybe because they had opposing views of what Christmas was.
I went to Catholic school from 1st to 8th grade. My nuns were nothing like yours. Lucky you.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I went to Catholic school for many, many years and have some similar stories. One in particular was my mom mixing it up with "Sister Judith" our PE teaching-nun who was not very nice to me. Needless to say, I don't have dreams about Sister Judith.

One of the nuns who taught music at my school also TAUGHT MY DAD. She's still living, but no longer teaching. I was hoping to see her at his funeral this summer but she wasn't feeling well. ;(