Although I was never what you would call a rebel, I have to admit, I did receive punishment in school as a kid. Not the kind of punishment kids today get…..none; but real punishment at the hands of the school principal or even worse, the vice principal, who was a nun!
Back then, school officials were allowed to abuse children. When it wasn’t from the half inch thick leather belt, it was a yardstick across the knuckles or a hand across the mouth, or virtually any other form of abuse. The punishments never even fit the crime. Not doing your homework, not being respectful to others, or breaking any of the school rules often resulted in a beating.
My first offense was understandable. After all, I did break the one cardinal rule in a school shared by both Catholics and Protestants. I played with Protestant children during recess. How was I to know they weren’t Catholic? They never wore Protestant uniforms or hats. They never appeared any different than I was, and hell, they even spoke like other kids.
When Sister Kotell ( I once called her Sister Kotex, but this is a different story with a different amount of straps) seen me playing with those kids, she dragged me across the playground and into the office (by the ear) and ordered me to hold out my hands. Of course, being totally terrified, and knowing full well how much it hurt to have your little hands beat with a leather strap, I pulled away. She put so much force across the belt, when she missed my hands, she actually hit herself across the legs. Her next action was to double the amount of straps. Twenty on each hand, and a threat to double that if I pulled away.
All the time she was beating me, she repeated the same line. “You shall not play with children who are not Catholic. They are EVIL”. I wonder what she would say these days, as I am actually married to a Protestant.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Never play with Protestant children where that old bitch could see us.
I wasn’t the only one abused this way, all kids were. Sometimes I hear people say kids these days have it too good. Some say there are no consequences to poor behavior. I tend to agree, but I think things went way too far back then.