It was in the mid 1950's and our mother wanted her three children to receive a Catholic education. It was post World War II and the economy was thriving. The "Baby Boomer" era had arrived and there was plenty of construction of new homes.
Our school was located in central Massachusetts and the nuns were of the order of The Sisters of Saint Joseph. However, several of the nuns were from a Canadian novitiate and talked with a slight French Canadian accent.
Sister Gabriel was my home room teacher and because my father was an alcoholic and "unreliable", AND the fact that I was left handed, her demeanor toward me was quite harsh.
When report card scores were read aloud by Father Hebert, the pastor of Saint Thomas Aquinas church (and our school of the same name), Sister Gabriel made a point of humiliating those who performed poorly.
The grading system was a series of numbers from 100 being the best down to "dummy". I was one who did not do well in arithmetic and she broadcast to the class for the benefit of Father Hebert that I (Robert) was a "dummy", and that my father was a "drunk!" She continued to admonish me for being left handed and it appeared she was going to make me pay for the "sins of the (my) father!"
Sister favored Mary Anne Carleton (from a Catholic family) whose father was Superintendent of Public Schools and always passed a sealed envelope to Father Hebert once her above normal grades had been announced. Who said you can't buy your way into heaven?
A young nun by the name of Sister Albert Marchetti an art teacher with a sixth sense was able to read between the lines of this young student and embraced him - showering him with love and kindness.
With an assignment to draw my peaceful feelings when in her class is entered into an art contest, Sister Gabriel and Father Hebert are asked to judge without the identity of the young artists.
My entrance wins first place, and Sister Gabriel has no choice but to congratulate this "dummy"!
Sister Albert has impacted my life greatly and this short true story of my childhood is dedicated to her.
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About the Author
No stranger to writing, acting and singing, in 2006, Bob was chosen to play Charles Ryan in the Kent Brown Summer Love series “ARE WE THERE YET?” A summer theatre production by The Falls Run Players of Fredericksburg, Virginia. This was Bob’s first acting role and his performance earned him the best actor’s award for 2006. A hidden talent also become apparent when Bob was selected to sing John Travolta’s Summer Nights from the smash hit “Grease”. He is also a member of The First Baptist Church of Bonita Springs, FL where he has been actively involved in the choir for the past 6 years - and his tenor voice has allowed him to produce over a half dozen Christian songs by Randy Travis Following an impressive career with U.S. Airways, Bob retired in 2000 and has devoted much of his time to producing ORPHANS OF THE MOURNING, his first novel about a soldier in Vietnam who eventually becomes the first Vietnam veteran President of The United States. This book is currently available in the e-book format from Barnes & Noble. Bob was thrust into the nationwide scene in 1983 with his nationally acclaimed Vietnam poster poem The Wall, a statement about the emotional pain and anger of Vietnam - frrlings and sentiments he was not permitted to express while in uniform, but once discharged, a trip to The Wall evoked his deep personal feelings. The Wall was displayed in The White House in 1983 and as a result received instant success when President Ronald Reagan personally honored Bob for his contribution to all Vietnam Veterans. To date, tens of thousands of copies have been sold. Bob has also recently finished his second novel, MURDER IN OGUNQUIT a mystery which takes place in the small New England coastal town of Ogunquit, Maine known as “A Beautiful Place By The Sea”. In addition to his full length novels, Bob is offering a series of his “folksy” down to earth short stories at no charge for your enjoyment here on Smashwords, and it is the author’s desire that you will consider purchasing his novels after a brief sampling. Prior to his assignment in Vietnam in 1967, Bob served 16 months in Frankfurt Germany as a civilian with the U.S. Army’s prestigious unit; The 513th Military Intelligence Group as a Top Secret Cryptographer In Vietnam he was assigned to the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile), 13th Signal Battalion and was awarded The Purple Heart for wounds received in action in addition to The Bronze Star Medal and other awards. Bob and his wife Maureen reside in Fredericksburg, VA in the summer months and winter in Bonita Bay, Bonita Springs, FL.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
VERY short story.
Went to Catholic school in the late 60's and early 70's and can relate with his story.
I love reading these short stories as I am from the same generation. My first official hobby was genealogy and after a few years of just logging names, dates and places I decided to document stories from my childhood so my children could relate to some the names listed in their family tree. My companion piece is a work in progress, but I am so encouraged to continue writing. I will read everything Mr. Chapin publishes as he has ignited a fire!!! Bob..I sincerely appreciate your writing. You are sincere and honest in your approach...I hope if you have children, that they will realized what an awesome, wonderful legacy you have left for them..May the Lord continue to bless you and us with your writing!!!