Maybe Mom and Dad got a letter from the nuns changing the dress code. The kids who go to Westchester seem to be fine with wearing shorts and t-shirts. Is it too much to ask to be comfortable while spending 6 hours a day in the classroom?
Nope, there goes Mom, digging through boxes of school clothes trying to find the right size for all of us. Being the third boy of five means there are probably a pair of uncomfortable gray pants that are close enough to fitting me, hand-me-downs from someone. If they are too big, Mom tells me to pull my belt another loop tighter. If there are holes in the knees, she will just sew some patches on them and send me on my way. Surely there are long sleeve white shirts that will work. Too big, just roll up the sleeves a couple times. The Healy boys somehow get away with wearing pale blue and pale yellow shirts most of the time. Why can’t the Shea family do that? Sure, they have 10 kids and we only have 8 going to this place, but we should get the same breaks from the system. Consider it a bulk discount on education.
Add a maroon clip on tie and we are all set until the weather gets cold and the stylish blue cardigan is added. Hey, at least I don’t have to wear a blazer like I did in 1st and 2nd grades.
Today we get the order to try on our school shoes and come show Mom how they fit. Except for playing baseball and basketball and Church on Sundays I have not worn shoes since the end of school. I have a decision to make. Either I convince her my old shoes still fit or I have to join the group going to the shoe store to buy new shoes. The old ones are probably too small and my feet will hurt. But wow, going to the shoe store with everyone is a nightmare. Just imagine the face on the sales team when a woman walks in with 8 kids looking for school shoes. Could be a big commission but it is not going to be worth it.
Boys only day but this might be the one I hate most. School hair cuts. Honestly do we learn less if we have longer messier hair? Do I have to hear Mr. Paul tell me for the thousandth time how screwed up my cowlicks are? Since I have to do this anyway do I go with the full buzz or graduate to the regular haircut? There is not a third option. And if I sit still will she buy ice cream?
After this one going back to school won’t seem so bad. Time for our visits to Dr. Frey. I think these used to get split over 2 days but that memory is fuzzy. No doctor would agree to see eight siblings in a single day would he? Measure us and weigh us. Mom is only 4’11” so no NBA players showing up here. Stick out your tongue, eyes, ears, … Who needs some sort of booster shot this year? Don’t cry or you won’t get a lollipop. Now we are all ready.
Wake up to Dad running through the house singing “school day school days dear old golden rule days”. And that part about the hickory stick. Yep we all knew the nuns had our parents’ permission to follow through if necessary.
60s and 70s in private Catholic schools really sucked.