Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sister Teresita OP

Sister Teresita OP (or as the students called her “Sister Terror sit on your face”) began her reign of terror, as the Principal in St. Brendan’s Catholic Grammar School in 1956.
Students agreed that the initials OP at the end of her name stood for Open Palm, which you got when she slapped you across the face, or Open Palm for the money she would somehow coerce us into giving. In actuality, it stood for "Order of Preachers", another misnomer. Sandwiched between terrorizing the students of the school with her threats and condemnations, she also taught my 3rd grade class, due to the shortage of qualified nuns.

Sister Teresita was a large brash woman, who marched quickly and forcefully anywhere she was headed. She would sooner knock you out of the way if you happened to be in the path of her mission. You could hear her walking down the hall or over to your seat without even looking up. Her steps pounded down on the tile floors with the standard nun’s black shoes, beating in time with the swish of the belted rosary beads slapping noisily against her black belted waist.
Her cotton tunic and dress was white, perfectly creased and ironed. The rigid form-fitting white coif that surrounded her face, made her pit bull face bulge as if it were going to rupture. It was like a box that was packed too tight, with no room left to expand. The stiff white crown band on top of her forehead forced her brow to wrinkle in a perpetual frown. She was mean looking. She knew it and she loved it.

Salvatore Minerva was often the recipient of her hostile antics. He was a sweet boy that had the soulful eyes of a bloodhound. Although he wasn’t in my class, she would drag little Salvatore into the class room to demonstrate her supremacy. Salvatore wasn’t a bad boy. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, which could have meant he was anywhere in her cross hairs. He always looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Dragging him by the collar, almost off the ground, she would storm into the classroom and say, “look who I found in the hallway”. “I found baby bunting,” That was her trademark term for anyone who didn’t act like a grown-up.
At first no one laughed. But then she would turn her sour face to the class and say, “Doesn’t anyone else see this”? “Are you all stupid?” Rather than be pummeled or worse, being dragged up to be “baby bunting’s” companion, everyone soon learned to laugh. This is exactly what she wanted. Humiliation by numbers was her specialty.
If this wasn’t debasing enough, she would then take a yard stick, sit and place Salvatore across her lap, and spank him with the yard stick, while chanting like some Gregorian Chant gone wild. “You want to be a baby buntin?” “ This is what we do to baby buntings.” Usually Salvatore would cry, his face red from embarrassment, and she would then pick him up by the seat of his pants and tell him to get out of her sight.
She made him an act that she appeared with when she needed attention. It was like watching Abbott and Costello, with Costello always getting the short end of the stick.
Sister Teresita OP was an adult bully.

Her culinary directives were just as insane as she was. Every morning she would have us raise our hands to tell her how many of us had eaten onion sandwiches.
It seems in her bizarre religion, onion sandwiches were the remedy for any and every ailment. She almost made it one of the commandments.

Her other talents included having us sing the National Anthem every day. This in itself wasn’t so bad. It was the vehement directive that we memorize and sing the 2nd verse.
She would stand there, punching the words out with her fists and screaming, her face reddening as the words were shouted out in some sort of demonic beat. If she thought you weren’t singing loud enough, you could expect a punch or shove in your back, and then she would stand there and pound your desk until she heard the decibel she was expecting.
She was out of her mind
I think I’m the only person that knows the 2nd verse of the National Anthem by heart, and I never hear it sung anywhere.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF!? Reading this made me shiver - for a teacher, a nun, both, to degrade/demean and abuse like that - may she rot in hell!

8:02 PM  
Blogger jennifer said...

I was bursting out laughing within the first line, Suzy, really great story telling! Your humor and irony are so great. What doesn't make us crazy, makes us funny!

1:10 AM  
Anonymous six hours said...

I'll reveal a nun story - sister geraldine, my second grade teacher.

Ya know, i was only seven and stuck my pencil into Tommy's leg. I really didn't mean anything by it - i just felt like seeing what Tommy would do.

He yelled, 'sister, sister' Dolores stuck a pencil in my leg. Yuck , that 's what my parents named me. FYI Dolores means 'sorrow'.

Anyway, the nun came stomping down the aisle and with a three sided ruler. Has anyone ever seen a three sided ruler? She asked me which hand did it. I had a very difficult time chosing which hand to hold out for her to smack with her stinking ruler. Finally, I had to make a quick decision and held out my left since I resasoned to myself that I was right handed and shouldn't hold that one out.

I can't remember how many times that witch smacked my hand. I hated sister geraldiine.

I would love to take a trip to the bronx today and see if any of the inquisitors are still alive.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Ed S said...

I was also a target of sister Terisita during my five years at st. Brendan's, but most of my classmates turned out pretty well as did I. Maybe she had the right idea.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Suzy said...

Ed S

Basically we all turned out okay. My issue is that I cam from an abusive home, and her personality, for me was deemed as abusive.

Nuns like that would never get away with that today.

Thank you for your comment, and it certainly shows me another side of her, but my own personal life was affected by her behavior.

I'm sure I didn't belong at St. Brendans, but that's another story.


6:02 AM  

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