…Grade one: the beautiful Sister Theresa, our angelic, beatific, saintly Sister.  Grade two: can’t remember except for my crush on Linda Naigle and of course McDink’s celebratory cheer when he found out, surprisingly, that he passed Grade Two and in doing so exclaimed to all of the world: “Yabba Dabba Do, I’m out-a  Portable Two!” I should ask my friend Jimmymum, when I talk to him again, as to who our teacher was in Grade Two for he will know because his brain and memory are as tight as a locked jaw. To this day some 55 years later, he remembers everything about that period in our lives. And cars too!  Sure enough, Jim knew. Miss Green was her name.  Young, blond and good looking, at least according to Jim. 

Grade three: Mr Upper, downer; Grade Five: Ms Kellar, old yellar; Grade Six: Mr Bowner, or Boner for short; Grade Seven, Ms McFayden, or Mrs Macdonald, the chain smoker. Man, did she reek of tobacco. She would always give us some assignment then disappeared somewhere only to come back a few minutes later with that customary giveaway smell and that distasteful gross smile of hers that revealed a mouthful of yellow stained teeth.  At the time I really had no understanding of why those breaks of hers ran to a specific schedule, about every hour so, lasting about ten minutes, then back to class. It was more than the customary toilet break and it wasn’t until a few years later that I understood the machination, the almost ceremonial-like rite, of having a smoke during school, and later, during working hours.

Grade Eight was Ms Raydigan, Ms Radiator, in our vernacular.  Kids will always do that. Assign some verbal handle on someone for their name, their appearance, how they talked, how they walked or how they chalked up in the overall scheme of things.  She had a short fuse and could explode almost on cue given the right circumstances. And we could provide plenty of that. Hence Ms Radiator, as in those days cars were not quite as sophisticated as they are now. Simple really, with radiators that would, with enough heat and pressure, top off and explode into a wail of steam: screeching and whistling and wailing until the pressure was relieved.  With us that relief normally equated to a dismissal from the class room with the obligatory meeting with our beloved and illustrious principal, Sister Mary Bernice, along with her scholarly and spiritual Sanctimonious Tool for Restraint And Providence…