I remember the last day in school, like it was yesterday -it was 35 years ago. I had spent the last 9 years here at the boarding school, so far away from home and it felt bitter sweet. We all were excited, children and adults were running around like chickens. It was time for our theater play, afterwards the nuns and our choir would sing for the last time, before it was time to part.
We would get our diploma, so we could proof we survived the last 12 years in school. It was time for the final Good-bye and we had mixed feelings about it. We knew it was time to step out into the world, but we although knew we would miss each other. We had spend days and nights together for so many years and walking away seemed odd.
I always joked that I never wanted to see a “penguin” again -my nickname for the nuns- but I hugged some of the so hard and didn’t want to let go. I had a scholarship all those years, won a good amount of trophies in the schools name and my Grandmother didn’t have to pay a dime, only my allowance..if she decided I earned one. I came from a farm in the Alps, was the farm kid between the rich and privileged kids, felt like a donkey between racehorses, but they got used to me and I taught them a thing or two (don’t get me started).
I had spent the last 9 years here at the school, almost all my childhood years. I was only 17 and the world was waiting for me and my friends. I felt like a bird leaving the nest. My Grandmother looked proud, I must have been able to hide my confusion very well. For the first time I had a leading part in the theater play and I peeked through the curtains and tried to find familiar in the audience.
You see, I went to a boarding school that was run by Catholic nuns. School and life in a boarding school is different, how different it was I learned later in my 20’s and 30’s, when I realized how blessed I had been.
Nuns are special teachers, they have only their convent, the other sisters and their only purpose in life is to teach…and teach well. They were tough and they never settled for less than excellency, something that I didn’t understand then at all.
We learned and we played. We had a daily schedule that was hardly interrupted by anything out of the ordinary.
We got up at 5 am and went to the bathrooms, cleaned our room, made the beds and went to the dinning room for breakfast. We were seated by classes and sat together with our classmates and friends. We were 28 kids in my class and we stuck together for all these years…only one didn’t make it and left.
The church bells rung right after breakfast and we all went to the morning mass. It never lasted long, I assume they knew we weren’t paying too much attention. Then we went to our classrooms and school begun at 7:30 am sharp.
We had one break at 10:00 am, got an apple, a piece of bread with butter and some tea and school continued until 12:30 pm. Then it was time for lunch and we all seemed to be starving. .
Lunch was always special, there was lots of talk going on and it was the time when we got our mail from home. Yes, there was actually a time when people wrote letters.
Then it was time to play and have some fun, before we all would go back to our classrooms to do our homework and studies.
The nuns believed we all needed fresh air and we spend at least an hour outside. The smaller children played outside games, the older ones stood together and talked…some sneaked off to smoke with me.
We had 2 hours to do our homework and were done with it by 5:00 pm. That’s when our private life begun. Dinner wasn’t served before 6:00 p.m. and we could do what we wanted. Every class had one big living room, that was filled with games we could play. There were tables and chairs, couches and benches. Some of us did crafts, others wrote letters or read a book.
We all met again after Dinner and the time was spend differently, depending on the weather. Sometimes they played a movie and we could go and watch it, sometimes we played music and danced to the sounds of the 70’s.
I don’t’ miss school, but I think about my school time often. I learned a lot from the nuns, the teachers and the other children. A lot of my habits comes from the time I spend in this beautiful school. I know now, that learning there was a privilege and that the diploma from there, opened the doors very wide later on in life.
I found the original pictures, so you all can see how it looked like~!
If you’re in school, are you enjoying your classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?