Thursday, September 11, 2014


Mother Teresa
This past Sunday where TLW (The Little Woman) and I have breakfast at one of our favorite diners, we got to talking about the past, and being left-handed. Now you understand that my wife’s handwriting is difficult to read, she writes like she holds a medical degree. Often if she leaves me a note in the morning, I have to run it over to the pharmacist to interpret it for me. Being she is left handed, I tried to hold it up against a mirror to interpret it once, but all I got was a headache and a dirty mirror!

There is a Facebook page called:
Our Lady Of Lourdes Elementary Alumni Bushwick, NY

The page is a great repository of the old days when I was growing up and Mom made me try to be good by sending me to a Catholic school, run by brothers and nuns, some of which escaped war crimes tribunals by fleeing to Brooklyn from Post-war Nazi Germany. The discipline was harsh, they were strict and intimidating, walking around the classroom asking if perhaps: “ you haf family in Shermany?” to make me comply with their demands. Looking up on the wall and seeing what they did to that kid I decided to try to listen.

THIS is what they did to you, so behave!

One of the things they didn’t like was a lefthander. No, to write left-handed was to sin, it broke the 11th Commandment: “Thou shall not covet they neighborhood pharmacist.” They wanted to be able to read your homework, not have to resort to going to the pharmacist to read it like a prescription!

I'm the kid behind the kid with the suspenders
In my classroom one day the teacher, Mrs. Walsh, made us write each letter of the alphabet, starting with Caps and then lower case, just as she had it up on the walls over the blackboard, or in today’s vernacular: “Chalkboard”. As we wrote, she would pace the aisles of the room, perusing the many students and when she found one who was left-handed, lean over their desk, take the pencil out of the left  hand and place it in the right hand! This had a two-fold effect. One it made the student crazy, and two it made it possible to read your work, knowing whether or not you knew the lessons well if you broke your left-handed habit.

I had no family in Shermany
Depending on the phase of the moon, the temperature in Highland Park and the mood of the teacher, you could be subjected to corporal punishment for not complying with the edict to convert to right handed Christianity, so help me God. Where they got a corporal on leave from the army beats me, or would have given him the chance to do so. My suspicion is that the corporal was an old friend came from the Wehrmacht.

Being a gifted child I was already right-handed. Thank God for that, because they would have still been paying the price for converting me today. Although TLW has survived being left-handed, back handed and a pretty good forehand, she never went through the trials and tribulations of my left-handed classmates.  That would have been akin to correcting Mother Teresa, and who in the whole Catholic Church, including the last five popes would want to take that on?


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  • Love the Lourdes posted there bring back wonderful memories. Thanks for steering me there. Hope all is well.

    By Blogger Jim Pantaleno, at 4:01 AM  

  • I knew you would enjoy it, glad to bring back the memories.
    Stay well.

    By Blogger Joseph Del Broccolo, at 4:42 AM  

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