Remembering, reliving that good ol' school daze

Driving through town a few days ago, I couldn't help but notice all of the bright yellow signs welcoming UWS students for a new year. At this particular stage of my life, I never thought I'd be a returning student. But then why shouldn't I be? My...

Driving through town a few days ago, I couldn't help but notice all of the bright yellow signs welcoming UWS students for a new year.

At this particular stage of my life, I never thought I'd be a returning student. But then why shouldn't I be? My father finished his master's degree well into his 40s. An aunt completed her education to become a teacher in the school system in her mid-life.

So, when circumstances permitted and opportunity knocked, I decided to hit the books, or at least the keyboard. With 75 percent of my classes online, I'm in an actual WITC classroom only two afternoons a week. Virtual classroom or real, the memories are rushing back and I'm in a daze.

My introduction to school life began in the kindergarten room of Mrs. Mizia's (did I spell that right) at Blaine School. By my recollection, it's probably just about where a massage room at Hidden Oasis is located now. Let me tell you, a massage table and the experience there beats those tiny mats on the hard tile floor of the kindergarten room any day.

I started at Blaine because there was no kindergarten at Cathedral School, where I spent grades 1-9. Cathedral once offered high school classes - much to my sister's misery - but they were long gone when I reached that stage. I remember walking through the tunnel to the church basement, our lunch hall. The art and music rooms were also located there, so there was sometimes more than one trip a day.


The tunnel was long, and we were on strict orders to remain silent from one end to the other. I never did know why. The pipes overhead were covered in (what I didn't know then) was asbestos. The boys used to jump up to touch the pipes. Little dusty particles would rain down on us. I hope nobody has suffered any ill effects from those "shenanigans" as the nuns called them.

I have a lot of memories from Cathedral, but one that remains as clear in my mind today as if it were 35 years ago is Sister Henriella's chemistry class, where I forever learned to "Cut the drip!" That was her instruction on the technique of turning a bottle at the end of pour to catch the last drip that would otherwise fall to some horrible disastrous result. Or at least from her vehemence we surely thought the result would be horrible. I still hear Sister Henriella's voice every time (no really, every single time) I pour anything from a bottle.

I remember our uniforms, by far the ugliest uniform of all the Catholic schools in Superior. Girls at the other schools had spiffy navy blue or dove gray jumpers or skirts. With the diocese-wide white blouse and red sweater, they looked like young ingénues.

Our jumpers were made of some indestructible fabric in the dullest, darkest olive green with red plaid. Their saving grace was apparently that they held up well and didn't need frequent laundering (that's a yucky thought) making them tops with our mothers.

I was convinced that they were hand picked by the nuns and priests to make us look so hopelessly unattractive that there would be no chance of little boys with naughty thoughts. The only school sanctioned clothing that was worse were the black swimsuits of the mid-seventies at Senior High School, where I attended 10th and 11th grade.

At senior high, it was all about the link, thus named because it linked the classrooms-in-the-round to the cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium and classrooms for music and shop that were housed in the more conventional, four cornered architecture of the building.

Everybody who was anybody - and a lot of us who weren't - hung out in the link during the break between second period and homeroom. There was a second floor gallery that looked down into the large open area below. If ever I've made a grand entrance in my life, it had to be the time I stumbled, then bounced my backside from the top of the stairs all the way down to the bottom.

I finished out my required school years at Northwestern High School, attending there my senior year. Though my time was short, I made many friends among both the students and teachers.


So kind readers, if you're an old school chum or a teacher who for some reason remembers me (I can only hope, it is good reason), you may have to jog my failing memory a bit if we should bump into each other, and remind me which school we attended together when.

And to all returning students and teachers, from kindergarten to graduate school, have a great year!

Judith Liebaert was raised in Superior and now lives in rural Douglas County. She blogs online as the Mad Goddess™. Send your comments or story ideas to .

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