Second grade at Assumption Catholic School was a misery for me. I was in the Blue Bird's reading group, which meant I was a poor reader, a total embarrasment to my two big sisters. I didn't want to be a poor reader, but it just wouldn't click. I was unhappy to have a "Lay Teacher" and not a nun with arms crossed beneath the front sheath of a flowing black and white habit, and rocking in sensible black shoes, and softly talking in such a lovely Irish accent. I was going to be a nun!
I never liked school and often faked illness to get to go home. When my mother couldn't be found, as she was very active at the Southside Woman's Club (eventually becoming the President), my Aunt Louise would be called. Aunt Louise would come in her light blue car with fashionable tailfins. I climbed in next to my baby cousin, who was happily hanging in a wire and cloth baby seat. It was more to keep baby from crawling all over the car than it was for any semblance of safety. If Chris got fussy, Aunt Louise would slip the keys from the ignition of the running car and give them to him. Uncle Paul, a young service man on leave, popped in to visit his sister, and fed me M&M's for my pretend stomach ache. He called them "Get Well Pills," and called my bluff.