GUEST POST: Sister Francis, Over Easy
Internet. I cannot POSSIBLY EXPRESS how excited I am for today’s post. You are about to read a post authored by none other than my amazing, hilarious friend CFoST (Chicago Friend of Said Turkey…who actually lives in Kansas City now, but whatever). A few things you should know about CFoST:
- She is awesome;
- She can French inhale;
- She spoils the hell out of Sadie;
- She’s got a Fendi bag and a bad attitude…
I’m hoping that CFoST will become a regular guest-poster on this site, and I think you’ll soon see why. BEHOLD:
The Tale of Sister Francis
The resurrection of this story in my head began a couple of weeks ago in the following ways: 1) I watched Food, Inc. (not for the faint of heart, or stomach) and 2) I saw updates about my Facebook friend who raises chickens and various other plants and animals in Philadelphia. Right in the city – amazing!
Another important fact you should know about me: though one of my best friends is a Turkey (that’s Jive Turkey to you good people), I am completely and deathly afraid of birds in all forms. This is due in large part to an incident with a peacock when I was a very tiny little girl (maybe 3 or 4 years old). That story, though, is for another day.
So that is all to say that, not only is the story that follows probably pretty traumatizing to any person, it was particularly nightmare inducing for me.
The scene is Sixth Grade. Catholic School. I am eleven and so it is 1987. There are plaid uniforms with Peter Pan collars and knee socks (pulled up to the knee) for the girls. There are blue slacks (to use a term my mother says regularly that makes me skeeve out) and cardigans for the boys. There is gross red and grey tiled floor and squeaky old desks (probably the same ones that my aunts and uncles and older cousins used before me). And there is a nun. Sister Francis.
Sister Francis was what we (former) Catholics call a “lay nun”, meaning she wore no habit. What she did wear were some super sweet lay nun clothes, almost all polyester, almost all circa 1978, almost all in a color one might find on the set of “Maude.” She had been trained by the convent as a “teacher”. Teacher is in quotes for so many reasons.
I thought Sixth Grade was to be my last really good year prior to adolescence. Seventh grade brought on the advent of glasses, boobs, periods, and prematurely sexually active 12 and 13 year old “cool” girls who talked about handy-j’s and b.j.’s on a regular basis. All things which still totally ooked me out at 12 and 13.
In hindsight, I think Sister Francis can best be described as a teacher who wanted to be the cool teacher. Always unfortunate, no? She wanted to experiment with how we learned about things, but like that beloved fictional character, Amelia Bedelia, somehow things never quite worked out. Like the time Amelia Bedelia was told to dress the turkey and she actually put a DRESS on the TURKEY. What a whore.
Before I make Sister Francis out to sound all well intentioned and shit, know this: she was a nun who came up in the era of corporal punishment for Catholic school kids. The woman was a child-beater, and hey, I might be too if I had to be married to Jesus Christ, for the love of Pete Sampras. (PS – Does the fact that Jesus is married to all these nuns make him a polygamist? Just asking…)
Some prime examples of her wack-a-doodle teaching methods include:
– the time she had us use Elmer’s School glue to hang blue crepe paper in the shape of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to the grey brick wall outside our classroom resulting in blue dye dripping down said wall and thus permanently staining it. (Also, I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn anything about my state’s history in that moment unless, was crepe paper invented in Kentucky?)
– the time she taught Sex Ed (always wonderful coming from someone who has cobwebs instead of pubic hair) and divided the boys and girls into separate groups to show us a VHS tape of Andrea McArdle (that’s Annie to you) talking with her friends about how she got her period and how cramps hurt and PMS stinks! It’s a hard knock fucking life out there for a pimp. And for Andrea McArdle, apparently.
– the time Sister Francis decided we needed to find fossils on the hill behind our school. To clarify, these were the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, friends. Many of my classmates were physically unable to climb it, many more made it most of the way and then slid back down when our tired 11 year old bodies couldn’t cling to branches and rocks any longer, and a handful made it all the way up with scrapes, bruises, cuts, ripped uniforms and NO FOSSILS. It was my first brush with death.
That comment about brushes with death is a nice segue to the real story I’m here to tell. Another of Sister Francis’ ideas was to incubate a chicken egg in a science lesson.
She got some rickety-ass incubator from a local farm, got an egg, and set up shop in our classroom. That egg was cooking for weeks, but hadn’t hatched and, Sister Francis, not being a nun known for great patience, decided to go on ahead and crack that bitch open.
In a ceremony only rivaled by Friday all-school mass, our class paraded down to the lunchroom with incubator and egg in hand. I remember that Sister set the incubator down near the lunchroom dishwasher and grabbed a gray lunch plate for our little ball of fluffy yellow chick to bounce around on after we cracked the shit open.
We all gathered ‘round one of the lunchroom tables. I stood behind other students, perhaps sensing somehow that fluffy feathery goodness was not going to come tumbling out of that eggshell.
What happened next can only be described as abortion.
Sister Francis cracked the egg on the side of our lunch plate, as one might when one is cracking an egg to put in cake batter, and as the shell separated, what dripped onto OUR LUNCH PLATE was: some yolk, some blood, some feathers, a beak, and one eyeball.
One eyeball. Staring at all of us. If that eye could talk, it would have said, “CHICK MURDERERS!!!”
There were screams of terror from girls and boys alike. There was lots of crying. And if you’d witnessed your first abortion in your school cafeteria, you might have cried too. I might cry right now.
I was beyond repair. If there was anything worse in the world to me than birds, it was half birds. Parts of birds. Bird blood. On my LUNCH PLATE. The scene is as vivid in my mind today as if it had happened this very minute.
After this incident none of us ever ate off a gray lunch plate again, I promise you that. Sister Francis was fired at the end of the school year for some combination of being a bad teacher and beating the shit out of us. And possibly for performing a late term abortion on a fucking chicken. I lost faith in authority, alternative education, Catholicism, nuns, and reusable lunch plates. I knew then that if I made it through the remaining six years of my Catholic education, it would be a goddam miracle, which is saying something for someone who has little to no faith in organized religion.
Andrea McArdle ain’t got nothin’ on Sister Francis in the sex ed department.
And Sister Francis ain’t got nothin’ on the two other nuns at my school who got caught with a couple of men, some shandy booze and some wacky tobacky at the convent one weekend. But that’s another story…
Thanks to JT for letting me get my guest blog on. Ho’s up, G’s down.
Entry filed under: Gobble-gobble.