specialized in remedies for her particular sickness. I was horrified and saddened to see the results of her therapy and dreaded these hospital visits. Her recuperation from this debilitating therapy was also lengthy and upsetting to me.
The quaint and beautiful church in our town where I made my First Holy Communion the year prior had burnt to the ground. Therefore the Sacrament of Confirmation was scheduled to be held in the school auditorium of the local Catholic school. Relatives remarked that the age of eight years old was young for Confirmation and informed me that their Confirmation was at the age of twelve years. To make ready for this Sacrament, instruction centered on preparedness for the acceptance of the Holy Spirit. The Ten Commandments were referenced and basically explained. I asked about the meaning of keeping the Sabbath Day holy and was told that it meant attending mass on Sunday. As my family did not regularly attend Catholic mass, I resigned myself to the fact of probable condemnation regarding the violation of this Commandment. I realized much later in life, that perhaps there is an alternative to attending church services to satisfy a requirement of this Commandment. All students were asked to select a Confirmation name of their choosing provided the name chosen was the name of a Catholic Saint. I selected an aunt’s name on father’s paternal side of the family named Louise. An uncle teased me about the selection of this name, and mother was insulted as she was hoping that I would choose her name, Eleanor. I relented and decided to please mother and so selected her name. The ceremony required the wearing of a white rented gown. My assigned Confirmation partner was a boy I liked for his pleasantness and kindness to others. The vague recollection that I have of this ceremony is the Bishop confirming my acceptance of the Holy Spirit under the Confirmation name selected. Instruction in religion ended after receiving this Sacrament.
Fourth grade as I recall was a year of confusion and an engagement in “daydreaming” for me. The method of teaching and instruction had changed this year to student’s being grouped by ability, at least for reading instruction. Prior to this time we read reading books together as a class taking turns reading book paragraphs in order according to individual desk assignments. The Science Research Associates reading program (SRA) was implemented in the school and students sat in groups (the desks were pushed together), for this instruction (goofing off with classmates was also part of this experience). The groups were categorized as A,B,C,D, and E with group A representing excellence and group E representing below average with a required remedial intervention. Each group read and worked on different reading and comprehension materials which were based on a graduated color coded card system. I remember wondering at that time how one teacher could administer to these five different reading programs, at the same time. The answer gradually became clear to me as all students basically worked independently or shared their answers with group members, which I interpreted as cheating. I also believed that the arrangement of sitting in a group was noisy and affected my concentration level because of the various diversions and distractions caused by group members and the other groups within the classroom. I was assigned to group B throughout the remainder of elementary school, although at one point, I was threatened with being moved down to group C, due to a careless attitude regarding the thorough completion of assignments. I recall sympathizing with the students in groups D and E, as they were thought by other student’s to be dumb.