Attending a girls’ boarding school for 4 years of high school impacted my life in ways that are so deeply embedded in me, it is hard to remember what they were.
However dear daughters, here are a few details:
* I feel certain my mother (your Nonnie) was worried and concerned about this great adventure, but as she sewed nametags in all of my clothes and newly purchased uniforms, she never said a word- other than the sage advice I mentioned in a previous post..
Lesson: in relation to your own children, figure out when as a mother you show fear and when you do not.
* Never underestimate the power of table manners. Was I raised to eat fried chicken with a knife and fork, as clearly some of my classmates were? No , I was not.
Lesson: if you have a core set of table manners these oddities will not bother you when you see them.
(I remember being horrified. My solution? I didn’t eat fried chicken my freshman year, until I gained my sea legs and thought, Mills style, this is crazy. )
*I wore a hat or a mantilla to the Episcopal church near the school every Sunday because it was required (both the hat and church).
Lesson: Don’t always balk at the required. It can lead to wonderful adventures. We are now Episcopalians because of those early adventures, and yes I did wear my pajamas once covered with my trench coat. I have always been a fan of just a little healthy rebellion.
*I had a History of Art teacher my senior year who cursed in class (occasionally) and even wrote similar comments in the margins of our essays. Guess what? She was one of my favorite teachers.
Lesson: Why do you think that was?You tell me the next time we see each other.
*I never had a teacher in the classroom when the class was taking a test. The minute the tests were distributed, the teacher walked to the door, turned as he/she left the room and said, ‘You are on your honor’.
Lesson: As a high school English teacher , I periodically did the same thing. To many of my colleagues and certainly administrators this would be considered heresy. I’ll admit at first I said a million prayers out in the hall, as I stalled for a few minutes (and I never stayed away more than about 3 minutes saying this prayer: please let this work…) The result? My students’ shoulders were a little straighter, and those that did cheat were given the gift of honor anyway.