Yardstick

November 13, 2019

1st communion jpg

I went to a Catholic grade school. One of the most important things you do when you are in 2nd grade is study for your 1st communion.

Back in the day we had the Baltimore Catechism. To this day, I know many people whose faith has not grown beyond what they learned in the Baltimore Catechism….

You might remember some of the questions:

1….Who made us……God made us.

2…Who is God… God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.

3…..Why did God make us…. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.

To make your 1st Communion you had to not only study the Baltimore Catechism, but you were constantly quizzed on the questions and you had better know the answers.

One thing about Catholic Schools in the 1950s…. we had nuns. They were real sticklers when it came to learning your Catechism.

“I would like you to go home tonight and review all these questions and tomorrow we will have a quiz.”

I went home that night….I studied and highlighted, took notes and went over the questions and answers multiple times. I was going to be ready and know all the answers.

The next day, in class the nun decided to have an oral quiz. I was in the 1st row and she started asking the 1st question to the 1st person in my row. The 2nd question went to the person in the 2nd seat.

I sensed, there is a pattern going on here… Now let me see. I am in seat number 7, that means I am going to get question number 7. What is that question? I know I know the answer. What was that question? Let me take a sneak peek in my book.

Ahhhh. Question 7

“Mister Hutchinson. Will you please come up here.”
Why did you open the book….”

I did not open the book.

I was caught red handed. There was no lying my way out of this one…

“Come here Mister Hutchinson…
Stick your hand out.”

Wow….What is going on…. What have I got myself into…

At this point, she reaches back and on the ledge of the chalk board is a yardstick…

Uh Oh…

“I said stick out your hand…”

I’m thinking….What are you going to do with that yardstick…

Crack….

Not only did she hit my hand with the yardstick…

The yardstick breaks.

The nun is very upset now…

“Now look what you done…
you are going to have to buy me a new yardstick.”

What…

Not only am I experiencing pain…now you are going to make me pay you for your infliction…

Is this some sort of Purgatory….

“You have to bring in $2.00 tomorrow so I can buy a new yardstick.”

I am thinking…

Well the yardstick wouldn’t have broken if you didn’t hit me with it.

Lying…Is that a venial sin…

Can I still make my 1st Holy Communion…

For those of you worrying…

Yes I did receive my 1st Communion and I went on to be an altar boy in later years…

Dominus Vobiscum…..Et cum spiritu tuo…

Timetables

October 30, 2019

timetables

People always compliment my math skills. What they don’t know is the story behind my wizardry.

In 5th grade I had Mr Costigan. If you ever acted up in Mr Costigan’s class, he would give you an assignment. Do the timetables 1-10…25 times and bring them in tomorrow. That was how my year started out.

Back then I always a little bit antsy…I had trouble sitting still in my seat. I was also nosey and I liked to talk…

“Mr Hutchinson….let’s pay attention back there.”

Well as the year progressed…so did the number of timetables I had to write…

“Mr Hutchinson…do the timetables 1-10…100 times and bring them to me tomorrow before class.”

It got to a point…. if I had any spare moments…even when I was not in trouble… I was writing timetables. I knew it was only a matter of time.

In fact, I had so many timetables in storage that I sold them to other less unfortunate students who met Mr Costigan’s wrath. You need 25 or 50 of them? Here I got plenty stashed. Just give me $.25 cents a page. I’m just gonna keep on writing anyway.

Well, I made it thru 5th grade and my math skills increased dramatically. Ask me a multiplication question and I knew the answer right off the top of my head.

Guess who I had the pleasure of teaching me in 7th grade….

Good Ole Mr Costigan…

“Mr Hutchinson…I see we can pick up right where we left off. You might as well just start writing…I know you are long overdue and probably missed me…”

What a sense of humor on that guy… You gotta love Mr Costigan.

So I began 7th grade…preoccupied with trying to get ahead of the curve. Mr Hutchinson please write the 1-10 timetables 100 times and bring them into me tomorrow. (He didn’t even start at 25, for I was a veteran. He went right to the 100 category). One time I reached into my school bag and said….”Here ya go….100 timetables”…He just laughed and said…. “better keep writing.”

Well, I did make it thru 7th grade and again my math skill increased dramatically.

Did I tell you I won the math award at 8th grade graduation?

And the math award for all around excellence in math goes to George Hutchinson.

I almost fell out of my seat.

Really…A math award….Thank you Mr Costigan…