What happened between middle school and high school?
I never technically went to middle school. I went to a Catholic kindergarten through Grade 8 school, a grammar school. So there wasn’t really a middle school or junior high school. We just finished grammar school and then went off to high school.
We graduated from Grade 8 and I was class valedictorian. I also won a scholarship from our parish to one of the girls’ Catholic high schools in the city. That was a great blessing for my family. My father was a school teacher at one of the public high schools in the city and didn’t make a lot of money and the scholarship was a God-send for our family. I worked very hard during my grammar school years to earn that scholarship.
During the summer between the end of grammar school and the start of high school, we had work to do. We were given a reading list and had to read the books on the reading list before the start of school. Some of the books were interesting. Some were the most boring books in the world. For example, Ivanhoe. I don’t think I have ever read a more boring book in my life. It was terrible. On the other hand, we read Black Like Me and Are You Running With Me, Jesus, both of which were interesting books. When we started school in the Fall, we had to write essays about the books we had read. There were about 10 books on the list of required books, about right for a summer reading list.
Summer was also the time for getting measured for our school uniforms. We wore navy blue jumpers and long-sleeved white blouses with navy blue blazers and navy blue knee high socks and saddle shoes. We also wore a long string bow tie in a color that designated our level in school: baby blue for freshman, yellow for sophomores, green for juniors, and red for seniors. We also had navy blue beanies but no one ever wore them. For chapel we always wore black mantillas.
So that was what happened between grammar school and high school. The summer passed as most summers did, with swimming at the pool in the public high school pool or the town pool. I visited friends, especially the friends who would be attending the other girls’ high school whom I would not get to see often after school started. It was a time of endings and beginnings.