No wonder – education and stuff

Back in April we moved to the new place. I’m still exploring the area but this time on foot. I’d always driven through but when you’re driving you miss lots of stuff.

One of the things I missed was found again while walking by Bell Street.
Bell Street, Providence, RI

The thing I’d missed on Bell Street is the Bell Street Chapel, a Unitarian Universalist Church. This church offers toddler daycare and I remember going to a Bell Street Nursery school when I was a young one. It’s one and the same. Unitarian Universalists aren’t know for their strict dogma. Matter of fact, to be a UU one really doesn’t need to proclaim any belief or faith at all. They are as close to Deist or Secular Humanist as you can possibly get.

And I can tell you who probably chose this particular daycare for me, it had to be my mother. Mom wasn’t a pious Catholic, in fact I think she was more an atheist than Christian. It would probably explain where my disbelief started. I wish she were still alive, because I’d be able to confirm my suspicions. Luckily my aunt lets me in on things about mom so I get some of the story.

After nursery school I was enrolled in what was then Msgr. Bove School (Now St. Ann’s School, I guess the old Msgr. didn’t hold sway, and he’s the guy who lobbied the funds necessary to build the school in the fist place!). While I was there the parish was under the stewardship of Msgr. DiMeo. Yes, it was Italian-Catholic. And it was guido central. One of the priests there drove an IROC Camaro, while the good Monsignor had to drive a Mercedes-Benz. I guess life wasn’t too bad for a priest in an Italian neighborhood.
St. Ann’s School

But I guess things have changed there. I happened upon their calendar and they get the Jewish high holidays too. Damn, we didn’t get that when I was there. Of course it’s all lay people teaching at the school now. When I was there we had at least two nuns from the Sisters of Mercy order. Let me tell you that they weren’t merciful at all. Sister Mary Florentia was right off the boat from Ireland, her favorite phrase being “You bold piece!”, and Sister Clair Marie was a dyke if I ever saw one.

From Msgr. Bove/St. Ann’s I then had two options for high schools, both of which required entrance examinations. The first was Classical High School, a public school allowed to be very selective in its student enrollment. Then there was LaSalle Academy (Warning, flash laden site!), a Catholic high school which also required not only entrance exams but also had summer reading lists. I chose to go to LaSalle and graduated in 1982.

LaSalle Academy

What amazes me is that in the twenty five years since I’ve left LaSalle the campus has grown like crazy. I’m happy to see them doing well.

It was at LaSalle that my inclinations toward atheism became cemented. After all, the religion class for one year had us reading the entire Bible and discussing the contents and context.

LaSalle had it’s cast of characters too. There was one Brother whose name escapes me that we used to call the Walking Holiday. He was that old and sure enough during my junior year he died. Then there was Brother Frederick the Android.

Brother Ralph Darmento who had to be taught that in the BASIC programming language, you could write an entire program on one line just using the : to separate operations.

For our science classes we had Stormin’ Norman DuBois taught one of the physical science classes I had, and the brotherhood duo of Ron and Charles Poirier did the physics and electronics classes. I still keep in touch with Ron, he’s a higher up in the Dept. of Ed now.

For math I had Brother Joseph Ventura for freshmen algebra, Peter Curtin for Algebra II, Knobby Walsh for Geometry and Mr. Quinn for pre-cal. That I passed pre-cal never ceases to amaze me.

For foreign language, Spanish to be precise, I had Brother Gregory, and Rita Ravo.

Oh this is a trip down memory lane.

My first stab at college was an abortion. I really should have gone away for school since lots of things would have been different, the most likely of which is I would have acknowledged my being gay that much sooner. But I ended up at Rhode Island College for about a year and a half. I remember two professors, Dr. Agetstein who I had for Developmental Psychology, and Elizabeth Gunning who I had for freshmen English, the class I promptly dropped.

Rhode Island College

It’s a relatively small campus at RIC. But I just wasn’t into it back then.

My second run at college went much better but I was in my 30’s when I did that and I had chosen Johnson & Wales University. Managed a 3.82GPA when all was said and done, and that would have been a perfect 4.0 if I’d given an absolute shit about a couple of the liberal arts courses I had to take, like the Legal Environment of Business.

Johnson & Wales University

And that campus sprawls across most of downtown Providence and then continues on the southern end of the city.

And here I am, thinking about going back to school. I’ve got my B.Sc in Information Science but I’m on the fence about what to go back for. There’s a move in congress to make it so those going to school for math, science and engineering go for free if they commit to teaching or working in the field for three years. That’d make it very easy for me to get my B.Sc in Electronic Engineering. But then the other part of me says if that doesn’t happen, I think I’m just going to do a PhD program. The object here is to die with student loan debt that approximates the GDP of a small nation. I’ll probably stick with the Information Science field, maybe do some work with cryptography. That’d be fun.

5 thoughts on “No wonder – education and stuff

  1. I had Florentia, too (3rd grade? 4th grade?) and Clair (5th grade). Sister Ruth was the Principal. Don’t remember the 6th grade teacher … 7th was Miss Romano and 8th was Miss Dunn, if I recall correctly.

    The year the old St. Ann’s was torn down and the new Msgr Bove was built, we spent the school year in the Branch Ave school. That was before your time.

    I think the IROC was the young priest who used to sunbathe on the roof of the garage next to the rectory. Msgr. DiMeo had the black Benz.

    Ahhh, memories!

    Good for you on returning to school. I’ve been back since last year. Surprisingly, I like it much more now, than ever before.

  2. Me: When I was there Florentia was 1st grade, Ms. Voro was 2nd, 3rd was Mr. Ferrara, 4th was Ms. Rufo. Sixth was Ms. Sweet, while 7th and 8th escape me completely.

    The principal during that time was BJ DiCricenzo.

    What’s interesting is now that I know the history the school I started at was only two years old when I got there. And yes, we’re talking about the same young priest.

    And thanks for reminding me about DiMeo’s black Benz. It was shall we say a parish awash in money. Still is though the area around it has changed immensely. There was a massive diaspora of the Italian-American residents and we ended up in Cranston, Johnston or like me on Federal Hill which is mixed Italian and Latino now.

  3. Fr. Alfred Ricci drove that Iroc—and it was a gift to him before he came to the parish. I attended Msgr. Bove (class of 1980) and lived in the North End for 16 years. That Parish was NEVER rich.
    St. Ann’s school has since ceased to exist: the Diocese closed it in 2009, citing lack of funds/enrollment.

  4. Currently freshman at LaSalle and absolutely loving it! I have been in Catholic school all my life and i really do wish i had some public school experience but i think it was for the best that i haven’t.

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