Friday, March 6, 2009

Lesson of Consequences

Describing the building, on the first floor when looking down the corridor to the north there were two sitting parlors one on each side of the hall. They were decorated with beautiful couches, chairs and tables. This is where relatives and visitors would come and wait for who ever had been summoned. At the end of the hall was a door. Behind that door was the nursery. Children that were not old enough to attend kindergarten lived in that wing. My Brother who was only 4 was settled in with that group. The nursery had a dormitory where the children slept, a lavatory with toilets and sinks and then a large room where there were toys for the children and activities. I would go every day to see my brother until he was old enough to be moved to the boys' living quarters.

There was a staircase just off the door to the nursery that lead to the second floor. Looking down the opposite end of the hall from the nursery door past the entrance, Father M's office was on one side, the elevator was across from his office, there was a stairwell next to the elevator, continuing down the corridor there was a sunlit connecting hallway that lead to the dining rooms. Across from this turn in the hallway was the living quarters for Father M.

I was moved to the second floor girls living quarters, that was right above the nursery. Those accommodations included two dormitories that held ten to twelve single beds each, with the separate sleeping room for the sister in between the dorms. There was a small window that connected the dorms to the sister's sleeping quarters, so the girls could be checked on during the night. There was a large lavatory that had a row of sinks five on each side with a row of toilets that had curtains to provide privacy. I remember two deep claw footed bathtubs that were used on Saturdays for girls to bathe. The lavatory had lockers and each girl was assigned a locker in which to store her toiletries. There was a narrow room in which everyone's clothing was stored on shelves labeled with the person's name. The clothing room was kept locked and each night we would be given an outfit to hang in the locker to wear the next day.

When dad had left to go back to Casper, I was given a tour of the second floor girls quarters. The place was huge. I was assigned a bed and a locker.

One of the first nights there I was having a tough time getting settled down after being directed to go to bed. I got up to go to the bathroom, I got caught by Sister JL and she told me to go back to bed. I couldn't sleep so I got up to get a drink of water. I was caught again and this time she was going to escort me back to bed. Well, when she went to grab me, I stepped out of reach. I ran into the lavatory and circled the row of sinks. I was small, pretty quick and she was not able to catch me. I was thinking this was pretty funny and started laughing. We must have ran around the sinks two or three times, all the while I'm laughing thinking this is pretty funny, she can't catch me. Big mistake. Sister JL enlisted the help of two of the older bigger girls, they cornered and caught me. I had my first taste of consequences. I learned that a hand broom could be used for more than sweeping up dirt.

I was lonely, separated from my brother, didn't know anyone, was unaccustomed to having a schedule, unaccustomed to being disciplined and pretty sad. I cried myself to sleep that night but was determined Sister JL wasn't going to get the best of me. That was one of many lessons I was to learn.


Joyce said...

What a time you had. I guess the sister had to be strict; I can just imagine all the little girls running around.

I'm glad you got to see your brother daily. <3

Kim said...

What happen when your brother was moved out of the nursery, did you still get to see him? It is still amazing to me that you are such a good mother after such an unconventional child hood yourself. Thank you for writing these stories down, I have learned more about you, and my Grandparents. You are such a wonderful mother I just hope that Tolina will have a mother half as good as I did. Love you