My Retirement Stories

50th Class Reunion

High School Adventures

What do I remember about my high school adventures? Not that much! I was a good student, got good grades, and belonged to the National Honor Society all four years; I was the Vice President for two of those years. They called me the brain and voted me “most likely to succeed,” not most attractive or popular.

50th Class Reunion in 2015

DePaul Catholic

As the oldest and the only girl, I had no choice but to attend the Regional Catholic High School. My two younger brothers got to attend the local high school in town. They could walk to school while I had to take the school bus for the 30-minute commute. Talking on the bus was not allowed. Can you imagine a group of teenagers being quiet? I tested it one day and found out the nuns were serious! The ruling Principal, whom we referred to as Flip (Sister Mary Phillip) lambasted me in front of the entire busload, called me a “Whore”, and suspended me for “talking on the bus”! Instead of opening the Assembly that morning, I was suspended and sent home with my mother.

Teased Hair

Another rule forbade us from teasing our hair or wearing mascara. Well, one day Flip was roaming the halls and corraled a group of us, accusing us of having teased hair. Into the lav she led us and one by one, she ducked our heads under the faucet. These were not deep sinks and many heads banged right into those faucets. We spent the rest of a very chilly day going to class with soaking wet heads. This Sister of Charity had none of that; she was truly an evil woman.

Biology Class

DePaul focused on College Prep courses and Biology was a required class in my Sophomore year. I was not a fan and when it came time to dissect a worm, I balked. I don’t remember the name of the nun who taught that class, but we butted heads. She made me stay in that classroom until I would touch the darn worm. I finally did and got an A but Biology is the last of the science classes I ever took. It was Humanities for me.


I kept up the good grades and by my Senior year, I ranked #10 out of 175 in our class. The top students (20 or 30 of us) spent our Senior year in a Humanities program. We read 20 books the summer before class, including books like “Catcher in the Rye” and “Lord of the Flies”, books that some are now banning. Can you believe that a Catholic high school in the 60s found these books to be important literature? Unfortunately, we were the only class that got to experience this incredible program taught by Ross Lyle. Each month, we took trips to see an Off-Broadway play or the Ballet, or a museum in New York City. Ross was the best teacher who taught us to think. Every test was an essay; no multiple choice in this class. He went on to work for Johnson & Johnson and became a Vice President when DePaul elected not to continue this program. I am thankful for Ross Lyle and that opportunity every day.


I wish I had a picture of our Gym uniforms. They were more like midi dresses, but then we had very limited programs. Basketball was half-court, and exercises were lame. I remember the chant “We must, we must, we must increase our bust” during calisthenics! It didn’t work obviously! There was intramural softball but no real athletic program for girls. I tried out for cheerleader but failed; I could not do a split or back bend. Mostly, girls were the audience at sporting events and football was the big draw for the DePaul Spartans. Our big rivals – the local high school that my brothers attended, and the big games were always on Thanksgiving weekend.


My best friends from high school remain – Ellen Culver and Pat Schlegel. Sadly, Pat died from Ovarian Cancer 9 years ago, but we spent a lot of time together right up to the end and I still think about her every day. Ellen is my rock and during high school, she was my escape when I had to get out of my house. Ellen always took care of everyone else, including her husband and my good friend, Joe, until he passed in 2020.

College Prep

DePaul’s curriculum was focused on college prep, as I said earlier, but there it ended. My grades were good, but they weren’t good enough for a National Merit Scholarship and other scholarships then were limited. My father would not help me attend college, and the nun responsible for guiding us threw up her hands. Both the Valedictorian, Mary Jane Mackin, and I ended up attending the Latin American Institute in New York City. I left home and moved into Morgan Hall, the YWCA in Midtown Manhattan; more about that experience in my next blog.

The theme in our yearbook was “Happiness is _______________”; I said “Independence”, and I was about to learn how to be independent, survive and eventually prosper.

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