Growing Up

icecreamThinking back I realize that growing up Catholic had its benefits.  We possessed “The Kiss” also know as “kiss it up to God” power …. I don’t think any other religion had that as part of their playbook of powers.

Kiss it up to God… is the power to purify anything that falls on the ground.  If something good, say a gumball, chocolate bar , ice-cream cone, tootsie pop or anything else you wanted badly accidentally dropped in the dirt or even worse street slim, it could neutralize the germs instantly….using an ancient holy magic gesture.  Oh…by the way the Magic Kiss also worked as a medicinal pain reliever and miraculous healing remedy like mercurochrome .

We kiss it up to God…Yup.. Snatch that tootsie roll up, wipe off the dirt and give it a quick kiss while raising it up to heaven and presto it becomes clean, free of germs and good a new, kind of like a holy autoclave … only with a kiss and a gentle raising up to heaven!  I don’t know where I learned about this super power but I’m sure it resides somewhere in the ecclesiastic rule book.  My exposure to holy Catholic tools like the cleansing kiss came in the school yard of the Blessed Sacrament School.  I most remember learning right from wrong the hard way.

sistersNotraDameStaffed by Sisters of Notre Dame, each nun was armed with a set of Machiavellian old school motivation tools that kept order and facilitated motivation.

wooden rulerThe Wooden Ruler – Catholics the world over still cringe in fear at the sight of a Nun with ruler in hand.  We instinctively put both hands behind our back as if we were being cuffed by the police.  Referred to as Catholic Nun Chucks, the wooden ruler taught me to always tell the truth and when that didn’t work to lie like a felon.

ClapperThe Clicker or as we used to call it the Bell Ringer – is a wooden signal device made with the handle of a hand bell, a round wooden ball and a Popsicle stick fastened by rubber elastic’s.  Clickers were used as signal devices.  Uniformed students marched in formation as the nuns clicked to signal a halt and march command, point to point, down each flight of stairs to recess, church, lunch or bathroom.   Each moment  was signaled by a click of the clicker and every student was laser focused on that sound so that momentum of the class was not deterred.  Talking in line, pushing, purposely stepping the back of  another’s heels, breaking formation and the cardinal sin pulling pigtails was met with a rap to the noggin…bells did ring and stars did shine…. When things were right things were clicking but when they were not bells would ring like the bells of Notre Dame.

I suppose by today’s standards this type of treatment of boys must sound draconian and borderline abusive.  But you have to know that in those days if you disgraced yourself (and by association your family) so much that a nun had to administer corrective behavior modification it meant two things… First you deserved what you got… and Second you got more when you got home….  But with anything in life there is good with the bad… and the kissesgood thing about grade school is you reach the age of reason.  Reason is a proper word for “discovering that the opposite sex”  which can make a growing boys heart race like a speeding rollercoaster.  The good part of getting your knuckles wacked or your bell rung is having your childhood sweetheart give it the old Magic kiss at recess… The pain relief for all the worlds ills is instant and the pleasure lasts through the day.  Come to think it.. I’m not so sure some of us didn’t cross the line purposefully thinking about the Magic Kiss Up to Heaven!  Smooch!






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