Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mo (The Nuns)

You could see it in the way he held his pen in his hand - Mo had been mentally preparing for our class all week. I went around the table asking the seniors one by one, "Let's see, what should you write about today?" and when I got to Mo, he didn't miss a beat. "I was thinking I'd pick up where I left off last time, " he said, "start right at first grade."

After class, he told me, "I've never done anything like this before. I don't belong to any church groups or anything so I never get to tell my stories or hear anyone else's stories like this." When I asked him if he'd told his son about all this yet, he said, "You know, I thought a lot about telling him. But haven't yet. Only my lady friend and her chihuahua know I'm doing this. I've been telling them about how much I'm loving this." I don't know why, but I kind of like that he's been keeping this class a private thing. Maybe because I think of him as an extremely talkative guy. It's natural for him to tell acquaintances about his daily going-ons; it actually takes more effort for him not to tell. At least that's my impression. I feel like it means that the class is precious to him.

And in case you're new to this blog, "Mo" is his pen name for the purpose of this very blog, and he loves the fact that he is sharing his stories to the world while retaining perfect anonymity. Even as we all read his stories here, the experience of writing remains private and personal to him. What a thrill in a way so be so public yet so anonymous.

October 22, 2009

Mo McCooper

The Nuns

Aunt Nancy had taught me to read before I was four years old.  After my fifth birthday in June 1940, she asked me if I would like to go to first grade in September or wait another year.

Fortunately, I chose to wait and I was still the shortest and lightest boy in my grade all through the eight years of elementary school.

When my mother introduced me to the wonderful principal the first day, I couldn’t wait to get home and ask Mom why the “sisters” all dressed like witches.

The nuns were very patient with me but I never scored above “A” in “self-control”.  Nothing interesting happened until a new boy nicknamed Cannonball by the older kids threw up on his desk which instantly cleared the room for early recess.  He went home and never came back to the catholic school.  Don’t remember ever seeing him again.

By fourth grade, we’re at the town playground every afternoon playing football, basketball or baseball.  Being the smallest kid was tough but my Dad had taught me to box pretty well so things were “ok”.