Monday, October 29, 2012

DISORGANIZED CRIME, Patini's High School Years

Sister Mary Mathias came in the boy's bathroom with a bunch of kids from the first grade just as I was writing "suck" on the bathroom wall with a mop. After going through nine years of grammar school with the same kids, that bright idea prevented me from attending the graduation ceremony with the rest of the class. Although I wasn't allowed to take part in the graduation ceremony, I did graduate, received my diploma and was accepted into Cardinal Hayes high school.

After my freshman year, I transferred to Immaculata High School on East 33rd Street because I didn't want to travel to Grand Concourse in the Bronx to attend Cardinal Hayes for my sophomore year.

There Sister Consolata was a nun everybody feared. She ruled with an iron fist and a wooden ruler. One day she was in a tirade and I raised my hand. When she called on me, I got up and started talking pure gibberish, ending with, .”.....for homework tomorrow?"

Well, I did this until she reached her boiling point, screaming, "What, what?"

I didn't want to overplay my hand so I was about to stop when I saw Eddie Schultz with his head on his desk laughing uncontrollably. This encouraged me and I went one more time, which pushed her over the edge.

She came over, grabbed me and shook me like a rag doll, screaming at the top of her lungs. Our classroom was on the third floor; outside there was a two foot wide ledge with a flagpole in the middle of it. Not being afraid of heights because of my time on the roof with the pigeons, I ran over to the window, jumped out on the ledge and made my way to the flagpole. Carefully sitting down, I inched a little ways out.

Now I negotiated with Sister Consolata, who stuck her head out the window and pleaded with me to come back in. I told her she was always picking on me, which I borrowed from the doo-wop song "Charlie Brown.” She assured me she wouldn't pick on me any more if I came back in.

True to her word, whenever I was caught talking with anybody, she would only yell at them. Starting to feel guilty, I actually started behaving.

The kids in Sister Consolata's class weren't all from the neighborhood, like grade school. There was this one kid named Carl who was a ball-buster and a real jerk-off. One morning he was bothering Eddie Schultz, and shortly thereafter Sister Consolata was called away from the classroom for something, telling us to behave while she was gone.

Yeah right; as soon as she left, Eddie, Alfrie, me and a couple of other guys grabbed Carl, gave him a "pink belly" and hit him all over with erasers until he was covered from head to toe in white chalk. He got away from us, ran into the supply closet next to Consolata's desk and locked himself in.

Just then, our "lookout" told us Sister Consolata was approaching. We all got back to our seats and tried to look studious. She comes back in, sits at her desk and a quiet hush envelops the classroom. This hush was shattered a few minutes later when the supply closet door bursts open, and Carl comes running out looking like a giant snowman. Consolata let out a scream, held her chest and the whole classroom erupted in laughter as Carl went running down the hallway.


From his memoir, DISORGANIZED CRIME, by Sonny Patini, Distribution needed.


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