I went to a Convent school since standard one.
We still had nuns and the head mistress was a very stern red head Irish woman with small beady eyes peering at you through small frames with sharp edges..... well, at least that's how I remember her. Sister Florence she was and God give you strength if she ever catches you doing anything wrong.
As I was enrolled in the afternoon session, a school bus would come pick me up and I usually ended up early in school. I would then join my friends in the canteen, getting snacks or hang awhile at another favourite place, the bookshop and buy whatever was not necessary. I was especially crazy about erasers and had a huge collection in those big Horlicks bottles.
We would play 'five stones' (little hand sewn square bags of rice or little red seeds we collected from under the tree in school); bottle caps where we stack them strategically and flick one cap to touch another using challenging corners and angles; hop scotch; galah panjang (dunno english name) where your team will have to break past the other team to get to the other side without being eliminated on the badminton court; skip rope made from rubber bands we fervently collected or some richer kids would just buy a bag of them... :) Many more I can't honestly remember but we did not need computers or devices to keep us occupied. We used our minds and resources and played energetic games unlike now.
Well one day I joined a group playing skip rope before school started and was addicted. Soon as the bus left me, I'd dropped my bag with the others and dashed to the side compound to play before school started. It was fun and I was loving every minute of it. Came the end of the week, I was in mid air when a loud screech screamed my full name from behind me!
I almost died as I recognised that voice. It was Sister Justine and she was mad as hell ( no pun intended ;P ).
I stopped, turned around and before I could run, she had gotten me by my ear and dragged me off to Catechism class, her angry narration lost amidst the pain in my ferociously pinched ear and my handicapped scrambling to get my school bag with some help from my co-conspirators.
Yes. I had to attend Catechism class everyday before school started and one day I was taken by the game and the co-conspirators egged me to skip it and the rest you know.
Sr Justine had a slightly raspy voice and as she lectured me and told me how disgraceful my behaviour was and God was not happy, etc... my friends looked at me with pity and I lapped that up for consolation. Hahahaha
So....I got caught and I was lectured but I was not sent to Sr Florence and was let off the hook with a warning. Yay! That evening, mum gave me a strange look and there began a flood of questions I was not expecting from her. She was beating around the bush about my week and finally, the tirade began. Sr Justine had ratted on me! And there at the dinner table, I received a second round of angry narration about being naughty and lying to God and disobedience and on and on and on.....
You see, my mum was active in the church next door and she was always helping out the nuns and we had on a few occasions, had tea or dinner with them or church events...plus my mum was old girl there and had been taught by some of these nuns, her sister also later became a teacher there for some years....so the connection was very strong. These nuns had known me even before I started schooling there!!
Hence you now know how she knew. * wink *
On a different day, we had just come out of our classroom to clean our pallettes after an art lesson. As usual we went to the 'toilets' where there was a little wash area with one tap and another tap at the wash basin. My friends and I used the wash basins and pretty soon it got a bit noisy and suddenly one pallette touched the tap and water was splashing everywhere but down! Shrieks and giggles followed and the whole place was a spectacle of little uniformed girls getting wet and happily screaming as bits of cold water hit them.
" What's going on here?! Girls!! " this stern voice cracked through the uproar, silencing every little heartbeat for a few seconds. Oh no!!! We're dead! It was Sr Florence and her eyes were even smaller!
She came bursting through the chaos, turning off the taps furiously ( the girls were in shock to do anything - hahaha ). She never really had to say much. She was that scary.
Then I heard my full name once again, this time in a controlled menacing tone partly because she knew my mum well. Sigh.... I got the worst of it as I was partly drenched by my friend's actions and I knew opening my mouth to prove my innocence was futile.
Needless to say when I got home, mum was waiting with her *rotan. Sigh....
*rotan is a malay word for cane. ;)
Do excuse my vivid recollections with these nuns as I was seven at this time but as I grew older, I was less afraid and got to understand them a little better. Now I think of them fondly as they had been very good to us, in their own ways.
God bless Sr Florence, Sr Brede, Sr Justine, Sr Stella, Sr Philomena and all the rest whose names I cannot recall but had the pleasure of knowing them. :)