Somebody Said That It Couldn’t Be Done – A Memory From Catholic School
Every week everyone had to choose, memorize, and recite a poem in front of the class. When your turn came, you had to be prepared – the nuns didn’t tolerate anything less. There were days that I was sweating it out at my desk while I struggled with a particular line trying desperately to commit it to memory while waiting for my turn.
As much as I resisted most of the rituals I experienced in my eight years at St. Paschal’s, I have to give those nuns kudos for their teaching methods. Not only did this particular exercise teach me to appreciate poetry, and read about authors of long ago, but in an attempt to memorize a long poem, if there were words or phrases that weren’t familiar to me, it forced me to look them up. Those nuns knew exactly what they were doing!
Once I understood the word or phrase, the meaning of the poem became more clear making it easier to memorize. I was then able to inject a little emphasis and personality into it that helped me entertain some very bored classmates instead of standing up there in front of everyone, sweating like a mutha and just regurgitating words.
In sixth grade I chose a particular poem in Sister Mary Kathleen’s class that has stuck with me. I recited it often to my kids as they were growing up, and I’ve called on it repeatedly to help pull me up by my bootstraps throughout my entire life.
Some things never go out of style. I hope you find inspiration in this quirky little poem and that it gives you encouragement and determination at times you may need it, just the way it has me and still continues to…