I was taken back to my early childhood by this word. My first school was actually within a convent and we were taught by nuns. Even all these years later, I can conjure up the feel and smell of the nun’s habit. When they walked, it was a floating motion with only an odd glimpse of sturdy black shoes underneath. We never saw what color a nun’s hair was as it was tucked into their coif. Most of the time they wore black habits with white coifs but if they were working on the farm, it would be grey habits. Yes, there was a farm in the grounds where the nun’s grew vegetables and kept cows and goats. As children we never questioned seeing several nun’s herding the cows!
My convent school was called St. Finians. My time there is a precious memory. I always felt loved and cared for by the nun’s. Mother Superior could be scary, though. If we made too much noise coming down the stairs, she would tap her ring on the brass hand rail. The sound would go from the top to the bottom of the circular staircase instantly. Of course, I had my favorite’s and when one was sent to Africa I cried all night.
This is the church, where we held assembly. The scent of incense is another memory trigger. When the nun’s sang their voices filled this massive building.
When my parents told me I was going to a new school at the age of 11, I cried and pleaded constantly for three days. I wanted to stay at St. Finians – forever! My next school was an Elizabethan mansion converted into a school with a huge modern building in the grounds. It was certainly a culture shock for me.