When dad was away, mom would get us tucked into bed and she'd sit in the hallway and recite the rosary. With all the lights out and the soft, drifting sound of her voice, I doubt that I ever stayed awake through the first decade. But I know that doesn't matter. What does matter is that she was creating a loving and spiritual environment for us.
My next recollection is around the fifth grade at St. Bernard's Catholic School in Dallas, Texas. St. Bernard's was a lovely old school but, at the time, it had one major flaw: no air conditioning! If you've spent any time in Texas you know that its imperative to have an air conditioner about nine months out of the year.
Everyday we would eat lunch and have a short recess. Then we would file into Sr. Cresentia's classroom; short of breath and bellies full. The perfect time for the recitation of the daily rosary. Sister would begin and move the prayer up and down the rows with each child waiting for a turn to recite the next Hail Mary. And since there was no air conditioning, large oscillating fans hung over our heads. Gently lulled by the fan motors and the cool breeze sweeping across my face, I remember fighting to stay awake for my turn. It was miserable. How I longed for her to skip over me so I could fall into a state of half consciousness.Now it is one of my favorite memories of Catholic school. I can't explain it, but I can see it and feel it like it was yesterday. And it is even more vivid when I am near an oscillating fan.