Sister Isabella’s Gas Chamber
Catholic School Confessions – Part 3
By John Ceccon
Suggested reading –
It all started with a harmless lil box of stink bombs with a cute lil skunk on the front. I’ll never forgive Elizabeth Lopes for ratting me out either.
After being released from my one year prison term with Sister Simeon, my first grade teacher, I was turned over to the custody of Sister Isabella, my second grade abuser at Cathedral Grammar school. Where Sister Simeon was a master of violence against small children, Sister Isabella’s area of expertise was what the military and CIA would call psyops, or psychological warfare. I don’t remember her actually hitting me with her hand or foreign object, possibly because I’ve blocked most of it out as victims of child abuse often do. Other than being dragged around the classroom by my ear, Sister Isabella’s fury usually came in the form of words turned into weapons and other types of non-physical abuse. Yes, words can be used as weapons and this monster was a master of demeaning vocabulary. Can you guess what happens when you tell an 8 year old kid that they will never amount to anything over and over – and that was just the tip of the iceberg.
I was out enjoying recess one day, running around, hanging with my friends, and doing what ever kids do. I loved recess because it allowed me to get away from Sister Isabella for 10 or 15 minutes. Keep in mind that this was back in the days of one teacher per classroom. Back then, we didn’t have different teachers for each subject, we were stuck with her all day. Makes you wonder what kind of qualifications these nuns had as teachers of all subjects.
I remember showing my friend Harold, a box of stink bombs that I got from the five & dime store. You may have seen them. It was a small box with a picture of a cute lil skunk on the front. Inside, there were 3 small ampouls’s filled with hydrogen sulfide which, when broken, smells like rotten eggs. BTW, you can still get these things, although the skunk has been replaced with a man pinching his nose. Now, keep in mind, I was just showing them to Harold when Elizabeth “The Rat” Lopes came over and wanted to see them too. Little did I know that she ran right over to Herr Isabella and ratted me out. I had not used them, or even taken them out of the box. My only crime was taking them to school so I could show them to my friends. I showed them to a few kids, put them back in my pocket and continued enjoying my recess period.
Recess ended and as we were filing back into the school someone from behind grabbed my right ear, it was Sister Isabella. She commanded, “come with me, mister”, and then proceeded to march me up a the stairs into the classroom…………by my ear. She had me wait by her desk until all the kids were seated so she could engage in one of her favorite forms of mind control – humiliating us in front of the class. She instructed me to empty my pockets onto her desk, which I did. I knew right away that this wasn’t going to end well because once the stink bombs came out, I was once again led away by my ear to a broom closet in the back of the classroom. “Don’t move”, she ordered as opened the door to the broom closet. Inside the closet was a small metal trash can and a few brooms. She emptied the three ampouls into the trash can and then grabbed one of the brooms. Like a Samurai wielding some type of martial arts weapon, Sister Isabella twirled the broom around and used the end of it to break all 3 of the ampouls that sat on the bottom of the trash can. She pushed the trash can back in the closet with her foot and then shoved me in as well. The door was slammed shut behind me with a wall rattling thud and, through the door, she informed me that she was very cross with me and that I could come out after I had time to think about what I had done.
Well, I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. That child endangerment felony happened 52 years ago. Obviously, I’ve never forgotten it.
Copyright John Ceccon 2017. All rights reserved.