Neo-Neocon’s Romeo and Juliet post reminded me of when I was in school.
I went to an all-girls Catholic school in Puerto Rico, run by Vincentine nuns. When I first started at that school the nuns used to wear Flying Nun hats
but the school was located in Santurce, not San Tanco. The nuns were addressed as Sor (Sister), and unlike other orders, kept their original names. I never saw any of them take flight but they were notoriously bad drivers. The only people taking flight were those who got in their way.
The nuns wore their flying hats which they later changed to regular veils, probably to save on starch, and made us wear the ugliest possible uniform and Bass penny loafers. In the lower grades we had to wear lace-up oxfords, uglier yet.
Being first short and skinny and later tall and skinny, I looked like a pale stick for all my school years – I looked awful in that thing. Have you ever had a nightmare where you show up naked at an important event? I have had nightmares where I show up wearing my old school uniform.
After I left school I have never purchased a pair of Bass penny loafers, either.
Being in that school for eleven years accounts for a lot of my ideosyncracies. One of the better ones is my love of movies.
A few blocks away from my school, El Metro (as in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, not underground/subway metro), the most modern cinema in the area, was located. The nuns took us on field trips to watch nun-approved movies.
I remember the time that we walked from the school to El Metro to see the re-release of Ben Hur. By the time we got to our seats I ended up in the next-to-last seat in my row, and much to my chagrin Sor C.G. (whose name I withold in case she ever reads this) sat next to me after everybody else was seated. Sor C.G. was one of the weirder nuns in the large gaggle of weird nuns from that convent. Well, Ben Hur got rowing,
and Charlton Heston was looking Pretty Damn Good shackled at the oars, when much to my surprise Sor C.G. let out a deep deep sigh.
I wonder if she ever told that one in confession.
But back to Romeo and Juliet.
Ever-watchful for our virtue, one good day the school principal, Sor P. (name withheld to protect the guilty, again), came to our classroom during religion class. If memory serves me right, Sor C.G. was the religion teacher that year. Sor P. sat “inconspicuosly” in the rear of the classrom and at a strategic point in the class formally announced that none us girls should see Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet.
Discreet glances were exchanged among us girls, and I for one made a mental note to go see Romeo and Juliet right away.
Sor P. went from classroom to classroom making the same announcement.
The next day must have been either a Saturday or one of the many holidays they have in Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico and France must be tied for record number of paid holidays), because four of my friends and I walked to the movie theater and saw Romeo and Juliet. All of our mothers, who had not seen the movie, approved of the excursion and some might have even been pleased at our sudden interest in high culture.
By the time our mothers caught on to the fact that R&J had a nude scene we’d seen the movie at least twice.
My friends and I loved the movie. We all let our hair grow to Juliet lengths (I had nearly-waist-long hair for all of my teens), and danced with jingle bells on our wrists. Stores started carrying dresses with Juliet sleeves and we talked our moms into buying them for us. I memorized the theme music and can still play it on the piano.
Romeo and Juliet was a huge success at El Metro and played for long enough that my friends and I memorized the dialogue.
Zefferelli should have sent the nuns a thank-you note.
A few years later my first boyfriend (one of the guys that didn’t want me to wear eyeglasses in his presence) quoted
let lips do what hands do,
I dropped him because of that.
After I started at the University of Puerto Rico I ran into him and his then-girlfriend.
He had her convinced that the poetry he quoted was his.
Dr. Sanity, the other member of the Sanity Squad I’ve met in person, has the Carnival: