Tuesday, October 21, 2014

High School Confidential

High school.

 I bet everyone who reads this is someone who has gone, or is going, to high school.

 I went to high school at Sacred Heart Academy, in Hamden, Connecticut, which was, and is, a girls' school.  I graduated in 1967.  

Here I am, in my high school yearbook, in all the loveliness of  my loveliness.  I was 16, soon to be 17, when this photo was taken.

My sister Linda went there too, graduating in 1957.  Linda went on to become a member of the order of sisters who run the school, who were at that time called the Missionary Zelatrices of the Sacred Heart.

Have you ever heard of a zelatrice?  I've never heard the word in any other context.  My best educated guess is that a zelatrice is a female zealot.  The word comes from the Italian:  the Zelatrices (who have since changed their name to the Apostles of the Sacred Heart) were founded by an Italian woman, Mother Clelia Merloni:

Mother Clelia is said to have wrestled with the devil in her stateroom on her voyage from Italy to the United States.  In honor of Mother Clelia, the high school yearbook is called the Clelian, and the school gym/auditorium is called Clelian Hall.

Under Mother Clelia's leadership, the order was able to construct its foothold in the United States, buying an estate called Cherry Hill, in Hamden, and erecting their Provincial House there:

This  provincial house, so-called because it's the home of the Apostles' United States presence, is where my sister Linda went when she joined the convent.  My high school, Sacred Heart Academy, wasn't even built yet when this photo was taken.

Here's what it looks like now.  Sacred Heart Academy is the building on the right, and the provincial house, where the nuns live, is on the left.  See the right hand window in the top row?  That was where I studied chemistry with Sister Imelda. 

While I was in Sr. Imelda's chemistry class, from time to time, my boyfriend Kevin would drive up to the school in his Mustang, drive around the circular driveway just under the windows (you can't see it in the photo), throw out a cherry bomb (POW!), and speed away.  Yeah.  That made my day.

Yesterday, October 20,2014, I was invited back to Sacred Heart to speak to a mixed media art class about my art.  

Here's the art room before the girls showed up:
I brought several of my completed art pieces, and some hands-on supplies, like felting equipment.  I talked about myself and my journey as an artist, and I showed them some techniques.  They especially took to the felting. I'm sorry I didn't take a photo of the girls experimenting with my wool carders and needle felting.  Here's a felted piece that one of the girls created while I was talking:

This girl, whose name I did not catch, but who is on the right in the photo below, gave me this piece to take home and remember her by:

The girls liked the felting so much that their teacher, Teresa Delvecchio, decided that they would do a fiber project--possibly needle felting?--next on their agenda.  How about that?

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