Teasing the Memory


Poloroid Shot of Mike Slickster and Best Bud Bob in the kitchen of the house on Maple Avenue

From my thinking about a Social Media chat I’ve been having on Facebook, the topic for this week’s journal entry has to do with memory, thanking my lucky stars mine hasn’t faded too much, except for trying to remember where I last put my car keys occasionally, and misplacing my wallet from time to time.

On that aforementioned conversation, my friend remarked about her surprise that I still remembered some locales in East Tennessee, where a wonderful part of life during my younger years was spent. We had been talking about a bald eagles’ nest at Boone Lake near Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville.

Last Novemeber, a weekly post here dealt with brain exercises and mental health, in which short remembrances of all my teachers from elementary school found their way onto the essay.

The parochial school I attended from fifth grade through eighth included the happiest times throughout all of my schooling, save for the period at East Tennessee State University, where I had a blast for the five years spent there.

Another past entry regarded my discovery that the grammar school just cited had closed down and turned into a charter school, which broke my heart to discover.

Assuming the reason for its closing was due to the parish’s not being able to support the venerable institution, I went on an Internet search to find out if my presumption was correct, and found that Holy Trinity had shut down due to meager enrollment as the main cause.

During my perusals. a bulletin-board-style Web site, dedicated to my hometown of Hackensack, NJ, turned up with many stories of great interest to me, especially those about my beloved grammar school, which caused me to tease my memory for posting a few tidbits after joining.

Here’s what I contributed to a string of posts asking for the names of the nuns and teachers at the elementary school during  the period I attended:

Hello to the group,

I lived on Maple Avenue from the fifth grade through my freshman year in high school (Paramus Catholic), having graduated from Holy Trinity.  Sister Emily and Sister Maria Agnes were the eighth-grade teachers. The principal was Sister Cecilia de Paul after Sr. Louise’s tenure. I can’t remember if Sr. Louise had died or retired.

Sister Margaret de Paul (not sure if she was related to Sr. Cecilia) and Mrs. Fiore were the seventh-grade teachers; Sister Margaret Fidelis was my sixth-grade instructor (think Mrs. Frascas was the other sixth-grade teacher). Mrs. Moran and Sister Gerard taught the fifth grades.

Thanks for the previous photos on the board. Brought me back to when Sister Gerard grabbed me by the collar and spun me around a few times in the hallway, my landing supine on the second floor after being caught talking in line on the way back to Mrs. Moran’s classroom from lunch. The nun was a small woman to boot.

The boys-room photo stirred a memory of my having a fist fight with a classmate in there during the fifth grade, being broken up by Sister Juliana, who was teaching fourth grade next door at the time. She just walked right in, as they all did.

We were sent down to Sister Louise, the aforementioned principal, who smacked us both across the face at once, twice like Moe of The Three Stooges would do to his cohorts, Larry and Curly.

My main reason for registering with this forum and writing this was to make a comment about the teenager with cerebral palsy on the large tricycle, who hung around during lunchtime and watched the kids play. Someone had asked if anyone had information about him.

His name was David, and he lived directly across from the playground-parking lot, which was two houses southeast from where I resided.  I would talk to him whenever he pedaled past me on the sidewalk. Although Dave was unable to speak words, he communicated with grunts and always with a smile, happy to get attention, I suppose.

Someone had mentioned the church organist was his mother. That’s incorrect.  From being an altar boy, I remember the organist was a handicapped gentleman, crippled, who was carried up the narrow, winding stairs to the choir loft by his wife, who sang hymns to his accompaniment.

I can’t remember their names, unfortunately. If I think hard enough, maybe it will come back to me. I want to say it’s Mr. and Mrs. Donnelly on second thought.

I ran across this forum from looking up on Yahoo about Holy Trinity School, and why it had closed down, reminiscing today about my hometown where I was born. A few years ago, I visited Hackensack, doing a photo-shoot of the N.Y.C. skyline, passing through and hadn’t been there in decades.

My home is now outside of Philadelphia, in a section of Bensalem Township called “Andalusia.” Driving through my old neighborhood, I noticed the school was now a charter school, breaking my heart; but figured the parish couldn’t afford upkeep any longer, as has been the case with many Catholic schools of late.

I found a few articles about how Holy Trinity incorporated with St. Francis School on the south side of town in 2009, as they were having financial problems, both being housed in the latter’s building, for recent renovations had been performed.

Then I read the combo-school, renamed “Padre Pio Academy,” had been closed down by the archdiocese four years later (2013) for financial reasons and low enrollment as well. Too bad.

In my Internet search, a listed obituary noted my favorite priest from Holy Trinity, Father Gene Hazewski, had died last May. We’d play basketball with him in the school gym, or stick ball in the parking lot. I loved to serve Mass for him, as he went through the ceremony faster than the rest: Fr. Geila (sp?), Fr. Laing, Msgr. Murphy—who retired before I graduated HTS, and was responsible for building the new school—and Fr. DeDominico (the slowest of the bunch). Fr. Laing had baptized me as well.

On a pleasant note, I found this heartwarming article: stating that Sister Emily was still alive as of 2014, hoping now she’s still with us.

The follow is a scan of my eighth-grade class’ graduation collage. Hopefully the rest on the photo don’t mind my posting it here:


After Maple Avenue, my dad and I moved to Elm Avenue in the Fairmount section of the city, living there until I graduated from high school.

Thanks for the memories.



I removed all the names on the above photo to protect my classmates’ privacy, and also changed the year of our graduating class. Most know already I’m an old fart, but I didn’t want to admit to being a Triassic.

Allow me to conclude this essay with my latest cover written and originally recorded by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band:

Thanks for reading, listening, and for your continued support.

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at Lulu.com.
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