The transformative power of education and great teachers.
Sister Mary Vincent IHM, my grade 6 teacher and the principal of the school, called me into her office once. She said sadly to me, “I hear you told a dirty joke.” Caught, I admitted yes, Sister, I did. She asked “What was the joke?” Puzzled, I innocently replied, “Well, Sister, which one?” She was shocked: “So there’s been more than one!” For my penance, she had me read four books about the saints as little boys. The nuns expected us to grow up to be saints. I am by no means a saint. I did learn we each need to do what we can to save our own soul.
Monsignor Joseph Truxaw served as pastor of the Church from 1935 to 1972. Sister Mary Vincent IHM was principal and our grade 6 teacher in 1963-64. A young nun, Sister Joan Marie IHM, taught us in the afternoons. Sister Zita IHM was our grade 5 teacher in 1962-63. She taught us cursive longhand. She was strict and demanding. Mrs. Reynolds was our grade 4 teacher 1961-62. My mother paid $7.50 monthly tuition each for my sister and I to attend the school.
Historian Kevin Starr writes covers the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and their relationship to Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, in his book Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance 1950-63 (2009).