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  • When I was approaching school age (I hadn’t gone to Kindergarten. Kindergarten, after all, was in the Public School – we went to Catholic School), Uncle George teased me about my coming “enrollment” in school. I was curious about this enrollment. Uncle George made it sound like a big deal. He kidded me about it. I know now that he was amused that I took the word “enrollment”, a word I was unfamiliar with, to be the word “rolled”. I ended up being very apprehensive about that enrollment. He seemed to be so amused that I was to be enrolled. I believed that I was somehow to be “rolled” up the flight of stone steps in front of St. Raphael’s school on Chislett Street. I couldn’t quite understand how that could turn out very well!

    I was a fearful child, always fearful of the unknown. My anticipation of a painful experience that first day of school, an experience I couldn’t quite comprehend, was frightening! I could understand how one could be rolled down a flight of stairs. I couldn’t understand how you’d be “enrolled” up a flight of stairs.

    When the day came, I was really apprehensive. The actual event was quite a let-down! We simply walked up the steps into the school building! We were not “rolled” nor were we “enrolled”. We simply walked up the steps, went in and sat down in a classroom.

    Incidentally, one of my first grade experiences was one all of my siblings experienced. We had to take a census form home to have our parents complete. It asked for the birthplace of both parents as well as of the child. My Dad said the same thing each time. He had been born in Birmingham, England, but we had to make certain the sister understood he was Irish, not English. His parents were just in England temporarily while awaiting the opportunity to come over to America. (Actually, they were married in England and had 8 children there before immigrating to America!)

    Dad’s father was already an American Citizen, having been born in America, but he never revealed that to us. Actually, he could have claimed a dual citizenship, born of an American citizen, but born in England.
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