Two things stand out about the first day of school at St. Ignatius Loyola. First, there was a torrential rain storm that day, not that we got very wet mind you. Most of us were wearing the ridiculous yellow raincoats with pull over hoods that you may have seen in retro-60's movies. As such, we looked like some sort of a Munchkin Army when we were herded off the school buses and marched into Sister Margaret Claire's classroom. We were given basic instructions, taught the Hail Mary and the Star Spangled banner and probably our ABC's (repeat after me, Up to the ceiling, down to the floor...left to the window and right to the door). All of this took place in about the first fifteen minutes, as I recall. Then the fun began.
Sister announced that we were going to the "Lavatory". Now, I assure you, she was the only one in the room who had that word in her vocabulary. Everyone else heard it as "Laboratory" and started to conjure up visions of a monster on a slab with electrodes attached to its head. That was the only kind of a laboratory any of us had ever seen (thanks to Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein). And 8 years later that was still the only kind of laboratory that any of us had ever seen thanks to the negligible emphasis that Catholic schools placed on Science. So we arrived at the Boys Room 5 minutes later and got our next surprise. A few students may have seen a public restroom before but I know I never had. Nor had David Cahill. He was the first to discover the floor length urinals which, coincidentally, were just about the height of a first grader. He promptly stepped inside one, reached over his head and was just about to pull the handle when one of his more worldly classmates advised him that it was not a shower. There but for the grace of God went Clancy.