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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Old School Song

With the new school year, I've been thinking of my old HS. It was a progressive school, originally an experiment in ecumenicalism between the Catholics and Protestants, on Staten Island. The building was a former Franciscan Friary and Nunnery, and we had nuns and priests still as well as lay teachers and student teachers. So much of my life was influenced by that school that I value good schooling for all, though I raised no children by birth.

Recently I've had the real pleasure of watching both "Goodbye, Mr Chips" and "Tom Brown's School Days". The old originals, not the remakes. Both put me in mind of school songs. We did a lot of singing in HS; at chapel, during school meetings, and in the community too. In my graduating year we visited nursing homes and sang to the residents. Though I considered it a pain in the ass at the time, I realize what a good thing that was to do and what those teachers, Marie Pappas and Rita Larsen Kurtz, were fostering in us. Good teachers, we had. Very good teachers.

One of the songs I remember very well was one we never sang anywhere but amongst ourselves. In fact, a sschoolmate, Leopold Zappler, and I composed it. Here now, is what I consider my school song:

I saw Rev. Belcher walking down the street
His mask it was a face of gray depair.
And though I'd often seen him traverse before there,
Something was missing.
It was his pubic hair.

Poor Rev. Belcher. Poor, poor Rev. Belcher,
He now felt so naked to the cold.
They say he wore a muffler wrapped up in his crotch
and his bush into a wig it had been wove.

Here's to higher education.

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