I attended Holy Name of Jesus grammar school from first grade to the eighth. My time at H.N.S. started in the Fall of 1970, graduation was in the Spring of 1978.
In the first grade I cried on the first day of school. My mother walked me right up to my classroom. After seeing all the kids, I panicked. I wouldn’t let go of her hand. Thank God things wouldn’t be too bad after that day.
Looking back at my years in Holy Name my teachers were wonderful, except for Miss Lynn in the third grade. She was awful. I can just hear you now, telling me I shouldn’t talk about the dead. Well I am sorry, third grade was not a good experience. Miss Lynn was on my case everyday. I was jealous of my friends across the hall who had Miss Lynch for third grade – the stories they would tell me about her made me want to switch out of Miss Lynn’s class and transfer over. But those things weren’t talked about back in the day.
Fifth grade was my favorite year. Mr. Mussa was my teacher. Stop it, OK. I don’t want to hear it. Yeah, yeah, I heard all the stories about Mussa. Must tell you though, I was with him many times, guy never touched me. Mussa was a big sports fan. Football, baseball and hockey were his favorites. He coached baseball and ran the intramural football leagues at Holy Name. Mussa loved the New York Yankees. Our class Christmas party was off the hook. Mussa was sick that day – we had the sub, Mr. Verzi. Everyone was bummed, no party for us. It was all books. No fun. With about an hour left in the day, Mussa showed up, it was amazing. With him were the party goods. It turned out to be a good day.
On Wednesday afternoons the public school kids from P.S. 154’s would visit Holy Name for religious instruction. That meant we had a half day, lucky us. While I was out in the boys schoolyard getting up a few jumpers, the public school kids were learning about God. And oh yeah, I can never forget our teacher reminding us, “don’t leave anything valuable in your desk.”
In the sixth grade Holy Name went co-ed. That’s right, the nuns were keeping a close eye on us boys. Up until this year, we had two departments, girls and boys. I don’t know about the other dudes in my class but every chance I got I was checking out the ladies. Maureen Delaney and Mary Budgell were the two prettiest girls in our grade. I recall seeing Mary on Prospect Avenue a few weeks before school started.
“Who do you have?” She asked me. She was referring to my future teacher.
Seventh grade was probably the hardest academic-wise; Miss Monzillo was my teacher and boy was she beautiful. But I had a hard time concentrating. It was also the year we took the co-op. My four high schools were Power Memorial, Christ the King, LaSalle and Bishop Ford. I never talked to anyone about any of the schools. Power was my school of choice, I lasted three days. Bishop Ford was five blocks away, that’s where I should have went. I transferred to LaSalle but that lasted one month. I had zero interest in school.
In the eighth grade, after playing on the school basketball team from third grade to seventh, I was bummed; we didn’t have a team that year. No one had the time to coach us.
Overall my last year at Holy Name we had fun. Best thing was meeting my first girlfriend in the Spring of 1978; she was two years older than me. The class trip to Great Adventure was a blast. Our School Dance was memorable – after the dance we went to Felix’s restaurant down on fifth avenue. On our way back to the neighborhood we stopped in a bodega and chipped in for a six-pack.
Prospect Park here we come.
To this day, I am proud to say I attended Holy Name – it was there where I made so many friends. We played all sports. Hung out in the boys and girls schoolyards morning, noon and night. I was late for class often – this with living across the street. What can I say, I wasn’t a morning person. I do wish I was a better student.
Those were the days my friend…