This is an early photo of the academy which was built in 1904 and closed in 1970 due to financial difficulties and a shortage of sisters. I am sure that there are more recent photos but I only had this from a post card. When I was in school it looked mostly the same except they had built a wrought iron fence around the playground which was all black top and the trees were much larger. I don't know why in the world they would have blacktop because I came home with many a skinned knee from falling while playing. The playground was around back from this photo and consisted of a swing set and a baseball diamond. The rest was just open for games and such. I do remember a tether ball but I also remember walking around looking in the windows to the basement where the the kitchen and laundry was done by a very old sister whom we rarely saw. It was off limits so we were always very curious. There was a library down there and a lunch room. Hot lunches were not served so we took cold lunches except for the occasional hot sloppy joe fund raisers the high school would put on in the church basement. We always felt this was such a special treat. I used to envy the children who had bologna sandwiches because my mother would never buy this. Instead we had tuna, peanut butter, egg salad, deviled ham or even worse, SPAM. Yuk! If you asked any one of my six siblings what food they hate the most from childhood the word Spam always is the prize winner. Now I would never have bologna...gross. Grass is always greener.
Here are the main doors to the school. However, I don't ever remember going in these doors. Usually we went up a flight of steps on the side of the building and into the main hallway. At the back of this hall were small music practice rooms where kids could practice piano. We had a piano at home so the only time I was ever in here was when my friend practiced occasionally. I took piano lessons for three years from a mean grumpy Sister Foster or Faustina (I can't remember her name exactly). She was not a very patient woman and used to smack my knuckles with a huge wooden pencil (those souveniers you used be able to buy for each city) for letting my wrists sag while playing. My parents could not afford piano lessons at that time so I worked in the library in the basement to pay for the lessons. Oh how mortified I was but now realize that I was taught a very good lesson about working for something worthwhile.
I disliked my music teacher as you can imagine but I liked playing the piano. One day I had a little gas problem and on this day she was very mean and yelled at me about something I played wrong. Well the silent killer emerged and she choked her way out of the room all the while telling me to practice and she would be back. But before she left she opened the window a couple of inches. I just smiled and played and played until my lesson was up. Revenge was
The school was a boarding school for women before my days there. I remember walking up and down the halls looking at all of the photos of past graduates and the dates of graduations. I wish I had some of those pictures because the clothing was so amazing over the years. The above hallway was on the second floor where the high school classrooms were. You could only walk part way to double doors that were always kept closed. Behind these doors were the "mysterious nuns private rooms". Oh how curious I was to see what it was like. There was a third floor where an old gymnasium and bathrooms as well as bedrooms for the borders were. During my school years this was not used except for storage because it was not structurally safe. Each classroom had a storage room with extra books and such and my fifth grade teacher would send me up there along with my best friend, Carol, to put books away or bring something back and we would sneak around and look at all the rooms and the old bathrooms. We felt we were doing something so bad and mysterious because there was a walkway that had frosted glass windows that jutted out over the playground and to get to the rooms we had to sneak across there. I'm sure our teacher or others knew what we were up to but never let on. Bad girls we were.
This is Sister Rose De Lima who was my fourth grade teacher. She was a fantastic artist and taught many, many children private art lessons. I remember her as a kind lady and she was in Baker for a very long time. She always remembered me as an adult when I would see her in the grocery store.
Here is my sixth grade class picture, the very last year the school was open. The majority of us went on to middle school in the public school system which was about all that was available. I am fourth from the right in the middle row. This teacher, Sister Kathleen Anne was one of my very favorite teachers. She called our class the three B's....the biggest, the best and the brightest.