Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Communion Boys, Sister Bianca And The Infamous Laura Blais ...

This is a photo of an Immaculate Conception First Communion Class. These handsome boys graduated from High School as the Class of 1971. My friend, Jeff Thronson, who is in the back row with only part of his face showing, sent this to me. It's a wonderful subject, but a bad line up. Jeff is trying hard to show up in the photo, bless his little Catholic heart : ) My brother, Randy, is four heads to his left ... the one standing the tallest, holding his candle the straightest, and his little hands are clutching that Bible like ... well ... I just don't know. Really, I do, but I'm not going to say it.

There are so many funny things going on in this photo. But I have to tell you about Laura Blais, on the left. Don't let the smile fool you. She's dead and gone now so I'm going to put it out there. Laura Blais was our Abusive Gym Teacher, and I feared her more than I feared Sister Nancy. And that was big time fear.

As you can see in the photo, Laura Blais was not a physically fit person. She was a torture chamber on two feet and she had all of the equipment at her disposal, necessary to scare the shit out of any child. And the things she expected of us ... Good Lord!

We went to the gym, several classes at once, boys and girls. There was a trampoline, a balance beam, uneven bars, and one of those leather buck things. And this was not about fun. Laura Blais never really explained or had demonstrations on technique or how not to hurt yourself. She merely lined us up, blew the whistle she wore around her neck, and said "Go".

And if you didn't run, grab the high bar and mount those unevens, swing your legs up on the low bar, extend your right leg, bounce it three times to gain the momentum to do a backward summersault over the high bar, and dismount, standing, you got your ear torn off of your head in front of 50 of your closest friends. Thank you, Mrs. Blais. I now have a Black Belt in Therapy.

Left to right, front row to back: ___ Remily, Ken Mernaugh, Russell Lampy, Lee Fortin, Steve Reifenberger, Tim Brist, Not Sure, Tim (?) Fox, Rodney Lindner, Chuck Schucard, Maurice Woolven, Jim Majusiak, Bob Mooney, Gary Cordell, Laura Blais, Melvin Reichling, Mike Sears, Randy Brandriet, Rodney Mack, John Larson, Ross Kranz, Jeff Thronson, Steve Sears, Dan Leddy, Mike O'Hara, Ron Brandriet (my cousin), Joe Wagner, Terry Murphy, Roger Schwanke, John Richter, and Sister Bianca.


  1. Love the pic and the story...."torture chamber on 2 legs". Too funny.
    I bet she was just a miserable person in her life to take such pleasure in putting down and hurting kids. Yuck.

  2. I love this post..... you could write a short story based on this photograph and these people alone, Laurie! You should do so!

  3. Your description of the gym teacher reminds me of Miss Trunchpull in the movie "Matilda." If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman are priceless in it.

  4. There's a special hell for every P.E. teacher I ever had. I was mercifully made to run extra laps because I came in dead last on every race. At my High School reunion one of the coaches stepped up and said "you were always last!" and I looked him in the eye and said "yes, and I found out at 19 that I had severely malformed hip joints and that's why".
    I wish you could have seen his face.
    So I do SO get your torture chamber on 2 legs!!