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My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Maria

I'm working on the history of a venerable Catholic school in a bordering state, and I'm wondering if "Catholic girls, cute" is a viable entry. I would promise to index only those who appear to be over eighteen.

That plaid takes me back to the NYC public buses on Staten Island, and the girls who would hop on for a few stops. Back in 5th-7th grades or so. With the wonderful bus pass, you could get into the transit system all day long for a nickel. Early 1970s.

Maybe after a certain time, the uniforms were no longer so obvious, or the girls found other means of transportation.

Forty-five minutes on the bus (this is exactly what they looked like),

then about a three-quarter-mile walk through city streets (caveat emptor: this is Park Slope, but it could pass for parts of Bay Ridge; I'm lazy)

and then duck ponds and past one mean-ass rooster. In Brooklyn. (Yes, this photo is of the school I attended from 1969 to 1977. Not a thing has changed, except that little structure off to the left wasn't there.)

You know, those were definitely not the days. But this was my commute for seven years, except for the short time when Ma Czar was teaching in the South Bronx and would give us a ride to school. Teaching 13-year-old third-graders, and needing an escort to go to her car.

Not the days.

And I don't know why the Catholic girls didn't return my stares.

UPDATE: In a weird bit of synchronicity, and there's been a lot lately, one of the boldfaced folks in my Brushes with Fame took the 2010 photo of my school's duck pond.


Buzz Kill said...

Ahhhh, twelve years of Catholic School and the only thing I remember most are the plaid culottes, polyester blazer and thin, white blouses you got to see in the late spring when it got too hot for the blazers.

Something like this:


czar said...

@Buzz: Don't you wish.

moi said...

Because Catholic girls never let you know they're looking when they're looking until they have finally made up their minds about you. Either way, you're toast.

Apparently, the "days" were sometime in the late 1940s, early 1950s, according to my father, anyway. I have fond memories of early 1970–1973, but from there on out, we drove to NYC so my father could pack heat.

czar said...

@Moi: Oh, it wasn't NYC that was the problem. It was the fledgling czar. Far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't have wanted to grow up anywhere else. It was just my method of growing up that gave -- still gives -- me fits.

Too, it turns out that the pastoral setting of my school was harboring a child sex abuse situation that makes the Sandusky thing look quite small by comparison. All being laid out now . . . some 20 to 45 years later. Horrible, horrible stuff.

And the New York Times Sunday Magazine just ran a very long story of something similar at Horace Mann in those years.

Part of the backstory behind this installment of "czarist perspective."

Actually not a bad journal title. Just need to find someone to write it.

I guess Ron Paul found out that doesn't work so well sometimes.

Aunty Belle said...


Oscar Romero homage is in Combox. Unedited, written prone--be merciful.

czar said...

@Aunty: I'm trying to picture you as fourteen years old and in a plaid skirt, but I have precious little to work with.

I've visited the Back Porch. Thanks for the response.

No worries on the prose. Your unedited is still far better than my edited.