Out of curiosity I looked on the Internet to see if Marywood is still there. It is, but it is presently The Evanston Civic Center, no longer a Catholic boarding school. It is registered under the National Historic Society. It was built in 1900 and was an all girls academy for seventy years, from 1915 to 1985 when it closed. I was there from 1958 until 1961
The three years at Marywood were the most enjoyable years I had in school. The nuns were nice and it was such a relief to be there after my four years at Holy Names! The ninth grade was good for me too because that year I got to stay with my sister and brothers quite a bit in their apartment.
Each Semester we would have a different roommate. That way we had the opportunity to experience living with a variety of different personalities. The nuns were the most lenient I had had so far. We were allowed to fix our hair in any style we chose. We would change into regular clothes after school which helped us obtain our own individualities.
We were allowed to use some make-up, but not a lot. After classes we were allowed to walk to the nearby shops and soda fountains without supervision. Our rooms were our own to decorate as we pleased, and the inspections were not nearly as harsh. We were even allowed to have a typewriter, radio and a TV in our rooms. I was happier than I had been in a long time.
The only thing I can remember not liking was the fact that the nuns opened and read our incoming mail before giving it to us. They did not read our outgoing mail, which both other schools had done. The reading of our incoming mail would prove to be my undoing. I ended up getting in big trouble because of it (which I will talk about later).
In my sophomore year, I even had a male teacher for the first time in my life! His name was Aubrey Serewitz. He was a very intelligent rather nerdy type. He wore thick glasses and had a ruddy complexion. He was diligently dedicated to Math, Physics and Chemistry. I believe they were the cornerstone of his life. He lived with his mother and he would take the bus to school each day.
My strongest subjects were the ones he taught, and I especially always loved math. It came easy to me and I truly enjoyed the challenge of solving problems. I was his star Geometry student. Once he gave us a problem from our Geometry book to solve for extra credit. I was the only one that solved it. He informed the class that everyone who couldn’t solve it was right….and I was wrong. He explained that there was not enough information given to enable anyone to solve it.
I insisted that I had solved it! It had taken me a long time and my solution was very long with dozens of steps. He decided to write the steps I had taken on the blackboard so the class could figure out where I went wrong. After close analysis of my work, it turned out that I had, indeed, solved the problem! He was ecstatic! He immediately planned to submit my solution to the publishers of the book. As a result, they had to make a correction in the next edition of the book. I received some kind of award but I can’t remember what it was. It was probably a certificate or something similar.
In my junior year he was my teacher for Physics and Chemistry. Since he was the only man I had ever known, I developed a mad crush on him. The poor fellow didn’t know how to handle it. I flirted with him, and it was my goal to try to get him sexually aroused (which I think I did). Being his student he couldn’t dare flirt with me. He did however start coming to the school on week-ends occasionally to play tennis with me. He would wear short shorts which made him look quite comical. I made the poor guy a nervous wreck! I really don’t think any female had ever come on to him before. Naturally, nothing came of it but I’m sure he never forgot me!
Also, in my junior year, I began to change, physically. I lost a bunch of weight by going on a diet where you took lots of pills all day long, most of them chewable pills. They were called “Regimen Tablets” and Jackie Gleason was pushing them on TV. I believe he owned the company that produced the product. It was the fad diet of the year. Either it was the pills, or the fact that I was mentally ready to start making an effort to look more attractive. I started paying more attention to my hair, clothes, make-up and of course, my weight. Perhaps it was my “crush “on Mr. Serewitz that got me started, I’m not sure. It probably was just the normal age when girls start feeling like they are becoming women. So began my transition.