We did a lot of singing at St Gabriel's
, in every grade. When I was in the third grade a Sister asked me to join the choir
. She also asked two others in the class, Robert Letters and Danny Cristman
. The choir
sang at the Sunday
High Mass and I cannot remember whether it was at eight or at ten. There was a practice every two weeks on Thursday at six in the evening. The twenty members were comprised from grades three to eight
The three of us were front and center in the choir
loft, Danny to my left and Robert to my right. As far as the three of us were concerned it was no big deal, just something we were asked to do. From all the accolades we received
we must have been pretty good. Sister mentioned that the collection was larger when we sang, it must have made Father Burke very happy.
After about a year in the choir
there came a day when Sister was cocking her head to hear the three of us sing. She would ask one of us to stop while the other two continued. We all had a turn at this, I had no idea what she was listening for. Liking to play in Bennett school ground
I began to skip practice. It did not seem to be a big deal because others were often missing.
It was after one of the practices that Danny
asked me to go over to his house to play. He lived it the corner house on Whittaker next to the Bennett
schoolyard. Danny was an only child and had lots of toys. It was he that introduced me to comic books. He also had Lincoln
Logs and lead soldiers, it was fun to be with him. His Mother would come into the room to check on us. I was always struck at how thin she was and her skin was yellow. I later found out she had yellow jaundice. She died when we were in the fourth grade and the choir
sang at her funeral. Shortly after that Danny and his father moved away.
Robert and I became closer, he always had some funny stories to tell, and he made me laugh a lot. One day after school he taught me to shoot craps. I cleaned him out at first but after I loaned him some money so we could continue to play, he won all I had. A lesson learned.
Sister, who was the choir
director, announced that she had received a large donation for the choir
. She decided to have a picnic at Belle Isle for the choir
. We went out on a bus with four Nuns to oversee the picnic. Robert Letters did not go but a Nun had asked Robert Ingrum
, who was in my class, (and to me he was a suck-up) and I did not like him. The whole thing was a disaster. The Nuns had brought a bat and softball but did not understand how to lay out a field. Only a few members could actually hold a bat, all very boring. The Bennett school ground
players were pros compared to this group. There was a small rain shower and it broke everything up. We quickly ate the lunch that was brought while sitting on wet benches. Shortly after that it was over and we went home. The semester ended and the choir
director did not come back next September. The choir
did not meet again.