Posted by: illinigirl | December 16, 2009

“Good morning little grasshoppers and sweet petunias!”

Dad requested a break from sad posts after this last one.  Well, I have one more that is unfortunately along the same vein. . . BUT it’s not quite so sad.  I promise.

My teacher in 1st and 2nd grade was Sister Mary Lois.  She had a huge impact on me as a person and as a student, even though she was my teacher at such a young age.

Some facts about Sister Mary Lois:

  • She is 90 now. . . so she was ~65 when she taught us.
  • She was a Sister of the Dominican Order.  Sisters are not “nuns” for those of you that don’t know.  Nuns live in cloisters.  🙂
  • She was VERY strict.  Maybe not as strict as the sisters who taught our parents. . . but I was a good student, and she made my cry on numerous occasions.  Some of her methods would probably not be the most accepted today (while not physical, scary as all-get-out!). . . like “I’M GONNA SHAKE THE SHOES OFF OF YOU!” . . . but mostly, you only needed “the look”. . . She also talked about a “spanking machine” she had.  She also said she was going to get out her “checkered apron”. . . and this was very bad.  None of us really knew what that meant, but it sparked fear when mentioned.
  • This strict start to school and discipline is probably the biggest way she touched my life.  Not accepting responsibility or taking the easy way out was NOT an option.  This stayed with me as a student, and I honestly think she’s a big part of that with the foundation she started.
  • *EVERY* morning, we would say a Hail Mary, a daily prayer, and the pledge. . . then we would turn around and say, “GOOOOOOD MORNIIIIIIIIING SIIIIIIIIIISTER!”. . . and EVERY time, she would respond, “Good morning little grasshoppers and sweet petunias!”
  • Whenever anyone entered the room, we would have to say, “Gooooood morniiiiiiing, Mrs. xyz”, “Good afternooooooon Mrs. xyz”. . . Our principal, Sr. Margaret Joanne, was not a fan of the sing-songy greeting that would drag on, and would try to have us all say in unison, “Good morning, Sister” to greet her.  It NEVER worked.
  • We were in a small class. . . ~12 in each grade. . . but she didn’t let us sign our papers without last names.  She would always say, “Who completed this worksheet?  Joey Tomato?  Jennifer Applesauce?”
  • We said a decade of the rosary every day after lunch.  It was really cool when it was your day to say it. . . and it was practically a competition to see how fast you could say it.  Everyone received rosaries as gifts for birthdays.  I will never forget when our friend Danielle got a rosary on her birthday.  She called her mom Jeanne after school at work and asked if she wanted to hear the rosary.  Jeanne was trying to say no and that she didn’t have time right now. . . but Danielle started rattling away and had it finished in a few minutes!  🙂
  • I remember her chasing after us with a yardstick one day and tapping it around on the floor around us.  So funny.
  • I remember her teaching us how to sound things out to read!
  • Sister did not tolerate talking when we were supposed to be working.  Our classroom was fairly quiet. . . which set the tone for much of school.  When I started volunteering n elementary schools later, I couldn’t believe the contrast of noise in classrooms.  Sister would have thrown a fit!  When we had field trips, she would always say that if we were really quiet, we would get to go back.  I remember one trip, we got to eat at McDonalds afterwards.  She said afterwards, “This was a feather in the cap of our school!  They said we were the best students to ever eat there!  They want us to come back!”  🙂
  • Sister had perfect handwriting.  Perfect!
  • I can still recite all kinds of prayers that we don’t commonly say in a Mass from being in her class. . . “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. . . Our life, our sweetness, and our hope. . . “. . . “Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. . . ” etc, etc, etc.  Amazing that I still remember them, but it’s because of her!

I am probably forgetting plenty of stuff!

Sister passed away last weekend. . . I haven’t seen her in years, but it was still a sad thing. . . because it seems like Sister was just a constant who should be around forever!

God bless you, Sister for your dedication to such a difficult vocation of dealing with us little troublemakers (some more than others).  😉 . . . You will be missed, but I expect you’ll be looking in on us from Heaven!



  1. I am amazed at all you remember from so long ago. I forgot how much fun those times were! Thanks for the walk down memory lane. My brother is still terrorized by her in his dreams! LOL. She is missed by many but I feel much better knowing we have someone like her watching over us!

  2. Awwwwww!!! I forgot half of those things! Like Emily said, Thank You for reminding me of all of that. She was the sweetest in her tough love kinda way and it worked for her. I almost started crying when I heard she passed away. She was one of my favorite teachers and she will be missed. And you are right, I’m sure she is looking down on us and making sure all of her little grasshoppers and petunias are watched over. Great post Han!!

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