A trance still brings her to mind,

the steel blue eyes lacking empathy or peace.

A slight woman with a bit of a hunch,

giving the appearance of something villainous.

The long boney finger jutting from her hand

ever held tightly to a thick yardstick.

Her face never revealed a smile,

just stern gaze of contempt for all.

Black cape covering her shoulders,

the dark scarf framed a frightening face.

Her calling was to serve God,

but somewhere the vision perished,

the glory of ministry gave way to a prison of ritual.

Questions not valued, answered must come quickly,

children to be seen and not heard.

Sister Whatshername, I remember you.

Blows to the head, back or arms with that ever present switch,

the price a boy pays for not being perfectly obedient.

The reality of Hell ever before this class,  a constant reminder,

a place for children who chew gum or misbehave.

The fiery description painted with years of repetition,

described large pots fills with snakes and spiders, boiling in the forever fire.

My place I’m told is eternity in such a pot bitten forever,

to remind me how much God loves me.

At least that was the version she told.

As five decades of life draws near, I still shutter thinking about how this wicked woman hurt me, not just with the ruler which did hurt badly, but how she hurt my sensitive heart.  She made me believe God’s love was conditional and freely withdrawn on a whim.  The reality was she found fear a means to control a classroom.  Far too much damage to innocent children just so she could finish a lesson plan.


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