(This next chapter covers the topics of church and school during my father’s youth and picks up where we left off. He was always known for his antics as a young boy.)
Shortly after my mother had her second disappointment with the church. As I said before my father was a cabinet-maker and wood-carver. He used to do all the necessary new work and repair jobs for the church and the town hall. In our town he was known as the best in his trade. There where four other cabinet makers in the town, two of them learned their trade from him. One day my father found out the church decided to replace the tables and benches in the parochial school with new ones. For my father it was natural for him to think he would get the job as before. This time he was mistaken, the work was given to another cabinetmaker. When my mother heard of this she went to ask the monsignor why my father did not get the job? The monsignor told her it was because her husband was not Catholic. My mother replied, that this was true but she did have nine catholic children. That day my mother returned home with tears in her eyes. After this disappointment and not to mention the ordeal with the tax collector. She never went to church again and completely disassociated herself from the Catholic religion. I sympathized with my parents hardships and vowed to myself that I would never again be a faithful catholic.
Academically I was among the best students but my religious grades started to drop to the lowest. I had constant problems with the priests and my religious homework was never on time. One day after lunch I went back to school and noticed the smell of fresh paint coming from the hallway. It didn’t take me long to find out the source was coming from one of the adjacent classrooms. At that exact moment I knew this was part of the job that the church denied my father. My heart started to pound faster with anger and I knew this was my opportunity to get even with the church, for what they did to my father. I grabbed my razor from my pocket and started to make crisscross lines on the benches over the wet paint. I did a perfect job, but as the saying goes, “there is no such thing as a perfect crime.”
As soon as I finished I went to the toilet to hide. It was still a little early and I didn’t want any of the teachers seeing me. When the hallways started to get noisy from the other students, I inconspicuously left the bathroom and went to class. Not long after 2:00 p.m. the principle walked into our classroom and was very angry. He called the teacher out of the classroom. A few minutes later the teacher came back in and order everyone to put their hands on the table. All the other children thought he was checking our hands for sanitary reasons, but I knew the truth. He was checking for green paint on our fingers. I started to get nervous even though there was no paint on my fingers. For a moment, it seemed like we all passed the test. Then he gave us a second order to put all of our razors on the table so he could check them all. I didn’t have any paint on mine either, but for some reason he took it and walked out of the classroom. I felt like getting up and running away but I didn’t. He finally came back and handed me back my razor.
The first hour ended and the teacher called a ten minute break. During the break he walked over to my table and without anyone noticing asked me, “why you?” I did not dare answer him and it was never brought up again. I had great respect for the man before and after my crime.
It was when a priest tried to physically punish me that I decided I had enough. Before he could hit me I jumped out a nearby window and ran home. I finished the remaining school year at a state school which was pretty far from my home. Slowly after that my feelings toward the Catholic religion completely died out and at the same time my belief in God took its place.
(The next chapter titled “Before the War,” will begin to cover the events before WWII.)
(On a side note, I have begun to make changes to my blog site to improve things, I hope. Two earlier Image posts converted into galleries; as part of my learning process. I have also started adding pages to place my father’s memoirs in more of a chronological order for preservation. Links were moved to the “post page, and certain categories were renamed. More changes are in the works. Please feel free to comment and/or offer ANY suggestions to better the layout and viewing. Thank you for visiting! Kat/Kati)