This goes back to my Grade 1 Religion Class when I attended Regina Caeli Elementary School in Montreal. (Circa 1970-71).
“I became a Child of God on August 9th…”
…and thus the indoctrination begins.
I think here we were supposed to draw the gifts God gave us…
So why did I draw myself spraying the bugs?
I have no idea.
“Draw something God made for us to enjoy”.
Let me see…from left to right, there’s a kiddie pool, a fort made of blankets and lawn chairs, the neighbors cat, and me and a bike.
With the exception of the cat, these are all material possessions.
Obviously I missed the whole point, here.
Note that Mrs. McGuire gave me a “C”, which stood for “Correct”.
That was the default grade she gave: meaning your work was adequate, but not great.
But I did get rewarded with the mandatory religious stamp.
(If only I could be like that haloed boy…*sigh*).
“Show Adam and Even when they were happy with God”
Because I got the trifecta: The standard “C” for Correct.
The bonus religious stamp of the angel:
And…the coveted “E” for “Excellent”.
When you got an “E”, you know you did well.
Mrs. McGuire didn’t just hand those E’s to anybody, you know.
You had to EARN them.
But Religion Class wasn’t all fun and drawings. 80% of my book was filled with text. Apparently we did a lot of reading along and underlining.
(All part of the indoctrination process, naturally…)
“Draw yourself with other people. We are children of God”.
Looking at this, I don’t think I was really interested in drawing myself with other people.
I just wanted to draw a green Volkswagen, which was my favorite car at the time.
“Draw yourself helping at home”.
Not my best work. But obviously I was very enthralled with the vibrant pink color from my new felt pen set.
I recognize my baby brother in the crib. But aside from that , this was a pretty shitty drawing, even for a kid. The walls to the left and right are just scribbled in.
Even Mrs. McGuire noticed. I got a “V. G.” beside the “C”.
Meaning “Very Good”. Which was one step below “Correct”.
“Draw Noah and his family on the ark”.
It looks like I actually put a lot of thought into this one. I got Noah’s family looking out the windows, with a few animals, including (third from the left) what appears to be an ALLIGATOR!
And if that’s the case, then I think this drawing is AWESOME!
Funny thing is, I actually remember drawing this. And remembering the story about how Noah set out three doves to look for land. Apparently the first two drowned and never came back. But the third one came back with an olive branch or something, and that’s who Noah found Mount Ararat.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I chose to draw one of the drowning birds. On the roof, right next to the nonchalant giraffe.
Pretty harsh, when you think about it.
But hey…this was the Old Testament.
What would I have said to Jesus?
“Thank you Jesus for the food. It was good”.
Which, obviously, was the right thing to say.
Because it got “Excellent”.
“Draw Jesus with three of his Apostles”.
But it did earn an “Excellent”. And not just as an “E”, but with the whole word written out.
This was rare compliment from Mrs. McGuire.
I was really starting to get the hang of this.
“Draw Jesus and his Apostles in the boat”
See? I got too cocky, and here I only got a “Correct”.
Probably because I screwed up the names of the apostles, and tried to erase the lettering and got it all smudged.
I have to admit, Mrs. McGuire was consistent and fair in her marking.
And you gotta respect that.
“Draw some people Jesus wants you to love”
Yeahhh….and I don’t think I really wanted to draw that. Obviously, I preferred to draw myself building a snow fort instead.
Hence, the lesser grade of “C” instead of the coveted “E”
You couldn’t fool ol’ Mrs. McG.
“Pray to the Holy Spirit. Write your prayer here”
I’m not a theological expert. But I don’t think you’re supposed to thank Jesus for going to heaven. You’re probably supposed to thank him for dying for your sins instead.
But what do you want?
I was only in Grade 1.
“Draw yourself being a child of God”.
Wow. Look at the size of that SUN.
Anyway, I think this was supposed to be me playing with my sister.
Because from a seven-year-old point of view, the ultimate sacrifice to God is being nice to your pesky younger siblings.
Apparently, so is cleaning your room for Jesus.
Though I am intrigued as to why I suddenly regressed back to drawing stick-figure people.
I dunno..maybe it was some kind of “minimalist” artistic phase I was gong through.
Here’s one of story of the Prodigal Son.
On the left, I drew the rich son leaving home and setting out in the wold with his big bag of cash with the dollar sign on it.
(Because the dollar was standard currency back in biblical times).
On the right, we see the son returning home, tattered and poor, falling at his farther’s feet.
Though they both look like bums…both equally tattered and poor.
“Draw yourself saying Thank you to Jesus”
Oooh…LOOK! This is probably the FIRST CARTOON BUBBLE I ever drew! (Even though I ran out of room and had to add to it).
Mrs. McGuire liked it too…I got an “E” And also (look in the top right), a colored stamp of the three Wise Men.
I also recognize one of the items in the background.
That’s an old Fisher-Price Clock I used to have when I was three. I still held on to it back then.
It boggles my mind, how I remember this.
Don’t ask me how, but I do.
Of coures, at the end of some of the chapters, there were “take home” questions which we had go over with our parents. My Mom and Dad would quiz me, and they’d have to sign off that they covered the material with me, and then Mrs. McGuire would co-sign it.
This information probably all went on my Permanent Record. .
This was all taken very seriously. To ensure we kids grew up to be good little Catholics.
And it worked. Because just 7 years later, I became an Altar Boy
(But that’s another story).