Blind Tommy & Father Gerard (1)

Blind Tommy was one of those guys you saw hanging around on the street when you were growing up, the kind who didn’t really belong to any group or gang, and who everybody knew was a little slow.

That was all most kids knew about Blind Tommy, except for the kids who went to St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s was your typical Catholic grammar school. The nuns may have been brides of Christ, but they were cousins of the devil as well.

At St. Mary’s, the nuns picked on everyone, but especially kids who were big and slow, and being about the biggest and slowest kid in every class he was in, Blind Tommy bore the brunt of their assaults. Having him in your home room was like having a natural decoy to divert attacks. You just didn’t want to sit too close to him, for fear of becoming collateral damage.

Like everybody else, Blind Tommy bore the beatings and bullying patiently; he’d learned that protesting just made things worse. Until one day in Sister Theresa Joe’s class.

Sister Theresa Joe went to swat him for something he did, or didn’t do, or might have been going to do if he’d been quick enough to think of it. As she moved in, Blind Tommy shot up out of his chair. The next thing anyone knew, Sister was on the floor, passed out.

Nobody liked Sister Theresa Joe, not even the other nuns, but that didn’t help Blind Tommy. The principal hauled him off to her office, where Tommy sat on the bench and waited for his mother. When she got there, she walked right up to him and socked him across the face. Blind Tommy fell down in a heap, right in front of the principal.

That forced act of contrition kept him in school. But from that point on, nuns kept a pretty wide berth. Until years later, when Blind Tommy went to work at St. Calvin’s Hospital.

(more to come . . .)

No comments: