Adventures in Nonfiction: Memories of Catholic School

You’re Full of Bologna

By Courtney Fogarty


My disappointment soared as I pried open my lunch box. Ew. Bologna. Again. There were other, tastier things in my lunch box, but I knew if that cursed sandwich still lay there when I returned home, my mother would have my head.  I peeked around—no adults in sight. Kids were chatting loudly and there were at least twelve tables crammed in the room; there’s no way they would notice me tip toeing towards the trash. So I inched across the ten yards to the garbage. I looked back over my shoulder—side to side—in front. The stretch yawned on in front of me for what felt like miles. Still no adults. I felt a peal of calm success as I dumped the offending lunchmeat in the trash.

Proud of my smooth accomplishment, I found my way back to the lunch table. Finally safe, I dug into the lunch box for my chips.

“Excuse me.”

My blood turned cold. Mechanically, I turned to look up into the lined face of Sister Lucille, the headmistress, dressed in her black habit that swooshed across the floor.

“Good afternoon, Sister,” I squeaked, gasping for air as the fear squished it out of my lungs.

“You threw away your sandwich.”

I stared at her and my face began to burn. The other kids at the table had gone silent—no doubt they had felt the chill in the air as well. She looked me in the eye and nodded toward the trashcan.

“Go get it.”

I walked with leaden steps, counting my way tile by tile prolonging the horrid moment of retrieval. I peered over the edge of the barrel. The dreaded thing was there near the top of the pile, flecked in other garbage and moist with goodness-knows-what. I looked back at where she stood; a crook of her finger summoned me, feet dragging, sandwich grasped between finger and thumb. She took hold of the vile thing.

“Your mother,” she said, holding the speckled lunch sausage in my face, “worked very hard to make you this sandwich.” I was humming with nerves, my eyes brimming with tears.

“You are going to eat it.”

She placed the terror in front of me. The bread was still there, too, though it was squished from being handled so seriously. Terrified, I lifted the sandwich to my mouth; the other kids around me look on, too scared to stare, but too curious to look away. Sister Lucille stood over me, watching as I ate the sandwich bite by miserable bite.

“Thank you,” she said, calmly and politely when I was done, as if I had just performed a piano recital for her. With that, she floated to the doorway of the cafeteria and disappeared across the threshold.


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