What would Sr. Petronilla say?

Dear Ladycliff Alumnae,

How embarrassing.  An erstwhile English major, and I had to look up “alumni” to figure out which form of the word to use—what would Sr. Petronilla say?

Actually, years ago, Sr. Petronilla accused me of being too terse in my writing.  “You’re too terse, Miss Wolfrom, too terse!” she said.  When the title of Emeritus was conferred upon the tiny Sr. Petronilla during the commencement ceremonies of 1979, she tipped her head up to the microphone and said “No speech.”  The audience whispered a collective “Whaaat?,” necessitating Sr. Petronilla’s return to the microphone where she clarified: “ I said, ‘no speech!’” There now.  Takes one to know one, I think.

I’ve just ordered two paving stones for Ladycliff Park.  With my deep, deep love for Ladycliff, and my affection for the good sisters and my classmates, I am profoundly glad to have found a way to express my gratitude for those incomparable years on Mary Hill, in Rosary Hall, in Spellman Library.

I have never returned—heartbreak touched once is once enough.  Ladycliff lives on in my dreams, however.  A recurring theme: I am leaving, always leaving.  You, my friends and classmates, are eternally 23.  Although these dreams are harrowing, perhaps it is, after all, a comfort that Ladycliff and you reside, intact, in my memory.

We’re so fine, ’79.

Susan Wolfrom

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