My baby sister had just been born a few months before I started boarding school in 1975. I remember I cried as I watched her in her moses basket on one side of the room whilst my mother stitched name tags on every article of clothing I had, in preparation for my departure.
My brother was already attending the same school so that softened the blow somewhat.
I waved goodbye to my parents that Sunday evening from the huge doorway of the Junior house where the new boys were housed. My new life starts here and it's going to be a life full of opportunities, some afforded to me and others waiting to be created.
One priest would go around each night and tuck us in then give a hug to each boy. Some parents thought this was quite a nice touch as it gave a sense of 'home' to the students.
Another would prowl the dormitory after lights out, making choices. Just like a box of chocolates I'm not sure if he always went for the same ones. He would sit on my bed and drape his cassock over most of my torso as I lay motionless in bed. His left hand would then go under the covers and he would 'enjoy' a chat. I never heard anything he said.
Time after time this became the bedtime ritual and as a naive and fearful boy, I could never decide if I was blessed or cursed.
One thing was certain, I was 'special'