I talked over Skype this morning to my granddaughter, Jade. After our talk I reminisced about what I was like when I was her age. Just thinking about this story makes me laugh.
When I was 8 years old I was in the third grade at Mount Merici Academy in Waterville, Maine. Back in the olden days it was run by Ursuline nuns. If there were any lay teachers I never saw one – only nuns. The principal was Mother St. Arsene and she was a fearsome creature. She was nearly six feet tall and with the severe habit and the huge strap hanging from her belt, I knew it was just a matter of time before one of us was gonna get it.
I was determined that it wasn’t going to be me. When I heard from my teacher, Mother Adrian, that there was going to be an all-school competition to find the student with the best behavior, I decided winning that would be the best way to be sure that strap was never used on me. To be honest, I never heard of anyone getting the strap and it’s possible that no girl ever did.
My sister was in the 6th grade and she was fairly certain I was worrying for nothing. I was not deterred. I told my mother I was going to win the good conduct medal at school and she looked at me with real concern in her eyes.
“Maureen, there are a lot of girls in that school and you’re only 8 years old. The nuns don’t know who you are. I don’t think you can win,” she said, trying to sooth a little girl’s hurt feelings way before it was needed.
My mother didn’t convince me either. Instinctively I knew what was important to the nuns. It wasn’t being nice to each other – they were looking for respect from the students. That was what they’d notice. When I would see a nun, I would say hello. When I’d meet one in the stairs, I would move over so she could pass. If a nun dropped something, you can be sure, little Maureen was there to pick it up.
The day before the big announcement, I reminded my mother I was going to win. This time she was really angry. She told me how she’d explained this to me weeks ago that it was impossible for a little girl to win when the school went to year 12. I looked at her and said, “I hear you but I’m going to win.” That made her face turn beet red.
My sister walked in and she laughed and said, “Mom’s right, you can’t win. I won’t win either if that’s any consolation.”
I got up the next morning and put on my green uniform, pasted my black curly hair down so I looked like a goof and off I went. See that photo? That was little Maureen. See that pin on her uniform? Yes, that’s the Good Conduct Medal.
Now, anyone need lessons on brown nosing?
When I talk to my children or grandchildren I get homesick. Then I want something American to eat. I went to the kitchen and made these brioche buns in my Thermomix. I wanted pork bbq with cole slaw and bbq beans.
- 30g sugar
- 330g warm milk
- 15g yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 80g butter
- 650g bakers flour
- 2 eggs (one for egg wash)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- sesame seeds
- Place the sugar in the TM bowl and whiz for 3 seconds on speed 9.
- Add the milk and heat on 50 degrees for 90 seconds.
- Add the yeast, butter, flour, salt and egg in the TM bowl and mix to combine for 10 seconds on speed 7.
- Set the dial to closed lid position. Knead for 3 minutes on Interval speed.
- Remove the dough and form a ball and place in a large lightly greased or oiled bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and and place in a warm place for for 30-60 minutes until doubled in size.
- Punch dough down and shape into rolls. I made small buns and each weighed 60 grams. I got 20 buns. You can make large buns and the recipe will make 8 good sized buns for hamburgers.
- Place the rolls on a baking sheet that has a small amount of corn meal/polenta sprinkled over it.
- Allow the buns to rest in a warm place for up to 30 minutes until nearly doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 180C degrees.
- Lightly beat the extra egg and milk and brush the tops of the buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place in the oven for 20 minutres, or until cooked through and golden brown.
- These freeze well.