Tales From A Hungry Life

November 28, 2014

Giving Thanks & Catholic School

by Maria Schulz

A fashion staple! NOT

A fashion staple! NOT

This photo always brings me back to my Catholic School days. The days started early, with me jolting awake, sure that I was going to be late if I didn’t hurry. I’d throw on my uniform, scarf down a bowl of LIFE cereal (if it was good enough for Mikey, it was good enough for me).

He likes it!

He likes it!

Then I’d spend at least 20 minutes searching for my lost school bag, and bang on the bathroom door until I could get in there, brush my hair and teeth…and RUN LIKE THE WIND to get to school on time.

Did I mention that our school was just across the street?

The best part of any class

The best part of any class

Chris and I would run down the block and then around it to the door we had to use, then take the stairs two at a time just to get to class. We’d burst through our classroom doors and slide into our seats just as the bell began to ring. Our hair was flying in every direction, shirts sticking out and not properly tucked in, socks mismatched or missing entirely…and ready for today’s demerits.

And the day had just begun!

I make fun of my Catholic school upbringing all the time, but it’s given me so many things to be thankful for. I spent Thanksgiving reminiscing with my brothers about those days that were full of uniforms, nuns, candy sales and laughs. So, here are a few things I am thankful for when it comes to Catholic school.

Ten Things Catholic School Made Me Thankful For

Packs a wallop

Packs a wallop

  1. First off, I have no outward scars. Sister F (for Felicity, just to be clear) may have hit me with enough force to leave a dent the size of the Grand Canyon in my skull, but my head looks remarkably normal. There’s my first miracle! Which any Catholic kid knows you MUST have for even the smallest shot at Sainthood.
  2. I’m grateful that Sister AK-47 did not kill me that time I woke up my snoring classmate before she could decapitate him with her yardstick
  3. Worth the trip.

    Worth the trip.

    I learned that when life hands you lemons, forget the lemonade. Those are the moments that were made for White Castle, located conveniently within walking distance of our elementary school.

  4. I’m so glad that I never have to sell candy bars again, for any reason. Bake sales are more my speed, and thanks to Catholic school, I understand their inherent beauty.
  5. Many thanks to the Folk Group for teaching me to sing when I feel grateful. Okay, so I’m not singing “Kumbaya” these days, but every once in a while, I will belt out “My Sweet Lord.”
  6. Closets no longer scare me thanks to Sister’s F’s use of them as a punishment tool when I couldn’t do all of my math homework. It was quiet in there, and perfect for a quick nap. Math, however, continues to scare the bee-jezus out of me.
  7. Good all year long

    Good all year long

    Rituals are a part of my DNA. From the Thanksgiving play with pilgrim hats, to communion dresses with veils, and festive flower garlands at the crowning of Mary, we Catholics sure know how to wear a hat and make a memory.

  8. Catholic School taught me how to deal with unreasonable people and their insane demands, which has helped me tremendously in the business world.

    I've got a lot to be thankful for

    I’ve got a lot to be thankful for

  9. It helped me nurture a curious nature and discover the importance of questioning authority when something is just plain wrong.
  10. Most of all, it taught me:
  • To cherish my family and friends
  • To help others whenever I can
  • To try to be kind and live like Jesus would, minus the crucifixion
  • To respect and cherish my elders
  • To view children as our hope for the future, and not as enemies to be vanquished
  • To laugh and see humor where I could otherwise be angry and hate
  • To never forget that there are more screwed up people out there than I could ever possibly imagine
  • To buy girl scout cookies and chocolate bars from any kid who’s stuck selling them
  • To laugh at inappropriate times, as often as possible
  • To never forget: White Castle is the answer


Recipe: White Castle Stuffing

My brother Chris sent me this recipe earlier this week. Not everyone was into it at first, but it turned out great! Who knew I could combine two of my favorite things—a family get-together and White Castle? Well of course I did, but now everyone who came knows too. Try it with your leftovers and you’ll see how delicious it is too.

So, what did you learn from your earliest school days? What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? Do you crave White Castle too? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks, and enjoy your holiday weekend.



  1. Never went to Catholic School which may explain why I remain a practicing Catholic to this day. I went to PS 120 which was a block from my home at 58-30 138 Street Queensborough Hill, Flushing, NY, grades 1 to 8. Teachers didn’t hit they just called moms up to the school to discuss behavior problems, then moms hit. The experience reinforced my concept of family. The class was my immediate family, the rest of the classes were like relatives, closer the grades the more affinity was felt. No one ever ratted on the family. We stuck together, fought each other and had the feeling of responsibility to each and every one including teachers, even the ones we hated. The whole community of The Hill was like that one big family, a great place to grow up and the school was the center of the children’s community more so than the Church.
    We went to the Church every Tues. after school for Religious training where we would get hit. The Nuns were good I suppose but only the one who taught the schools smiled. She was nice but then so were the girls and I can’t really say the boys were.

    Comment by Bglou — November 28, 2014 @ 10:34 pm | Reply

  2. Oh Maria ! One day in 7th grade my uniform was getting noticeably tight. My mom was aware of the developing situation and so were the boys ! A nun/sister let me know to tell my mom “do something with the top of your uniform. ” I forgot ! So the very next day I had to stand in front of the classroom with a boys tie on made out of green cardboard. Then if that wasn’t enough I had to sit in the trash can with the tie on right next to that wooden door . Wish my memories were positive! I never shared this before!! If you lived in Bayside as a kid you grew up with White Castle as part of the food pyramid. At least once a week you had them for dinner and ran home every time to make sure you got your three or four burgers !! Love them still !!

    Comment by Cindy Byrnes McDonnell — November 29, 2014 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  3. […] What I Learned in Catholic School […]

    Pingback by Happy 6th Anniversary to Me | Tales From A Hungry Life — April 6, 2016 @ 6:56 am | Reply

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