Jamaican Me Crazy, Maisy
Within each boarding house at Brentwood there is a special, unique feel. While each house is homey in its own special way, the personalities hiding behind the House Parents’ doors shape the attitudes within each building. The House Parents, those peculiar adults who commit to share their lives with 50 or 60 teenagers, devote so much of their time to the wellbeing of the students in their care. Each House Parent is special in her or his own way and some have been at Brentwood for as long as I’ve been alive, while others have recently arrived and are keen to learn the ropes.
A Brentwood Lifer of many years, and a tremendous House Parent, Mrs. Eileen Mais is a prime example when one looks at devotion to a boarding house.
In her 19th year in Alexandra House, Mrs. Mais is as vibrant as ever - or so I hear, not having been alive when she took this post - and a welcome, nurturing, constant star in the lives of over fifty girls.
Recently Mrs. Mais, whom Alex House girls fondly think of as ‘Crazy Maisy’ won a radio contest for Mother’s Day as “Coolest Mom in Victoria”. She was nominated for this by her daughter, Quinn Erickson, ‘09. Winning a spa treatment, dinner for two, and even being interviewed on the radio, Maisy deserves this special recognition.
The Alex House girls tend to agree with Quinn that Maisy is pretty cool, but it’s remarkable how a Jamaican accent can sound so terrifying when you’re creeping down the hall wearing shoes and suddenly the words “Rude child!” echo through the building. Able to be both maternally stern and yet joke around with the girls, Mrs. Mais is a stellar houseparent, and she brings it all to the table.
Over the years, traditions become established, and for many of us who call Alex House home, Mrs. Mais has been present to initiate them. The Game of ‘Assassin’ is a prime example. It is a game of organized chaos, with house bonding the ultimate goal.
A fixture of our distinguished old house at the center of campus, Mrs. Mais is a favorite memory of many grads, perhaps even more than sunny afternoons on the field or swimming at the docks. Maisy instituted what many have come to think of as a motto in Alex House, making sure to remind girls of it at the beginning of every year before the welcome back dance, although it would hardly sound as convincing without the accent.
Maisy is a veteran House Parent who has seen it all. A wise lady who is very difficult to fool, she is fiercely protective when it comes to her girls. Mrs. Mais is a constant, caring presence in an endless job.
As an Alex Girl of three years, and the current House Captain, I can say with absolute certainty that there’s no other place I’d rather live on campus: many of my favorite Brentwood memories have taken place within the house. When Hope House was created there was lots of buzz about switching because of the opportunity to build new traditions, but the lure of a new house certainly wasn’t enough to tear me away from another year with Maisy. I came to tour Brentwood over three years ago, and requested to be in Alex House because it was beautiful. That beauty wasn’t an external characteristic only, but an inner standard upheld by the ever-diligent Crazy Maisy.
Taryn O, Alex House Captain, 2012
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