Tonight I attended a dinner for three wonderful ladies that I work with. They are all retiring after this school year. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with them. They all touched my life in different ways.
Roberta, our Librarian, (Media Specialist,) was like my mentor. When I was hired, I had nothing. I was in a classroom that didn’t even have furniture! It was just days before the school year was about to begin and Roberta was bringing me everything from staplers to furniture to use in my classroom. In the nearly eight years that I have worked with her, she has been someone I could go to for anything. A fountain of knowledge! She could find a title or author without having to look it up. She knew where everything was. A wealth of information who went out of her way to help others. It was Roberta who I joined with to start our Tuscan School Pay It Forward Program. She was always doing things to promote kindness in our school. She began our TV Turnoff program which promotes less television watching during school weeks and encourages doing more…reading, exercising…anything that gets kids to do something other than watching television. I am going to miss her and her kind spirit.
Marci, a fellow teacher, was always so generous. She was always doing something thoughtful for others. After we got our Emmy Lou, Marci arrived in my classroom with a present for me. It was a little stuffed dog that looks like Emmy Lou. Her reason was so that I could have Emmy with me all of the time, even while at school. She did thoughtful things like that all of the time. When I first began working at Tuscan, she realized that she had gone to high school with my aunt. Small world! Marci was so kind and supportive while my mom was dying. She was a shoulder to cry on and someone who would just stop by to give me a hug, knowing how much I needed it, without having to say a word
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to work with our last retiree directly. Barbara worked mostly with the upper grade students so our paths didn’t cross very often when it came to teaching. She had an infectious smile though and her students adored her. Tonight, she told a story that I hadn’t heard before. She told about her mom, who left the south as a young girl because she was tired of picking cotton. She got on a train and traveled to New Jersey to be a housekeeper for a family in Maplewood – the town that Barbara eventually wound up teaching in many years later. She mentioned that while her mother was living with a family in Maplewood, their home was on Oakland Road – the same street that I live on. Again, such a small world!
These three women have influence and inspired so many children in their many years of teachers. Now it is time for them to sit back, relax and revel in the bliss of retirement. I wish them all love and joy and restful days ahead.