Barbara, a really good friend and colleague retired at the end of this school year – just two days ago. She was the one I ate lunch with religiously. The one I team taught with for years. The one I went to for ideas, for advice and to vent. She noticed when I was wearing new clothes or had a new haircut. She asked about my kids. We would go have drinks after work on the occasional Friday. She was not only my colleague, she was my friend.
She is retiring and I am not kidding when I say I do not know what I am going to do when she leaves. When she finished packing her room, turned in her computer and keys and came into the library for her final good-bye, I cried, which made her cry, but only a little because she was also so. damn. happy.
Oh. Yeah. And with her gone, that makes me just about the oldest person in the building. So there is that too.
Two weeks before school ended, Roxanne and I introduced and honored Barbara at the end-of-the-year retirement dinner. The dinner is sponsored by our teacher’s union, so rarely do administrators attend, but this year the new superintendent was there. Go figure. Go figure because Roxanne and I decided it would be funny to rap to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” as part of our gig and we mixed lemon-drop martini’s while we talked. A few cuss words were dropped here and there (not too many because we knew it would make Barbara mad) and yes, at one point Roxanne drank straight from the vodka bottle. We got laughs, which is what we were going for, but we also did her right. In the end, it wasn’t all potty-mouth and drinking. We discussed her accomplishments and truly honored her skills as a teacher – because she deserved that!
As of Saturday, Barbara will be out there, chasing an amorphous dream, leaving me to struggle upstream without a paddle, but I know I am going to see her – All The Time – but man am I going to miss her.
PS – the prompt words were amorphous (which I had to look up), paddle and chase. I stuck all words into one incredibly awkward sentence – oh well!