Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Show and Tell - Memories Are Made of This III

So - one more morning with Peter. We've covered a lot of ground. I think he'll be okay. I know I will. The walls are empty of anything except nails, the shelves are barren - and Peter doesn't know what he'll ever put on them. My little 10' by 10' home away from home is no longer mine. It took me 3 days to get everything home, and now it is all sitting in the middle of my living room floor. I have no clue where I am going to put all of this stuff. It is all so sentimental to me.

Between the missionaries who have come to our church and the faculty going overseas for their projects and my son traveling to Africa, I had three shelves full of lovely souvenirs. I wish I had labeled them all. The plate is from Guatemala. The little blue egg hanging up is from Russia, the little white pot is from Cancun. The little card has a zebra from Africa. The wooden hand with God is love, the star, and the nativity scene is from Israel. The dust is from not having time to get it off the shelves, and being too lazy to remove all the "stuff."

The blue and white cows are salt and pepper shakers from Poland. The wooden paddles are from Sweden. I can't read the words on the other side of the beautiful cup - I can't believe I didn't mark the bottom. I know it's from one of the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe.

The beautiful green jewelry box is from Korea. The little pottery saucer is from Romania. The heart-shaped box is a wedding favor from Peru. The little tray and the Eiffel Tower are, of course, from France. The miniature spoon is from Switzerland.

The wooden bowl and camel are from Morocco. The little colorful plate is from Germany. The wooden box is from Madagascar. The sand picture in the bottle is from Hawaii. The beautiful hummingbird blown glass was a gift from the person whose job I worked in my first of two long-term temp jobs before I got this position.

The bowl wall hanging and the small picture on the right are both from Mozambique, and are made from banana leaves, believe it or not. The pencil holder is from Swaziland. The egg holder is from Poland. The little nesting dolls are from Russia. The straw bag is from Hawaii, the cup is from Bulgaria, and the little red bag and the woven matt are from Saudi Arabia.

The people have made it worth getting up and going to work every day. The 870 students (give or take 50), have made it a constant challenge and have given me great enjoyment.

"Gentle Ben" hired me - green as could be. I didn't know what an MSW was, but I was pretty sure I could figure out and coordinate the program. I must have gotten that from my dad! Ben was so great to work for - he appreciated everything I did and made sure I knew it. He and his wife, Georgia, were a great team - they still come in often because they run an animal-assisted therapy program through the School of Social Work. She used to make the food for our retreats, and helped us decorate and serve the students for graduation. She was the ultimate hostess at our annual Christmas party (before we had to quit calling it Christmas, and had to become politically correct - after he retired). They have the most beautiful home and we felt so welcome there. DC never enjoyed his work social events, but he loved going to mine - the faculty and staff were so much fun.

Ben and Georgia took me out to lunch last week as a retirement celebration - we had such a good time.

Tip and I started the same day. When she left after ten years, it wasn't as much fun any more. She and I shared alot of "kid" issues, and she was my prayer partner the entire time. She still is, for that matter. She was technologically so far beyond me - I would always ask her how she knew how to do what she was doing - she said "you just have to play around and figure it out." I kept telling her it wasn't play for me, it was hard work. She was always amazed at my memory for details in my life. I had written my Christmas letter the first year we worked together, and I had her read it over for me. She said she wished she had time to write a Christmas letter. So I wrote one for her - she couldn't believe I could remember everything that had happened to her that year that she had shared with me. It was so funny. I don't think she ever got it sent out. We still keep in touch, and I hope I get to see her this summer.

"Karla with a K" was another character in our cast. She was our work study student for 4 years, and we hired her for an additional year after she graduated. She was in her early 30s when she came to school. She had the kind of wit about her that allowed her to say the most insulting things to people and they would not take it as an insult. They would laugh. If I had said the things she did, I would have been fired! She eventually went for her MSW at a different school - she said she couldn't stay here for her master's degree because she had bossed our faculty around for 5 years and she didn't think it would be a good idea to be in their classes. She told me that I was responsible for her getting into grad school elsewhere, because she listened to everything I griped about that applicants did, and did the opposite.

We have had two Bobs, Brad, Bruce, and Ben all at the same time. Big Bob rode his bike to work every day (as does Brad) with his pants legs rolled up to avoid getting caught in the chain. He'd forget to put it back down before going to class. Karla would remind him. He was a jazz musician. He told the greatest stories in his booming voice - we really missed him when he moved to another program.

The other Bob has been my closest colleague in the admission process. He is brilliant - has several master's degrees and his doctorate. He has the most amazing vocabulary. But he can't remember students' names to save his soul. I will miss Bob.

Victor - the gourmet cook. The consummate absent-minded professor. So gentle. His most oft uttered phrase is "Oh, well." He takes everything so calmly. I wish I were more like him. I will miss him.

Maria was one of the children sent over from Cuba in the 60s when Castro was threatening to remove the children of professionals from their homes to indoctrinate them in government schools. She and her brother were airlifted out of Cuba when she was four, with many other children, and landed in a convent school in Ohio. They eventually were reunited with their doctor father and attorney mother in Florida. I will miss Maria.

Joyce is the office manager and works with the undergraduate program. She is an extremely organized person. She has never thrown anything away. She has a very generous heart. She still has a bit of her Chicago accent after 30 years in Colorado. I will miss Joyce.

There are many others, but I don't have time to write about them all, and you don't have time to read that much. The work study students have helped us so much - and I have been fond of many of them.

Tom Sutherland - remember that name? He was the professor who was teaching in Beirut, Lebanon when he was kidnapped and held hostage for 2,354 days. He was a professor here for 26 years before he went to Beirut. He had a hero's welcome home when he was finally released. What a goose-bump-raising memory that is when he returned in 1991. A sculpture garden on campus was dedicated to him.

Last, but not least, my sweet husband had these sent to me today, to take to work tomorrow to celebrate this momentous occasion. He's also throwing a party at home tonight!

For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog, There Is No Place Like Home.



DeNiece Barnes said...

Your flowers are beatiful, how throughful of your hubby... I also love everything that you have collected over the years, stop in and visit me sometime, have a great weekend..

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

What a lovely flower arrangement! That is so sweet and thoughtful. It must be bitter sweet leaving a job after so long a time. I can not hardly fathom it.

Jewelgirl said...

Well Dawn, congratulations on your
retirement...... it is bittersweet,
sounds like you had a great place
to work and great people to work
with. Wow, you did it!!! :)

Susie said...

Well, unless you're up very late, by the time you read this it will be your retirement day. Congratulations and you have so many wonderful memories and keepsakes to remember it by.
Your flower arrangement is gorgeous and you're blessed to be spending your retirement years with such a thoughtful guy!!

Diane @ Diane's Place said...

Well, the days are gone and now you're down to counting hours and minutes.

You've made your mark on many a student that passed through your hands as well as your coworkers. Now it's time to reap what you've sown and enjoy some time to relax and do some of those things you never seemed to have time to do while you were working.

Bless your hubby for sending those beautiful flowers!

I'm sure there'll be more than a few tears shed on your last day, both on your part and your coworkers. As someone else noted, a bittersweet time, but more sweet than bitter is my prayer.

Love and hugs,


Hootin' Anni said...

Being that we're both 'Coloradoans' at heart...I want to stop right now and congratulate you on your retirement! After working with the government for nearly 30 years, my hubby BOUGHT out his retirement before he turned 55 and I quit right along with him and haven't looked back since. I LOVE being retired.

[The CSU -being from near Boulder --NO! I didnt' attend CU --my choice was Colorado State.... sacks brought back great memories for me too. LOL]

Lovely mementoes you've shared with us Dawn.

My show n tell is shared. Hope you can stop by for a "howdy do!" Happy weekend to you---

A Hint of Home said...

Congratulations! Your flowers are so pretty. What a thoughtful hubby.

Diane said...

Tick-tock-tick-tock! The minutes fly by but the memories are lasting!

ENJOY this momentous last day......before you are officially retired!

Thinking of you my friend!


Constance said...

A lifetime of memories, how many lives you have touched and what an impression you have made on people! A new chapter opens up and the Lord has even better things to come! Thanks for sharing your treasures with us!

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

What gorgeous flowers! And I loved seeing all of your treasures. I hope that today goes well! :)

Lisa Ann said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing your treasures.

Robin said...

How wonderful that you have so many treasured memories. They can never be taken away from you. Ever.
And now the time has come dear friend to make new memories in a different way. I just know that God is going to bless you. I will be praying for you as you adjust to your new calling in life.
Enjoy your last day and your party tonight - wish I could pop in and celebrate with you!

Linds said...

I am thinking about you now too, Dawn, as you go through your final day. What beautiful flowers! I think you are going to love spending your retirement with the man who sent them to you!

Enjoy the party!

nannykim said...

wow--sweet memories. Hope your last one is one more great memory.Blessings!!

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Wonderful memories you've shared, beautiful flowers and one day until retirement! Congratulations! I pray you have a long and blessed retirement Dawn.

Kelli said...

What wonderful treasures, Dawn! I love the little cows and you have everything displayed beautifully! Congratulations on your retirement!

Barbara H. said...

What wonderful treasures, and memories to go along with them!

I can only imagine the mixed emotions upon leaving a long-held job and the "second family" there. My mom absolutely dreaded the thought of retirement and worked several years past the age she could have retired. The Lord ended up taking her home before she did retire. I wished that she had lived close vy so that we could have done things when she retired, but, though she would have enjoyed that, I know she still would have missed her job and the people there.

Mimi said...

all your little mementos from your years of working are very special and you will have to find a special place for them at home now...
you will miss your job for a little while but not long...then you will wonder how you ever found time to work...

Barb said...

I'm here to congratulate you, Dawn, on your retirement. I'm sure right about now, it hasn't really sunk in that you never have to get up and go to work again. I know it's a strange feeling and I also know it takes a few weeks for it to sink in.

All the teachers and all the people you worked with for all those years are blessed to have known you and I'm sure you'll be missed.

So tonight, PARTY! And your flowers are just beautiful.

Welcome to the next step - you're going to love it.

julie said...

You now forever share this monumental day with Bill Gates. Too bad you don't also share his retirement package, huh? Congrats!

Needled Mom said...

What wonderful memories you have made, Dawn. These will certainly stay with you through the years.

I have been thinking about you this week and wishing the best for you as you start this next stage of your life. I know that you will grow to love it and wonder how you ever found time to work.

Christa said...

You have some great memories, and it is a bittersweet day for you.
Enjoy and look forward to your retirement.

Love Bears All Things said...

Thanks for sharing the gifts from other countries and the bio of your co workers. Happy retirement.
Mama Bear

Penless Thoughts said...

So very many memories to cherish, but so many new ones to make!!!

Tammy said...

I love all the wonderful treasures from all over the world...each one with a story, I'm sure!

It was good to get this update...and that was SO sweet of your wonderful husband to give you the beautiful bouquet for your last day at work...gorgeous flowers! DC is a keeper for sure! :)

Becky said...

Well a big, hearty congratulations to you Dawn. I well remember my last day of work a little more than a year ago. I have loved every minute since. But ... I have to tell you .... I am so busy. Never, ever bored.

The Apron Queen said...

Congratulations! The flowers are lovely. I also really like the blue & white cows. I have some similiar ones.

For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen

Sharon Lynne said...

You finally made it!
I feel like I'm there with you. I'm glad you have many good memories.

It's hard to know where to put sentimental things. answer to your question, the fires are not near are area.

Midlife Mom said...

Yippee! You are now officially retired and have been for about 48 hours! You will love it!
What a nice collection of things you have accumulated over the years! HAPPY RETIREMENT!