Sunday, June 22, 2008

Memories are Made of This

You know of my angst over the writing of my procedures manual, if you read me more than once in awhile. It was the worst project I've had to do in all of my years of working. I have never had to do it before. It was so hard, because the job I have been doing for 15 years has grown into part of me - everything I did was so instinctive and natural. To put that down on paper (rather computer screen) was very painful. I came up with this crazy analogy - it reminded me so much of "that horrible process" I went through a couple of weeks ago. The process was so much worse than the procedure. The "cleaning out" of my brain and putting it down was so miserable. But finishing it last Friday felt amazingly wonderful. I left it for a wonderful work study student to put together into a notebook for tomorrow morning, when I begin the process of "training" for a week. I could not believe the result - about 15 pages of written processes, with 104 documents attached to those processes. No wonder I'm so tired!

So Friday after I finished, I decided to take a tour around campus to take some pictures of my favorite memories. For 11 years I worked full-time and spent my lunch hours mostly at the student center. I was always up for delivering something somewhere on campus - I loved walking around there (but only in good weather - the other times, I preferred to send a work study student!) But most of the time it was nice enough to walk - and read as I walked. When I went to part-time four years ago, I have really missed this time of getting out of the office and onto the campus.

Something really unusual and unexpected happened as I did my final walk-around. Remember a few weeks ago when I did a post in which I stated that there were only two things I was going to miss? Those two things - the students and my colleagues. Turns out that really wasn't true, evidently. As I walked around and took pictures, so many pleasant memories came to my mind that tears formed more than once. I never thought I would be so emotional about the end of this part of my life. The first 10 years were so great (the last 5 not so much). The fact that there doesn't seem to be any formal send-off planned has been hurtful, but I will walk out the door Friday with no regrets.

So - come with me around campus as I remember the "good old days" from my time in this position. Most of those 15 years have been spent in this building - nothing pretty about it. You can tell the era of the buildings by the style - what architect in the 60's thought those concrete circles were decorative is beyond me!

I love to watch the students relaxing in this area outside of our building - often they use their backpacks as pillows and take a little snooze. Often they actually have their classes out under these trees.

This sculpture was placed in the middle of the street outside our building in their quest to make this a walking campus - no more driving through. It was frustrating for awhile to restructure our way to work and place to park. But it does make it much more peaceful.

The north side of the building is much more pleasing to the eye than the south!

Walking north from our building, we head toward the library and the Student Center.

This is a lovely angle of the library - but do you see those strange-shaped coverings? They were designed, I believe, for asthetic affect - but truthfully, they are a real pain in the neck when the snow is melting or it's raining - the water drips all over everyone's heads as you walk underneath them.

The Ram mascot done in bronze stands guard over the south entrance to the library.

I love this view that looks out to the west. If you have need of a quiet place to study (remember when all places in the library were quiet? They have a coffee cart on the main floor!), you can go to the third floor and situate yourself with a view of the mountains - and try to study or read! The library was devastated during the $100 million dollar flood damage 11 years ago next month. You would never know it was so badly hit.

Heading north from the library, to the right is this huge new four-story building in process. It's amazing to me that I did not know about this big project - in the days when I was out on campus every day, I would have been watching it happen from the ground up. Last I knew, they were just beginning work over there, but I had no idea this large building would go up so quickly - I don't even know what department it is going to house. What is sad to me, though, is that there used to be a lovely green, grassy area there where students sat under trees and studied and visited. During Holocaust Awareness week, there were always flags planted in the grass to indicate home countries and numbers of those who were slaughtered by Hitler's regime. At the same time, Jewish students took turns reading off the names of the victims at a podium inside the Student Center - hour after hour after hour. It was eye-opening and heart-breaking.

On to the Student Center - the hub of the campus. It is a little town of its own - with banks, a beauty shop, about 8 restaurants in a food court, the book store, a convenience store, a florist shop, a very popular coffee shop.

I just loved eating lunch over here - I took my book, found a spot by myself, and enjoyed an hour. I'm not one who loves to "do lunch" during my work day. Lunch time was my escape. I especially loved it when I saw students doing a Bible study together - what a joy in contrast to all of the talk of others about what they did last night or over the week-end - and it wasn't studying! I could never figure out how they get through school when their week nights were spent in party mode - and wondered if their parents had a clue how their money was being wasted.

Or you can eat in the atrium and enjoy the beauty to the west.

On warm spring and summer days, I always found myself here with my lunch and my book.

See those trees up there on the patio? They are surrounded with an iron grate - the trees are actually growing in the middle of the patio. Like this:

I was walking to one of the picnic tables one beautiful spring day four years ago when my foot went into this very hole - the tree was very uncentered in the hole - I was suddenly in the most horendous pain - I dragged myself over to the table and sat there trying to catch my breath, and figure out how I was going to get back to my office - probably two blocks across the grass. I ended up calling my office and one of our work study students went to the health center, got some crutches, and helped me get back to my office. If I had thought about it being Worker's Comp, I would have definitely called an ambulance. I was in a boot for several weeks, and in physical therapy for six weeks. It still causes me trouble on occasion.

This is a view looking down into the basement area of the student center. See that little green circle with a line through it? That is the water line during that 1997 flood that I talked about earlier.

Here's another angle - it was total devastation in so many buildings. The deeply disguised blessing is that many buildings had upgrades that were not scheduled for many years, and they happened because of insurance.



Susie said...

What a lovely tour around all your special spots on campus. It looks like a really nice place to go to college.
I do wish you were being recognized for all your years of hard work and devotion to this job. It's obvious you put your heart and soul into it.

nancygrayce said...

What a sweet bunch of memories. My sister left her job of many years and they didn't do a send off....she was really hurt too. After a few weeks of adjustment to home life, you'll be so happy! You will someday think "wow, how did I do all this AND work".

I'm still praying for your family. I saw that K's blog went private. I'll miss reading her and seeing those cuties!

Nadine said...

What lovely memories. The campus is really nice and your pictures makes feel like I was there.

I pray that this next phase in life will bring you more joy than you can imagine or would expect. Be blessed.

Diane J. said...

It's good that you took all these pictures and put all this down on "paper", so to speak. As much as you're looking forward to your retirement, you can't spend so much time in the same place day in and day out over 15 years' time and not get attached to the place, the people and the routine.

I'll be watching for "the rest of the story". ;o)

Have a great last week at work, Dawn. Maybe they're going to throw you a surprise retirement party.... Hope so anyway. As Susie said, you should be honored and recognized for your years of service there.

Still praying and I also noticed that Kristen's blog went private.

Love and hugs,


Maine Mom said...

I am so glad you were able to complete your procedures manual before the weekend and before you have to use it this week. Good luck training this week.

I enjoyed the tour of your campus and the memories you shared.

To answer your questions about the school year here...It really doesn't get hot, hot here until July, so being in school in mid-June is not a problem weather-wise. If we have a hot day, they turn the lights off and use fans. They go back to school September 2nd.

julie said...

Wow, there's a blast from the past! It is a beautiful place--with lots to do. I liked walking from class to class...on nice days when I didn't have to try to get across campus (which took 20 minutes) in a snow storm. :)

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Thank you for sharing your memories with us! It looks like a lovely campus - and reminded me of all of the fun times that I had on mine. :)

Morning Glory said...

I hope you have a really nice final week. The walking tour was lovely. Sort of like a reward for finishing the manual!

Midlife Mom said...

What a nice walk down memory lane with you. Did you kick that tree when you went by for making you trip in the hole!?! lol! It was interesting seeing the water line in the buildings. I just can't imagine what damage must have taken place. I should go back and read your post about it.
I too have been trying to visit Kristin's blog and have been unable. Will keep praying, hope everything is okay!!!

Penless Thoughts said...

Major life changes always come with both emotions, great sadness in closing the door and great eagerness in opening the new one. Very much like a young person graduating from high school, or leaving a home you raised your children in for a brand new one of your dreams, etc.

Barb said...

What a beautiful campus, Dawn. I especially appreciate all these photos because it gives me a view of where Aaron is going to school right now.

You never know - maybe there's some kind of surprise planned for your last day? At any rate, I know there are a lot of people there who are sorry to see you go - you'll be missed.

Nancy said...

I loved this tour. It reminds me of the buildings at our community college. I guess they were built at the same time.

I know you will be missed even if they don't have a formal goodbye... maybe they are planning a surprise! At any rate, your legacy will live on not only in your procedure manual but in the lives that you have touched in your kind gentle way. Your Christian life, through example, has planted many seeds that will continue to sprout long after you are gone. This is a bitter sweet time; enjoy, reflect, shed a few tears, and get ready for the best years of your life!

Linda said...

It really is a lovely campus Dawn. I can understand the tears. We have a way of putting the unpleasant things out of mind and remembering the good things. I think that's wonderful.
You are about to enter a really special time of life. I know you're going to love it.

Michelle said...

Thanks for all the lovely pictures. It is nice to see something through someone else's memories. Even if the don't formally acknowledge you leaving, hopefully you will still leave with positive reminders of your time there.

Needled Mom said...

I so enjoyed the walk around with you. I hope that down the road you will always remember the wonderful memories that you made during your many years there. I will be thinking of you as you finish up your days there.

The little girls are darling. They are growing up so quickly. Isn't it amazing how fast the time goes?

I chuckled at your afghan because I am working on one of those ripple patterns in the car as we drive. Knitting has always been my favorite and I decided to crochet this one. What was I thinking????

We are in Nebraska tonight and headed to Colorado tomorrow. We will be in Colorado Springs visiting friends and then onto Grand Junction to visit some more friends. The trip has been such fun and so relaxing.

Mary said...


I loved the tour. The campus is beautiful and the statue of the ram caught my eye. Lovely!

I'm so sorry that there has been no word of a send-off for you. After 15 years that would be very hurtful.

I will keep you in my prayers that you adjust well to your retirement. I know you will be spending a lot of time with the girlies.

Love and blessings,

Sharon Lynne said...

What a nice thing to take a photography tour. This was your home away from home. A comfortable yet challenging place. Well...nothing last forever. And that's what makes life interesting.

I'm glad you had some time to walk around and say "good-bye" to your favorite places and memories. The campus is beautiful.

The grand children are beautiful too--all four of them! I love the knit jumper you made for Kristin. ---Kevin looks so cute in that cowboy hat!

Linds said...

I loved walking around with you, Dawn, and seeing all the places which have been so integral to your life at work. Nostalgia is good at times. The memories are always there.

This has been a huge part of your life. But there is so much to look forward to as well. Well done for finishing the manual! I am so glad you have some time now to wander round and take photos too. In a way, it looks quite similar to the uni David is going to in September.

Christa said...

Nice pictures, a walk down memory lane. Are they giving you a retirement party/send off?

Lala's world said...

wow what a lot of memories for sure! I am still trying to destress after leaving last week!
are you planning on going away at all right away? I wish I had cuz I keep waking up thinking I am going to be late for work!

Tammy said...

What a wonderful tour...

I know this is such a bittersweet time, Dawn. But it's nice to have these days to slowly say good-bye to this phase in your life.

I'm 45 and have never worked outside the home in one place for very long- certainly not 15 years!

You'll have such special memories (good and not so good) from this long history here!