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 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 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.