I remember watching Johnny Carson's last show before he retired. He came out onto the stage, sat on a bench, and said, "And so, it has come down to this." Then he gave a nice speech about his years on the Tonite Show and left, and we rarely saw him in public again. Well, I'm not going to disappear from Spark, but after nearly breaking down at my retirement luncheon yesterday, don't expect any public speeches from me--it's too embarrassing to cry in front of everyone!
But I have been very emotional the last few days. Two of my bosses who have retired were at the luncheon yesterday (it was a combined Christmas luncheon and a retirement luncheon, I didn't want a big to-do just for me!), and I knew they came just for me, which was nice. They rarely have attended the Christmas parties in the past. One of them brought me a card, and the other brought me flowers! But I missed Roy, one of my bosses who retired at the end of 2003. I assumed he was in Arizona, where he & his wife have a second home, both his boys live there and I think they have a new grandchild, so they spend a lot of time there. One of my current bosses told me later, that he had received a letter from Roy, which he gave me. It is the nicest letter I think I have ever received and I will treasure it.
Here I am at yesterday's luncheon. Next to me is one of my current profs/bosses. I look like Bucky Beaver!
I have saved a lot of things from my trip to New York and plan to make a scrapbook, when I retire. Now I may have to make another scrapbook about my retirement, I got so many nice things yesterday. Old friends came and even my middle son, daughter-in-law and adorable granddaughter Mia came for lunch. I told my family they didn't need to come, but middle son has always been the thoughtful one. I forgot my camera, so asked him to take some pictures for me on his cell phone.
When I got up this morning and went downstairs, youngest son had finally gotten home after a long railroad trip (he was gone for 45 hours), and had stopped for donuts. He said, "I got you a donut to celebrate your next-to-last day of work. I said "A glazed donut?" Sure enough, in the little white bag was a lovely fresh glazed doughnut, which I ate WITHOUT GUILT. I won't have my cereal and banana for breakfast though as I usually do about 9 a.m., and I am already missing that. A donut is a rare treat, but I had no retirement cake yesterday, so I haven't gone completely off the deep end!
BIG snow is predicted in these parts starting this afternoon. To tell the truth, I am hopeful it will be enough that they will close the University tomorrow and I won't have to come in for my last day. I plan to take everything home tonight, all that is left here is my 35-year clock (so I know what time it is), and one framed football poster, and a little tin box, in which I have kept all my passwords for all the computer accounts I have. I know you're not supposed to write them down, but who can remember a million different passwords? Not this old woman!
I have been cleaning my office and taking personal things home for over a month now. It's amazing what you can accumulate after 35 years! I have been in this same building and department here at the University the entire time. Only 3 professors in this department have been here longer than me, and I expect all 3 of them to retire soon. I have, however, been moved to 6 different offices in this building in those 35 years. In 1990, they built a huge addition to our building, tripling the size. We share our building with the Food Science Department and the new area is theirs, while we retained most of the old building. When they finished with the new building which adjoins the old one, they moved our department temporarily into it, while they completely remodeled our old building, and we moved back 6 months later. I have been in my current office for close to 20 years I think. When I started working here in July 1977, I was 5 months pregnant with my middle son (the thoughtful one). I didn't tell anyone, I was heavy and you couldn't tell I was pregnant anyway. Back then, discrimination against hiring pregnant women was rampant, and we had just moved into a new house and I needed a job. But I only needed to work part-time, so I found a job where I worked every morning, 20 hours a week. Worked beautifully when my oldest son started to school in August, since he was in school until noon. I continued working those part time hours, eventually going to 5 hours a day and taking Fridays off, until 1988, when I began working full time, 40 hours per week. I did that until three years ago when I started taking Fridays off, and cut back to a 32-hour week in preparation for my retirement. I have loved having my Fridays off, but I know I will love being home all the time even more. When I was home this summer, recovering from my hysterectomy, I never got bored and I didn't gain weight, those were my two biggest fears, along with not having enough money. We will have to wait and see how the money situation works out. You never know until the checks start coming in and you see how much you actually will get. Taxes take a chunk too, even in retirement and hubby will have to pay more for health insurance since I will no longer be working here too, and the University's contribution toward our health care will be cut in half. But I think we will muddle through, as we have always done. There's never been an abundance of money at our house, but as my husband has been fond of saying, "we've had a lot of fun."
I think I will find that, as my retired boss said in his letter to me yesterday, "Retirement will truly be one of the best times of my life!"