Anne Notations

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

‘How was your last day at work?’


What might have been a sad day was not. Overnight the heat and humidity fled before a cool front, and early this morning I walked Daisy with a sweet breeze ruffling my hair and a pale three-quarters moon hovering over the water in a blue true sky.

At the office, Mary had brought a huge sack of fresh bagels and three kinds of cream cheese, and Juli came in with amazing pastries and muffins from Seven Stars. Sandy and I spent much of the day finishing a thorough clean-out of our respective offices – and they are more than offices; they have been our professional homes for decades. The stack of materials I gathered for recycling included Brown student directories going back to 1971-72, my sophomore year! – this one inscribed on the front in turquoise Flair pen, "Anne Hinman, Emery Hall." Why did I still have it nearly 40 years later? Who knows. Now I've sent it on to become a new piece of paper and freed myself of a useless thing I've dragged with me all these years.

All day, colleagues stopped by or called. Friends sent sweet e-cards: "Thinking of you." It was a day for remembering and laughing. Kate gave me the biggest, squeeziest hug ever, and Martha brought a nosegay of fragrant lavender tied with a bow. Computer guru Peter wore his "Life is Good" T-shirt and scrambled to erase the hard drives of the five of us leaving by day's end, one of whom was himself, alas. (On the plus side, he begins a new job tomorrow.) My boss came up late in the day to say good-bye and that she was sorry; I believe her. Carrie adopted my ficus plant and carried the microwave oven to my car as I left for the last time.

When I picked up Melinda in front of the South Main Street law firm where she is working this summer, she didn't launch into the usual litany of funny stories about her job, but looked hard at me and asked, "So, Mother – How was your last day at work?" She gave my arm a sympathetic squeeze. "I had a really nice day, actually," I replied. Her warm hand lingered on my forearm.

Tonight: A taste of my life after August, when I'll be on my own 5.5 days a week. Right now Melinda is at Target with Brittney, Kevin at a movie with Mike E., Michael in Connecticut. At home it's just me, Daisy, and the parakeets. As the sun floated lower this evening, I picked a few tomatoes and watered the petunias. I sat for a moment in the porch rocker and watched the soft white sails of a racing fleet in the bay.

I stopped. I breathed. I smelled the roses.

8 Comments:

  • Peace and love to you, dear. Thank you for sharing the beauty in this day with us, much as you've shared the beauty in many, many days, for many, many years.

    I look forward to your continued gifts delivered from other rooms, even as we take time to mourn the loss of the ones you've just left.

    Breathing. Smelling the roses. Such good ideas. Such gifts from God to you. Such gifts you have the wisdom to accept.

    By Blogger Marsosudiro, at Thu Jul 01, 12:01:00 AM EDT  

  • Great post. This is weird, but I am feeling sad and nostalgic. I wonder how many of your friends and fans (your frands?) feel like they are losing an important connection too? Definitely the end of an era.

    Let the the rest of your life begin. Kind of exciting.

    By Blogger Katherine Hinds, at Thu Jul 01, 07:19:00 AM EDT  

  • I am moved to tears...it is the strength and poignancy of your words that pulls at the heart...to take such a situation and make it positive takes much grace and love. I love you, Anne, you are an inspiration to me.

    By Blogger Marie, at Thu Jul 01, 09:08:00 AM EDT  

  • There is sweetness, grace, and beauty in your message. You have achieved a level of peace and understanding I am still struggling to find nearly four years after I faced similar circumstances (although I did not have the blessings of the beneficence and benedictions of colleagues to ease my way out the door; for the most part, I simply "disappeared"). I know you will find a wonderful new life, and I say that because I have, here on this mountaintop in California. Find your own mountain. I know you will. Much love.

    By Anonymous Andrew Beierle, at Thu Jul 01, 10:52:00 AM EDT  

  • I was a year behind you, Anne, living in Woolley while you were in Emery. Played 4 years on the Pandas, too. I always enjoyed seeing your name in the BAM - felt like there was representation from "our era." Thanks for so many years of work, and so many lives touched with your words. Life goes on... and we go with it. Peace - PJ Hamel

    By Blogger PJH, at Thu Jul 01, 05:43:00 PM EDT  

  • Your words remind me (as if I would ever forget!) how very much I will miss your presence here on campus, but I'm so glad we can still be in each other's lives. Many blessings to you, and I look forward to an Iggy's rendezvous soon!

    By Blogger Dorcey Baker, at Fri Jul 02, 04:56:00 PM EDT  

  • And your friends will all be there in August if you need us-- all you have to do is call. :

    An invitation to come and sit on your porch with you would be better though!

    XOXO,

    JM

    By Anonymous JM, at Thu Jul 08, 04:01:00 PM EDT  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger marjesvy village, at Mon Aug 02, 11:18:00 PM EDT  

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