Saturday, June 16, 2007

Today's the first day of retirement, officially that is. We spent much of the morning getting camping gear ready, and then a nice chunk of time at the emergency room as Allen pulled down the Coleman cookstove on his head, earning six stitches around his right eye and a massive black eye. No damage directly to the eye is a good thing. I'm not sure yet we're leaving tomorrow morning as a result, so we'll wait and see.

I don't feel retired, but what a series of celebrations this last week has been, not the least being getting final grades in (a few student crises kept me reading until late Thursday night). Whew! And then we took down my office for the last 23 years, all the prints from Mexico, market scenes, Frida Khalo prints, the bird huipil from Lago Atitlan, Guatemala, a prayer rug from Iran, a set of three African dolls. The papers I gladly gifted to colleagues and most of these books went as well. Now my workspace shifts to a new PC laptop (Vista, ole!) and to my own writing projects.

The retirement party was a blast, highlighted by Peter's revision of a scene from Shakespeare's The Tempest, complete with Pers-pero casting spells over our future journeys. The performance was unforgettable for words and costume, friends and family came from everywhere -- even Pennsylania -- and Rachel and Nick played violin/viola with full orchestral sound. Ah! Am I now officially retired, saying goodbye to friends and colleagues? Many hugs and accolades and gifts, not the least being a wonderful scrapbook of photos taken through the years, created by Jane, or new writing journals that tuck into backpacks, and not the gold watch, but a trekker watch with a compass, so I don't get lost along the way.

The last surprise was being named Distinguished Faculty for Linn-Benton Community College, an annual award officially announced each September, but our LBCC president Rita Cavin came to our English Department holistic reading to honor Tammi's graduation -- and my nomination and selection. In September, we'll be travelling somewhere in the wilds of Canada. Yes, it all seems like a dream, a beautiful dream that to a seventeen year old girl was unattainable, but year by year and class by class, job by job, and with the help of many, somehow attained. Tomorrow -- on the road again, I hope! Beth