You know how some women have that group of friends with whom they share their souls? Well this is my group... most of them anyway.. a few couldn't make it this day, but we tried. Actually this is one of the biggest crowds we have had in several years.
When I had my first teaching job at Gorman Middle School in Colorado Springs, I was privileged enough to work with some of the best people in the world. In fact I don't think I have ever worked with anyone before or since with whom I have been closer.
Many of us were first year or only a couple of years into our teaching careers, but we had our sages too, who befriended and guided us. I worked at that school for four years with my teaching teammate, Jill, who is standing on the far left. It was a time of learning and growing and getting to know our craft as well as ourselves. Jill and I were a two-person team, for three of the four years we worked together; our first year together we taught with a man on a three person team. She taught the sixth grade math and science, while I taught the language arts and social studies. She has taken some years off from teaching and is just returning full time this year to teach second grade.
On the other side of me to the right are ToniRae and Tina. They were both eighth grade teachers. ToniRae mostly taught on a two-person team, teaching the same subjects as me: language arts and social studies. Tina taught social studies on a four-person. ToniRae still teaches eighth grade history, but in a different town. Tina is still in our district but is a principal.
Sue is the second in from the right. She was our library media specialist. She still has the same job only now at a high school in a different district.
Libby rounds out the day's group on the far right. She taught sixth grade math and language arts right next door to me. She was on a two-person team for a while, but then was on a three-person team and job-shared with one of our missing members. Libby teaches fifth grade now at an elementary school in another district and town.
Missing from our gathering were Andrea, one of Libby's team on the three-person, who taught sixth grade language arts and social studies; Lisa B., who was the third on that team and she taught the science, Michele, who taught sixth grade language arts and social studies and was a roommate of mine in college; Lori, who was our PTA president and served with us on many committees; and Collyn, who was a seventh grade math and science teacher and then one of our assistant principals. All of these great ladies are still in education in some way or fashion, some in the same district, others have moved on to different towns and/or districts. Except Lori, whose daughters were our students and since they are both grown now, she doesn't have to be so intricately involved in the schools. I am sure her presence is missed!
I served on committees with all of these ladies in some way or another... social studies steering committee, a special program where we received a grant to help boost student achievement, school planning and management team, sixth grade team, and so on. It was always my privilege to work with them.
However, the truest indicator of our friendship, and to really show how special these ladies are to me, happened when I had just separated from my ex-husband. It was one of my darkest times. I had just had my son about a month and a half earlier, I had a four-year old daughter that had lots of questions, and my marriage was in self-destruct mode. Sue called me up to see how I was doing. I was living in a different city than we had all taught in. In fact, many of us had moved away, and we were kind of spread up and down the Front Range of Colorado. She asked me what I needed. I had no clue. She asked what needed to be done at the house. I just blurted out that my garden needed to be weeded. She said she would call everyone and see what time would work for most. About a week or two later, Sue, Jill, Libby, Andrea, and Lisa B. showed up at my house, and we all weeded my garden for a day. I still cannot even tell that story or write it down without welling up with tears. The fact that they loved and cared for me so much that they would sacrifice a day to come and weed my garden is still something that I cannot recount without tears. Tears of gratitude, tears of love, tears that show how deeply touched my soul was by their kind and simple act!
I am truly blessed to be part of such a fantastic group of ladies. I would do anything for them as they have shown they would do for me. I hope you have a group on which you could call to do those simple things like lift your spirit whenever you hear their voices or get to spend a fun day chatting and catching up as we did this past Friday. Thanks girls! I will plan something again for next summer!
|Some of the younger children of the group from our most recent gathering.|