Yesterday, my husband and I attended a retirement for one amazing lady known to all as Miss Evie. Evie has worked at his school for the last 24 years, but has been active at many schools long before that. Now at the age of 84, she has decided to retire. I only see Evie once a while, but each time she holds my face in both hands and looks me right in the eyes as she tells me how great it is to see me. She is the perfect mix of sweetness and spunk.
The spunk surfaces at carpool duty. She loves carpool duty. Who loves carpool duty? Evie will forever be remembered as the lady with the Mickey Mouse gloves directing traffic in the car loop. She has no problems telling parents to stop talking on their cell phones as she waves the cars through the line with the vigor of someone half her age. As I helped my husband create a tribute slideshow for her, I couldn't believe the number of carpool pictures! There were pictures of Princess Evie at carpool, Evie as Daisy Duck, Franklin the Turtle, Goofy, a cowgirl, and one of her holding a sign with a big arrow pointing to Los Angeles for which no one can seem to remember the reason. To want to be out there, in her eighties, dressed in full costume in the scorching Florida heat...that's amazing.
There were stories about how she saved the school breakfast program by cooking eggs at home and bringing them in every morning until the funding was restored. Past principals and co-workers spoke through both tears and laughter recounting their years with Evie. In one tribute, the staff sang "You are my Sunshine" with the words altered to suit Evie. As Evie thanked everyone for coming, she started to sing "You are my Sunshine" to us and of course we all started singing together. If there was still a dry eye in the house by that time, the singing put an end to that.
As I watched the outpouring of love for Evie and her reaction to it, I was so grateful that a woman so deserving was being honored in such a special way. So Evie starts a new chapter of her life as a retiree. Enjoy it Evie. You will be so very missed, especially in the car loop.
If someone special is retiring from your school this year, a great tribute gift to them would be an alphabet book. Have students and staff create pages for a special, one of a kind memento. I wish I would have thought of this sooner for Evie! C for Costumes and Carpool, M for Mickey Mouse Gloves, P for her famous Pea Soup. Here's a free Alphabet Book Template if you need one.