For nineteen years of my life as a Camden City Public School teacher, May was a rush to the finish. I’m not going to comment on the way everything changed in the last five or so years, but … I’ll say one word–sigh. However, I have to say that I miss the kids. Loved them so much.
This second May of retirement in Cramer Hill brings gratitude for time to concentrate on family and myself. I’m not panting for the last day of school anymore.
I got me a granddaughter in retirement! Reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, watching kids dance the Mexican Hat Dance on YouTube and playing ball make up my most recent time with my grandbaby, Nora. I do other grandmotherly things–picking up puzzle pieces, retrieving bits of veggies dropped from the high chair and changing poopy diapers. I call those activities–Nora-cise. I can’t let myself lie in bed with a Kindle all day–I need the Nora-cise. It might be corny to say, but when she smooths my face with her little hand my heart fills with joy. It’s perfect to love someone so much and to have that love returned so purely. It’s like having my daughter Kim all over again. Double the fun.
My mom is ninety-one and I’m sixty-six. Our relationship has changed since she got older. (Oh, and I guess I got older, too?) I brush her hair, help her get dressed and make food for her when I’m at her house. This was odd for me when she first accepted help. My mother was a fiercely independent woman and she never wanted us to make even a cup of coffee for her. “I’ll do it myself!” Now she enjoys having me make a cup of coffee for her, even if it’s too hot, too cold, too sweet, too weak or too strong. We sit at the dining room table where she has reigned for decades and we color. I color faster, but she colors more precisely. “It’s good to be busy,”she says as she searches for the correct color.
I did cross off a few bucket list items that were “me” items. I took a nine-day solo vacation to Ireland and Switzerland and survived. The worst that happened was that I lost my hat and spare gloves and the best was that I returned with a clear mind–once the jet lag disappeared. I’m so glad that I did it–the night before I almost changed my mind!
It’s good to have personal projects that would have been hard to squeeze in as a busy teacher. I made a cousins’ website and I am writing my blog. I joined Ancestry.com and love what I am learning about world and American history, geography, immigration and family–never realized genealogy would be fascinating.
I haven’t become the perfect person that I imagined that I would be–sorry, world! However, I thank God for these two years and the innumerable blessings that they have brought. All of them would need many more blogs to tell you.
I’m grateful to have this May in retirement. Hugs to all the teachers that I left behind. I salute you! And…I salute retirement.
How about you, dear readers? How is your May?
Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra
Cramer Hill resident, former ESL teacher
8 thoughts on “Retirement Reflections of a former Camden teacher who lives in Camden”
typo oh no take the s from teachers
I SO enjoy your blog! This piece is just WONDERFUL!! Enjoy your retirement and your Nora xo
Thank you, Sandy. I love your FB posts. Isn’t it funny how after decades of not knowing about WWHS classmates that the new world of electronic communication has connected people? Being a grandmother is even better than it is cracked up to be. She is napping now…a long nap…so I wrote a super fast blog. Hope you have a wonderful spring with your family. xoxoxo
Marguerite, thanks to you is in order! Ernst found me after contacting you looking for his friends from Lausanne. I’m thrilled to hear from him and now to be in touch with you. I think so often of our wonderful time in Switzerland. That was a dream come true for me who never thought I’d travel to Europe. Such a long time ago and oh how the world has changed!
I’m currently living in Merritt Island, Fl with my husband Tom. We moved here two years ago to be close to Tom’s mother who is 93 and still just as spry and with it as you can imagine. This past year I was diagnosed with leukemia and spent 6 months at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. A tough struggle, but I’m now cancer free and can’t say enough about Moffitt and their staff and services! Now just working on regaining my strength and getting back to enjoying life.
Love your blog and so happy to be in touch!
Claire Wimpling Guy
Claire, what a thrill to hear from you. I’ll be in touch tonight! Love, Marguerite
Wow really enjoyed reading it! Thank you for giving us an insight into the life after retirement! I’m glad that you decided to take the solo trip abroad. Traveling by yourself is humbling and it really makes you aware of others more and it’s a great way of finding yourself.
My May is going pretty good, putting on a Spring play for the students. I re-wrote the Wiz (wizard of Oz) and I’m really excited and so are the kids!
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Nice blog post, Marguerite…keep writing! Interesting to read Claire’s reply, too. Enjoy Nora and May. Hope to be able to see you sometime this summer!
Thanks, Zana. I would love to see you this summer. I almost fell over to see Claire’s message. What a good surprise! Hugs.