Lynell’s Retirement

Hi Friends… It’s been a long while since I last posted any of my offerings. Nothing has bubbled out of my brain lately… what can I say?

And then… one day… a good buddy, Fred Burgos, called and asked me to produce a poem to commemorate his wife and my close friend, Lynell’s, retirement from the teaching profession. There was to be a gala party in about a week. Upon receipt of this request, I went absolutely blank. There was a moment that I almost called Fred with a sad and defeated admission that, “Sorry Fred, I ain’t got nothing.”

I’ve known Lynell for many years and just why my brain went dormant is unexplainable. I started jotting down a few remembrances, came up with a beginning and an end and the poem really took off. It seemed that my thoughts came together and really started to flow, as my assignment began to write itself. My best poems seem to do this. Things just click. With lots of polishing and word substitution, what follows is the from the heart result. There are names and specific situations that might not make a lot of sense to you but I think the warm sentiment comes across strongly. Stash

The Story of Lynell Burgos*
* This poem is based on fact but if truth be known… I made a lot of this stuff up.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl,
Who grew up in a Patterson world.
While her best friends played with dolls
Or went swimming at the beach,
Lynell always said… “I just wanna teach!”

This ambitious young lady eventually grew up.

Lynell loved her mom, Pat and siblings Rick and Dar…
But as soon as she could, she took her car…
Bidding a fond farewell
To her warm Polish/Italian “home-a” *… (*said with a heavy Italian accent)
She went to secure a teaching diploma.

(*Author’s note: Sorry for the bad rhyme but hey, what rhymes with diploma?)

To continue…Eureka! Our girl snagged herself a job!

Working in Patterson was a dream come true…
And it was clear to everyone she knew
That the art of teaching children
Was something that was meant to be,…
Written in the stars… it was her destiny.

Yep, teaching was her joy but then… she met a boy.

Most folks know the fellow about whom I’m speakin’…
He’s Freddie Burgos, a handsome Puerto Rican.
Well, you know how things sometimes happen…
First came love and then came marriage…
Then came Lynell pushing a baby carriage.

They had three beautiful, energetic daughters…
First Danielle and then the twins, Rachie and Melissa…
Time out from teaching… for a while… and then…

Back to the classroom but now in the Hub City,
Where classes were lively and kids could be gritty,
She taught children of all ages…
From the pee-wee little fidgety tykes
To kids entering puberty… yowie… yikes!

Lynell has taught in New Brunswick for sixty-three years
During which time there’s been both laughter and tears.
(This might be an exaggeration but sometimes it sure felt that long.)
During her tenure there were wins and losses
And God All Mighty, there were all those bosses!

Years of Ron Larkin, Penny Lattimer and Richie Kaplan…
All Christmas presents but without shiny wrappin’.
(Folks with their feet on the ground but with their heads… in the clouds.)
Administrators with all the charm they could muster…
Usually plenty of hot air and lots of boss bluster.

Then there were the principals…

Bernie Stark, Bob Boyler and Ed Chobrda…
Perhaps these are names that you’ve never heard of.
(Lynell’s a gal, who’s been around.)
Kathy Antoine-Smith and Vikki Abdus-Salaam.
They’re still here but Lynell’s soon gonna be gone.

But these weren’t the only ones, who came waltzing into her room.

Barbara Oxfeld, Rachel Bethea and Lilian Gray…
They always had very interesting things to say.
The State Inquisitors visited regularly…
As did the starry-eyed child study teams,
With 504 plans that sprang from their dreams.

Time’s running short and there’s plenty I’ve not mentioned to you…
The Three Amigos, “Watergate break-ins” and the silly things we’d do
But you wouldn’t understand these things anyway…
The fashion police, studying the red binders, getting her Masters….
Bake sales, fund raisers and class trip disasters.

But enough of this nostalgia…
Lynell, you’re gonna beat Christie to the punch…
You’re retiring!

Time to exit and grab the “golden parachute”.
No more lesson plans, observations… no morning commute.
Every night will be Friday night, every morning, Saturday morning.
A lady of leisure, you can Zumba every day…
Sleep late and wake only when it’s time to play.

Goodbyes are always bittersweet but remember this…

During your years in the classroom, you’ve impacted many lives.
Like a gardener, your students have grown strong and thrived.
You’ve built bridges with students, parents and colleagues…
So, it’s important to remember that retirement is not an end…
Because… each person you’ve touched will be forever a friend.

Congratulations Lynell, ya made it! Welcome to the club.


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