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(Made in 1985)

Some 20-Odd Years Later

My friend Dorothy was the Chair of the English Department when I started teaching at the high school. I made this little box for her when she retired. More than 20 years later, my daughter found the photos that she took outdoors in the grass of our front yard on the day I was to take it to Dorothy.

Dorothy was a terrifc Chair, with just that combination of toughness and likability to be effective. She made sure we met all the district requirements, which were quite stringent in those days, including having us turn in weekly lesson plans, okaying our six-weeks tests and final exams, and checking the folders that the district required we keep each semester with samples of the work of the highest and lowest achieving students.

We were an iconoclastic, energetic, enthusiastic group, and she was adept at keeping us in line, and at the same time making us feel that we could do anything. Dorothy gave wonderful parties for the department at Christmas and at the end of school (and for special occasions like someone's marriage, pregnancy or moving away), and was held in high regard. She told anyone who would listen, including School Board members who came to her parties, that we were "The Best English Department In El Paso," and they and we all believed it.

Dorothy always kept a box of Kleenex on the corner of her desk, which were used freely by her students, fellow teachers, and even the principal on occasion. So, when she retired in 1985, it was obvious to me that I owuld make her a little gift in a clear plastic Kleenex box. (I bought every one of those boxes I could find, and have used them over the years for various little settings, including Grandchildren's Projects. I still have a couple left!)

Although the pictures are not too clear after all these years, they make me smile because this was one of my very earliest miniature settings. (I like to think I've improved since then. lol)

I had such fun putting things together to symbolize Dorothy's freedom from bells, schedules and deadlines...

... including the phone off the hook.

A rocking chair, an ongoing game of Solitaire, detective novels to read, a serape to toss over her legs in the evening chill, and refreshments. Naturally this clear Kleenext box had to have a miniature box of blue tissues, too (just like the ones she kept on her desk).

Now she would have the time to eat doughnuts and drink coffee, read the cards that came from her teaching friends, and open the gifts that we bestowed on her at our final English Department party.

Unfortunately, Dorothy's health was not good, and she didn't get to enjoy a very long retirement before she passed away.

After all these years, the discovery of these pictures by my darling daughter brings a tear to my eye as I recall my goodbye to a fine teacher, an exceptional woman, and good friend, and the Chair of "The Best English Department in El Paso."





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