I was fortunate to be able to retire early due to a teacher "buy out" program. Oh okay, I'll be honest. The district paid teachers to retire early to help with budget, but I had saved privately for this day, so I said, "why not."
I moved back to Rochester to be closer to my family. I bought a double over by what's left of Kodak Business Park, and my younger brother Paul rents the upstairs apartment; and it's just a short jaunt through the city to see Phil.
On a bright note, I am thankful for my brothers and Phil's daughters as well as some high school friends I have kept in contact with over the years and new friends who have come into my life. As I get older I realize the importance of friends. In fact, several former students are now friends, and it is so much fun seeing the start families and using Facebook to watch their children grow up.
I recently joined Irondequoit Presbyterian Church on Culver Rd. and found a new family of truly amazing people. After my parents' deaths I didn't think I could even go into a church, but this small congregation captured my heart. I sing in the choir and play chimes in the chime choir so I am keeping up with my musical training.
I still remember laughing with John McDermott over anything and everything, laughing at Mr. Crane's "jokes", waiting to hear Mr. Ahrens say "take out the ole pine box", hanging out in Mr. Nigro's office in the morning, leaving school to have lunch at Schaller's, going for pizza at Ricci's after school events, and getting my one-and-only detention from Mr. Best for not signing out at the end of the day, which I actually spent getting a 30 minute drink (Is there a statue of limitations for this?).
I also remember coming back late from Schaller's with some others and entering chorus through that room's outside door eating an ice cream cone; Mr. Zechinno never even got mad. And what about our chorus exchange trip with a chours in Lake Odessa, Michigan. I remember being shocked when Mr. Falth showed up for the concert. I also remember that we could sing "religious" music. :-)
We were all lucky to grow up in the times we did. While temptations did exist, families were still basically in tact and mattered, neighbors looked out for neighbors, and we found pleasure in simple things like float-making, sporting events, and school dances.