Belle's party never came to be but I don't think she was as disappointed as she was angry that Suit persuaded her to cancel it. She is actually quite reserved and does not like to be the center of attention.
I did not want Belle's last teaching days go unnoticed, no matter what she wanted. Wednesday one teacher got her to leave the marking room and I made a quick appeal for $10 a person to buy her a gift. My normally cheap department tripped over one another giving me money. The newbies who barely know her contributed. Mr. T, the cheapest man on earth not only threw in his money but money for someone else. Before I knew it, I had over $200 in an envelope in my hand and it was up to me to find the perfect gift.
Ms. H told me that Belle loves crystal and suggested a Waterford picture frame. I headed out to Fortunoff's and found one I hoped she and everyone else would like. I also stopped and bought a big bouquet of flowers. At 1:30 we all took a break from marking to present Belle with her flowers and her gift and a little speech:
I cannot let Belle leave without saying a few words about her and to her, publicly. Belle, I know that you have been counting down to this day since the first day I met you in lounge twenty two years ago. In fact, I know that if I want to talk to you, and you are not teaching, you will still be in that same ladies’ room.
Belle, now that you will not be working, you will have time to pursue your secret, X- rated interests. You will have long hours, alone at home, to peruse the Internet to find those perverted jokes that we all know you love. You pretend to be shy and innocent but that red face and smile always give you away. **** and %%%% will have to e-mail you your daily dose of perversion.
One of my fondest memories of you is the day, many years ago, when you got up five minutes early to leave while marking regents. You tried so hard to be inconspicuous but &&& yelled out “half day, Ms Belle” and you turned the loveliest shade of red.
Now that you are free you can also pursue your interests of finding **** a girlfriend. I know that you know his likes and dislikes and will do your best to find him a companion, maybe your mom, so he can join you in retirement bliss.
Seriously, Belle, you have been one of the most wonderful colleagues anyone could ever ask for. We all could depend upon you for help and inspiration. Your worksheets are terrific. Your kindness is inspirational. You gave the kids the extra love and caring that most of us cannot do. At the same time, you kept your standards and taught them well. You left an indelible mark on the lives of the children you taught. These kids learned math and a lot more from you. As you go on to the next phase of your life, remember us all and how much we love you.
Belle was thrilled with the gifts and thrilled with the attention. It was just enough to make he feel really good without feeling overly self conscious.
The students at our school are losing one of the best teachers ever. Does anyone in power care? They are happy to get one over paid teacher on maximum salary off the payroll.