- When we heard that Ellie Lash and Virginia Singer were retiring this year, we thought, “Who better to ask to write a tribute than one for the other?” Ellie and Virginia had recently co-authored a “Goodbye poem” for two voices that they shared with the LS faculty when announcing their retirement. They have kindly agreed to share this with us as their tribute to each other. Ellie has taught at the Lower School for 31 years and Virginia for 28 years. They think they have been co-teachers for about 20 years, but who is counting? Thank you, Ellie and Virginia!!
- Virginia Singer
by Ellie Lash and Virginia Singer
You’re not old, Mrs. Singer, her partner once said
And your hair is still mostly mouse brown.
So why do you contemplate leaving this place
To make trouble and traipse about town?
In my youth I was wild,
Rode fast bikes and drank wine,
But now I’ve reformed as you surely have seen
Teaching children has kept me in line.
That’s not true Mrs. Singer, you do just as you please
You continue to question and doubt
You won’t do as your told, you won’t follow the rules
Chaos theory is what you’re about.
And you Mrs. Lash, her good partner replied
Are remarkably youthful and spry
With your fine Quaker values so honest and true
What new fish could you possibly fry?
As a youngster I taught here, and then in Vermont
Where I learned about yoga and farming
Then back to D.C. and to Sidwell Friends School
To join colleagues so thoughtful and charming.
Now my life will be altered, to Amherst I’ll go
To tend Hampshire students, they’re trying,
They’ll be just like first graders, only bigger and louder
Still given to sniveling and crying.
And you, Mrs. Singer, what plans have you made?
Will you sit still and quietly knit?
Or will you wreck havoc along the east coast
Like a cyclone that just will not quit?
I feel that I cannot face life on my own
And I won’t bow to distance or weather
You know that our two brains are equal to one
So we’ll find ways to use them together.
We’ll still do our writing, a play and some books
We’ll mentor and tutor and cheer
Student teachers and kids of all ages and looks
We just won’t be doing it here.
We may take up dancing, ballet, tap or pole
We may learn to sky dive or mime
Who knows what the future will hold for us now
That, on our hands, we’ll have plenty of time.
There’s much to be done before old age encroaches
Before we must put on the brakes,
We won’t sit on the sidelines, or rest or be cool,
We’ll be out there and making mistakes.
Make way for new teachers, new styles and new folks
Make way for what’s current and stylish
These two feisty ladies are out of your hair
To stray far from this school and act childish.
No more pencils, no more books
No more teachers dirty looks.
Time for change, like bananas that slip off their skins
Should we join a nun’s order to reflect on our sins?
“No way, we both said, that is clearly not fun.”
We can do so much more, our work is not done.