“Theater people are always pining and agonizing because they’re afraid that they’ll be forgotten. And in America they’re quite right. They will be.” Agnes de Mille
Today is the second part of Leo’s Choral Ethics story.
Leo* contacted me initially to explain he never imagined retiring would cause such an uproar. The plan was Leo and his wife would leave their Upper Midwest suburban life to relocate to Arizona for her health. They found the perfect condo a year before he was scheduled to retire, near all of their children. As her health deteriorated, they decided she needed to move to the condo right then.
The last year he taught; Leo lived alone getting their home ready to sell. He spent a good amount of time cleaning out 25 years’ worth of stuff from his classroom and office. The search for his replacement ended with one of his former student teachers, Janice*, who taught in the elementary feeder program. All appeared happy with the choice. But there were undercurrents of hostility from his former students who were now Music Boosters.
Leo wrote to me the first year he was in retirement, absolutely frustrated with the daily emails and texts from Music Boosters complaining about Janice. Or tattling about others in the music program. He spoke with Janice weekly; she grew more and more despondent with the way things were. Finally, she shared she had found another job in Florida, and would move after the school year was over. She didn’t want him to be disappointed with her and he wasn’t; he was disappointed with the mess he had left her.
He has now been officially retired for two years and wanted to tell me about the only good news to be found in his story. Leo’s wife is doing much, much better. Both believe moving to Arizona was the best decision they ever made. All three of their children and their families are within 30 minutes from their condo. They are able to spend much time with all of their grandchildren. Janice is also doing well, Leo tells me, and is much happier.
Leo changed his cell phone number and emails and no longer is in contact with anyone from his former school. One morning not too long ago, he felt a bit sad he had to resort to dropping out of touch. Then, his wife walked into the room, looking healthier than she had in years and Leo knew it was all for the best.