On Saturday (7/27), I had a chance to revisit “The Rectory School” in Pomfret CT, for the first time in 18 years, when I had attended the 75th Anniversary ceremonies.
This time, I was there to mourn the death of a beloved teacher, “Swish” White, who helped to shape this young teenager back in the late 1970s.
It was a small sweet ceremony held at Christ Church, located right across the street, where I once sat in the pews, twice a week for three years.
Memories flooded my mind, as I looked around the old church with it’s beautiful stain glass windows and vaulted dark wood beams reaching high into the ceiling. The chosen music echoing in the air.
I sat with my daughter and Peter Rosengarten, listening to the tributes to Ms. White, for all the wonderful things she had done during her lifetime as a Wife, Mother, Teacher, Tutor, Mentor, Musician and Friend.
During one tribute by Mr. Groom, he made reference to the school play “Oliver” directed by Mrs. White, and how she was able to temporarily ‘tame’ the boys, and harness their energy into something wonderful.
Of course, Peter and I had to starting poking and pointing at each other, like the little school boys we had been, bringing a chuckle to those in attendance.
I was also very fortunate to be introduced to Ms. White’s daughter, Jesse, when I was still a student at the school, and the two of us have remained close friends for over 35 years, and becoming an adopted “Aunt” of our two kids.
At the luncheon held after the Service, I was able to chat with some of my teachers that I had not seen since 1995 or before: Mr. Groom, Mr. & Mrs. Seaward, Mr. & Mrs. Washburn and my first tutor Ms. Barker!
How does one cram half a lifetime into 5 minutes of conversation!
Eventually, Peter, Madison and I, found Jesse and told her we were going to walk the campus, and not to leave without saying good bye.
We walked to the colonnade, a common meeting point so many years before, and looked out at all the changes, trying to describe them to Madison.
Peter was far more versed in the changes, since he had just at a son graduate the year before.
For Madison, it was a chance to see where Daddy lived for three years of his life, including two surviving dorm rooms, and enhanced stories from Peter.
After about an hour, we head back to the church, and found Jesse, packing up for a more intimate family reception down the road.
We chatted some more, trying to comfort Jesse as much as we could, and updating our information so that if there were a need, we could easily communicate with each other.
Finally, it was time to depart.
We hugged and kissed and went our separate ways – Peter to a local comic book store, and my long drive home with Madison.
To Mrs. White – Thank you so much for those various seeds you planted so long ago! They have taken root, and continue to grow because of you. You will be greatly missed!