"Thinking and sweating
And cursing and crying
And turning and reaching
And waking and dying"
-Stephen Sondheim, Merrily We Roll Along, 1982
April 15, 2012
It is one year to the day that I was handed a "dismissal without cause" letter signed by the Commissioner of Education and Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and escorted from my corner office on the eighteenth floor of the Tower. Taken down. Stripped of my ID, my Tower Pass, my Company Phone. In the light of day. Some colleagues were there. They saw it. The system did not want that. They asked I stay down in the HR office until the workers were gone so that my humiliation might not be witnessed by my colleagues, my friends.
"Wait until after work hours," They said. "We'll give you until 6:00pm to clear the building."
I said "no". Take me now. I want them to see this.
The next few days and weeks were horrifying for my partner Tom and I. Thankfully, we were able to negotiate a somewhat feasible settlement with the Kentucky Retirement System. There was an Angel at their office. We sent her a kind card.
Late spring and summer followed. Tom was ever supportive. I spent days at the pool while he went to work. I slept. A lot. We cancelled long-planned trips to New York to see shows that we had paid for and to attend the coveted James Beard Awards that he had so looked forward to. His first being a member of their Foundation.
I still don't know what happened, really. But I do know this:
A former colleague reached out. I have spent the past school year proudly serving as a leadership facilitator for an educational cooperative in eastern Kentucky hungry for support and growth.
At the recommendation of one of the most powerfully connected women in Lexington, I have been named to the Board of Directors of a center that serves special-needs infants and toddlers.
People believe in me. Tom believes in me. My family. People like you who post comments here and otherwise.
I turned 50 in the midst of all of this and have never felt more alive. Free, even.
Just an update, a year later.
"Till the days go by, till the days go by
Till the days go by, till the days go by."