retired at 81+

My cousin Helen Katherine might not appreciate me telling her age, so I’ll just give a hint that she is exactly ten years older than I am. (I’ll be 72 in July.) What makes her age remarkable though is that she retired from a life-long teaching career today. I have to admit I’m very proud of her. And she’d probably still be teaching if she hadn’t had a fainting episode that caused her doctors to remove driving privileges for six weeks or so, making it hard for her to get to her teaching suite on the second floor of a downtown Ohio office building.

She accepted this restriction with grace and found her way around by taxi and the goodness of friends—but also thought this might be God’s way of helping her move toward retirement. So even while being taxied around, HK strategized hauling her 29 years (in that location) worth of tutoring materials home to sort and disburse. To say nothing of all the furniture and decor she’d used.

I was a little surprised to note (from searching this blog) it’s been around 3.5 years since she gave me a personal tour of her office.

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Those wasp nests and probably that armadillo have now found new admirers.


Moving out took many trips up and down these stairs.


And today, along with this photo . . .


. . . she sent this note to her close friends and me.

“It has happened! I am now officially retired from being paid for my teaching and tutoring students! . . . This poster was made by a fourth grade student. She has come for my tutoring for one year, but many of my current students have come for two or three years. I will really miss each of them and their families. And I will miss teaching too. I am very happy to have accomplished my huge goal of being almost all moved out of my tutoring office by today, having also distributed so very many teaching materials, knick knacks, and office furniture. So I do have many good feelings mixed with my sad ones. But I have fully accepted all this as God’s timing for me.”


I didn’t mention the plants that made their home in her office. These ferns did not find another home because there was no way HK could part with them.


Again in her own words: “These were my mother’s plants I watered as a child. Now that it is summer they can be put out on the front porch.”

What?! She watered these plants as a child? I had to ask if I’d read that right.

“Yes, indeed! Mom and I had the fern plants on the front porch all summer and put them inside in several ferneries during the winter. One of these did die some years ago, and I bought another. All are still in their same pots that Mom had them in.”

Imagine that!

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6 Responses to retired at 81+

  1. Gaye Suver says:

    Our Sunday School class has followed HK’s adventure through this process. She is an amazing woman and her legacy is the students she has tutored. Her love of teaching is obvious. Now she starts a new chapter in her life. We love her.

  2. Diane Bammel says:

    This is a well written blog for a dear friend of mine for the last 50 years. We met in Columbus, Ohio back in 1967 and have continued our friendship with phone calls and visits and letters since I moved to Dallas, Texas in 1975. Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement!

  3. Marian Knox says:

    This is a lovely tribute to an amazing person ! Congratulations, Helen

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