By: Marlene Ratledge Buchanen | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Marlene Ratledge Buchanen | Gwinnett Citizen
Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

Good Grief. It just hit me. I was sending a congratulatory note to Ann Jackson Tiberghein. She is retiring from teaching. She was an art teacher in Gwinnett County Schools. And she is retiring.

Isn’t that wonderful? I know she was an exceptional teacher and artist. She gave generously of herself to her students and her friends. She married and an amazing man named Doug, just a delightful person. He had the most beautiful curly hair. They have raised a family of handsome young men. Duluth is home to them.

I was thinking about Ann and retirement and how she thinks she is going to have more time. That is a fallacy. Once you retire, you have less time. I don’t know why, but you do. You have more things you want to do and less time to accomplish them. I think it is because we are less structured in our days than when we were working.

While working, I knew I had a certain amount of time between the end of the school day and before bedtime to accomplish what had to be done. We had a son who was in physical and speech therapy two or three days week. Snell retired about 11 years before I did to help out with James and Snell’s aunt who had come to live with us at this same time. The deal was Snell would do all the shopping and cooking. He lasted about three months as Master Chef before James, and I fired him. He still did the grocery shopping which was wonderful. I didn’t have to do, but we began eating out more. Hey, I gave up cooking when he retired, I wasn’t about to take it back.

All that is beside the point. Ann is retiring after a full career of teaching. Her children are adults. That means Ann is grown and middle-aged. Doug is grown and middle-aged.

THAT is what hit me. Ann is old enough to retire. I taught Doug and Ann in high school. Both were in my art classes. Ann and Doug were not in my first graduating class, either. If they have reached middle age, then I am not in the category of middle-aged, anymore. I just had never put it into words like that. My category has changed.

What an epiphany. Mature, I am more than just mature. I laughed when I went to the doctor several years ago and qualified for the Medicare plan on my insurance. I laughed when people asked if James was our grandchild. (No, we were just old and fossilized when we got pregnant. And I mean us. I started throwing up 15 minutes after conception and stayed bent over the toilet at least 15 days after he was born. I am still suffering from post-partum depression and trying to lose the pregnancy weight. James is 36. Snell has hung in there.) I have had white highlights in my hair since my early twenties. It started with a little dot of white hair that formed in my teen years. My Daddy’s hair went from blue-black to solid white by the time he was James’ age. White hair doesn’t mean I am old. Aching joints, not old. Laugh crinkles, not old.

But Ann Jackson Tiberghein is retiring. If she is old enough to retire, then that makes me.......vintage.