Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Betty's Retirement Letter

Yesterday the hilarious and retired Dr. G. (mentioned in the letter below) came by the Music Library to do some research and we had a quick chat. I told him that I’d written about him last summer and his reaction was quite amusing. That conversation made me want to put this letter on my blog and share the Betty love. She’s one of my heroes.

Dear Betty,

I could write pages and pages on how marvelous you are. I could go on and on about your amazing dedication to the Residential College, recounting all the after-hours meetings you attend and how you keep up with alumni. I could even mention how you so cunningly got me back on the RC Alumni Steering Committee when I returned to Greensboro in late 2003. (I can still hear Gaylor's "sucker" response when I told her I was back on the committee.) But I think not. Since this is a letter from me to you I want to remind you of the most important thing that you ever did for me.

But first, a little confession... Betty, I met you sometime during my senior year in high school. I was at UNCG for the "you've been accepted - this is what's it's like here - please come" tour. I had never (shock) heard of Residential College. I did, however, know that the University had filled all its dorm rooms for the fall. I had been informed that since my parents lived only 35 minutes from UNCG I would not be given a dorm room. Now, granted, I wasn't that "with it" or independent yet but I knew that I had to get out of Rockingham County. So I had a goal for this trip to UNCG - find a dorm room. Imagine my pleasure and delight when I was led into Mary Foust for the RC schpeel given by the enchanting Betty C. It sounded like a cool thing, but the best part for me was that if I got into this program I'd have a dorm room. I snatched up an application and had a very timid little chat with Murray. He informed me that I'd most likely be accepted. (When I think back to that scared little girl who stumbled through a conversation with Murray I wonder what possessed him to let me in.) Needless to say, I spent a very happy (well as happy as you can be when you're a clueless college student) four years in RC.

Now to the good part! I had a terrible first semester as a music major. I was heartbroken, downtrodden, and just plain mad but convinced that I'd have a more successful second semester since I had changed my major. During advising (I know, your favorite time) you sat me down and told me that RC was offering a class in the spring that I needed to take. You said that you were worried that I was going to hate classical music because of my bad experiences in the music school. Please take the class, you told me. I didn't really want to, but those were the days when I still did what people in authority told me to, usually without question. The class, you may remember, was taught by the always entertaining and sometimes obnoxious, Aubrey G. (I love him to this day.) And what a FINE experience was Aubrey's, excuse me, Dr. G's music appreciation-like seminar. We'd listen to pieces in class. He'd teach us about cool stuff like cadenzas and about how annoying it is when someone opens a mint during a performance. Then we'd go hear the pieces performed and journal about our experiences. I learned tons and had a blast. I thought Dr. G. was a real hoot! He still cracks me up. (When he first encountered me as a full-time staff member in the Music Library last year his response was "What the hell are you doing back here?" He's a real scream.) If memory serves me correctly, I think I was the only person who truly enjoyed the class. But Betty, as usual, YOU WERE RIGHT! The class was splendid and it certainly turned my attitude around. I mean I do work in the Music Library in the very School of Music that I hated at the end of 1989.

Thank you for your wisdom, Betty. Thank you for choosing to share your wonderful gifts with RC. I know that I'm glad that I took your advice for the spring semester of 1990. I can't imagine how many RCers there are out in the world who occasionally say - "I'm so glad I listened to Betty, she's one together chick." And I'm so pleased that I came back to UNCG when I did so that I could re-connect with you. :)

I have no idea how RC will function without you. But no guilt here - retire! You deserve it!!! You've served RC beautifully. Have a wonderful time and visit often. I hope to run into you around the neighborhood - that is when you're not off traveling the world.

Love always,
RC Freshman Class of 1989 and Fan of Betty C. Forever


Gretchen said...

Hey MKA! Sorry I've been out of touch but I rediscovered the email with your blog link. This should be a nice way to keep in touch!

mka said...

Hi Gretchen!!!

Thanks for reading my blog! I was planning to get in touch with you and SAHC about bringing the boys out for Thursday or Friday afternoon tea sometime soon. I'll email you guys.