Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It Is I, Yaro, After the Brunch.

It is I, Yaro, and I have just trundled myself across the browning greensward of my campus, loaded with delightful goodies and gifts sprung upon me at a luncheon in my - I am much embarrassed - honor.

It was a ruse that took me to Lysander Hall, an emergent gathering of several finance committee members, a troubling last minute change to fees or somesuch.

Yet, when the doors were thrown open, I was embraced by colleagues and not a few current and past students, who arrayed themselves brightly against the backdrop of the utilitarian meeting room that was fresh-festooned with garlands, balloons, ribbons, and so on.

They were there, and they rushed me, and I confess my eyes would not stay dry for their celebration.

Piers was there, one of my oldest colleagues. "You, my friend, will be next," I said into his ear. "And I will return to make sure they get you all the way out!"

Phoebe kissed my cheek, one of many for the day, but the only one I received from a Vice President. "You are my favorite," she said to me. "And I am yours," I said.

Myron, a lively former student, was next to greet me. He had struggled - or so he remembers - in my class, but now ran a local TV station. "Dr. Yaro," he said, but then I saw, he, too, had need to wipe his eyes. "Dr. Yaro," he said again. His wife, also a former student, did not let him finish as she embraced me as well.

I was beginning to take it in, the immense pleasure of the day when our president brought Mrs. Yaro in a side door. And then, I, Yaro, must admit, the tears began in earnest. "You," I said, "you helped them with this?" "I did, dear," my wife said. "I knew you'd say no, but these people, they wanted you to know."

And it was that way for near 2 hours. Some funny memories, some embarrassments, even a mildy ribald tale about a conference years ago in Columbus, Ohio, from that cad Adriano, a compatriot from Political Science. "Yaro may say he does not remember this night," Adriano had started, and my cheeks must have flushed.

Then the gifts, and a smorgasbord, and cakes.

And I was overwhelmed and exhausted, yet happy, happy that this had been my home, and these my friends.

I had been plagued over the past months worrying about my decision, not that it was not carefully decided, nor that it was the wrong thing to do. But just that I began to feel so replaceable. So swift had the machinery of the university spun into action, a job ad - my job - a committee, the folders. I've seen them. I've been asked to aid the committee in their efforts. "Someone with a newer wardrobe," my colleague Calista had teased, pulling at some wandering threads on my coatsleeve.

It had thrust itself upon me, the idea that someone would be here in this space, in my place, within months, a new face, a new colleague, someone fresh - with such a new coat! - ready to challenge the coming years of classrooms filled with young charges looking for the next step along their journeys. And that new face would not be mine.

How far away would this place feel to me, how swift would I forget all of it, my life in the academy, my colleagues, the people who filled my autumns and springs?

Perhaps I worried for no reason. For I would not forget them, this place. I would never forget a thing.

I will always be theirs, and yours,


  1. I am always destroyed by Yaro's posts, so touching, so authentic, and so drawn from a world that I imagined I would one day teach in.

    Of course, as many readers here know, we do not all end up Yaros. Some of us get embittered early and often. Our experiences exist in seemingly a different world.

    But then I wonder, how different can his school be? Is what makes Yaro's experiences so wodnerful Yaro himself?

    Is it not his college that's better than mine? Maybe he's just better at it than I am.

    Much love, Yaro. You're a treasure to your colleagues and students, and I'm so glad you share part of yourself with us here.

  2. Our beloved mascot, the proffie we wish we could be.

    Thank you, Yaro.

  3. O Yaro. What a lovely word painting. Thank you.

  4. Dear, dear Yaro. You are my hero.


  5. What I would give to have been there, dear, sweet Yaro, and to give you one of those much-deserved kisses.

    Your friend,

  6. How ironic that I found Yaro at a place called College Misery. For all the terrible stories here, all much earned, I'm sure, the tonic of Yaro is intoxicating.

    How much richer would we all be with Yaro in our lives.


    (first time I've commented)

  7. Oh Yaro, you are ours too. Please don't go away from us forever; we need you.

    People are not replaceable. Job slots, FTEs, deliverers of particular kinds of coverage, yes -- but not people. I have colleagues who retired years(even a decade) ago whom I miss, viscerally, every time I am on campus. I am sure that it is the same with your colleagues, Yaro, and will continue to be for a very long time.

  8. Yaro, you have again moved me with your words. My world is a better place for having you (virtually) in it.

  9. συγχαρητήρια

    Thank you, Yaro, for reminding me of the human value of being a teacher and colleague. In your posts here at College Misery I have taken great comfort from your words many times.

    I celebrate you and your career and the many lives you've made better.

  10. Beautiful, beautiful, and more beautiful.

    Dear Yaro, I send you all good wishes and thanks for sharing a small part of your life with us.


  11. You're not at all replaceable, Yaro. Not at all. I have a colleague who retired 3 years ago. He comes up to campus sometimes and we frisk around him like puppies and wish he came more often. He preserved the soul of our department for me. That's what you do for your university too - and obviously they know it. I think of you often and your generosity of spirit towards your charges. Occasionally I let it inform my own attitude and then my day goes so much better.

    Just yesterday a student I had lost all hope of came to my office hours with a few questions. He opened his notebook and revealed pages and pages of drills and exercises. He'd done every exercise in all the chapters, he'd been drilling himself on the stuff he had to memorize. I was astonished. He caught my eye and looked down, embarrassed. "I thought I'd try doing what you said," he said. "And all kinds of stuff started clicking for me." I was speechless.

    Just so you know. You're right. We should never give up hope.

  12. Huzzah! to you, dear Yaro!

    We are all less miserable for having been graced by your presents (spelling intentional).

  13. Thank you, Yaro, for sharing your party with us. I wish I could have been there to offer my congratulations as well!

  14. For everything, you, Yaro, thank you.

  15. Felicitations, Yaro, and thank you so much for the report. I'm very glad they did it now, when your spirits needed a boost, rather than waiting 'til the very crowded end of the year (though I'm sure there will be some recognition of your long and valuable service then, too). Maybe Mrs. Yaro had a hand in the timing?

    I get some sense from my most senior colleagues (and those who have retired in the decade or so I've been at my institution) that this sort of sense of community was more prevalent on my campus some time ago, when it was still very new (ours is still quite a new institution, and we still have a few members of the founding generation among us). I fear it has waned, for a variety of reasons, not least the proliferation of positions like my own. But we need to take advantage of every opportunity to make our community as human, and as humane, as it possibly can be. You, Yaro, are an inspiration for efforts in that vein. Thank you.

  16. When I followed the Yaro label and saw how few posts he actually generated, I was amazed. He feels like a mighty presence here and I'm so grateful that he shares this stuff with us at all.

    Congratulations, Yaro. My own campus has a "character" a bit like you, and I'm going to go out of my way to let him know how much I appreciate him.

  17. Like many others, I get angry at the sum of annoyances that get heaped upon us in exchange for a career in academia. But then I read your posts and I think "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties...", thoughts that were much more common when I was a much younger person. Thank you Yaro, thank you.

  18. I've never read an academic blog where a post makes me smile and cry at the same time.

    Yaro's heart is big enough for all of us.

    Well done, Yaro, congratulations.

  19. Yaro, are you real? Are there more of you?

    Why can't I have a Yaro in my hallway?

  20. I sometimes get so depressed about my career, but whenever Yaro comes around it reminds me that a lot of our life is what we choose to make it.

    Surely there are cranks and fools at Yaro's college, but you'd never know it from his beautiful prose.

    Bless you, Yaro!

  21. This is sheer brilliance. Whoever Yaro is in the real world, he must be a pleasure to be around. I just read the "air" post of his from earlier. Yaro should write a book, and he should not retire.

    Lucky Mrs. Yaro...swooon.

  22. Yay for Yaro! Why is there no avatar for Mrs. Yaro? I'm waiting for that.

    I hope you never stop posting here, even after retirement. We need your wisdom, dear friend.

  23. football_fan, you're a boor.

    Yaro, a prince. Thanks for sharing this story. It reminds me of many things that got me into the profession.

    Much happiness to you!

  24. I raise a glass of port in your honor, Yaro.

    So often when I come here to read, dejected and annoyed, I stumble on a post of yours--like a chunk of glittering quartz among the gravel on the path to my office--and the day gets better.

  25. You always succeed in reminding me of why I love my job. Thank you.

  26. Here's a new prodo suggestion: "Be the Yaro in YOUR hallway!"

  27. Yaro, you inspire as always. I wish I could have been at your brunch, it would have been a high honor. Much happiness to you and Mrs. Yaro.

  28. Dearest Yaro, your words are always a balm to my weary soul. I do hope that you will continue to contribute here. I am thrilled that you were given such a celebration of your academic life, and that you were shown in so many ways how important you are.

  29. Three cheers for the Mrs. Yaros of the world, who help get this kind of party organized! The wife of my doctoral advisor helped us organize a reunion with him this summer, she made him stay home on a pretense and we walked in with tables, chairs, grills, food, drink, tablecloths, plates, cutlery. I'm glad you had such a great party. And do drop back in on occasion. It's nice to chat with someone who is not grubbing for money.

    And please hang around here Yaro, tell us what we have to expect when we hand in our whiteboard pens. We hope it's nice!


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