Teachers share memorable goodbyes

In 2009, I had been living in L.A. for two years and was going to move back to Boston. I remember, in the months before I left, feeling as though I needed to say goodbye to the city. I really wanted to give it its due, not just pack up and never come back—it had been a really special part of my life for two years. So I got a Los Angeles travel book and decided that for the last few months of living there, I would just live like a tourist. I went to all these touristy spots, and I had my digital camera with me all the time, constantly taking pictures of my favorite spots and my favorite people. I was trying to make an extensive documentation of my life there because I knew I would probably never live there again. And when the time came to move back to Boston, I felt that I had done a good job saying goodbye to that place. Driving away from L.A. was powerful, but also very peaceful.

—Librarian Laura Duncan


Growing up, I went to a camp in the hill country of Texas, about seven hours southwest of Dallas, where I lived. I started going there when I was 12 and kept going back until I was 20. I’ve always thought of it as being very transformative in my own life—a place to find my identity, a place to feel welcome, a place to struggle with my spirituality. The people I met there have stayed important to my life to this day—my best friend, whom I met there, now lives in Jamaica Plain. And even though you would think I said goodbye when I decided not to come back as a counselor in my 20s, the real goodbye came about three years ago. My best friend has three daughters whom she and her partner have adopted, and she called the director of the camp to ask if her daughters would be accepted at the camp, as children in a gay family. And the director told her that the camp wasn’t ready—it has become much more Christian and conservative since we were there. Saying goodbye in that sense has been hard, since I know that I will probably never send my own daughter there and that she won’t have the experience there that I did.

—Science Department Head Rachel Riemer

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