Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When the discount...discounts.

I went to a prep school.  I wasn't your typical affluent kid from the city or the suburbs.  I was a little more rural (northwestern CT) but raised in a traditional middle class home that valued education.  I loved my teachers and was a pretty good student and made the school proud of my college acceptances.  I was a "day student" meaning that I attended classes and activities but went home at night, so maybe one could argue that I didn't get the "full boarding school experience."    I managed to remedy that by returning to the school at age twenty-two to live in the dorms and teach...wait for it...Latin.  Well, also American History and Journalism, but for the most part: Latin.  I was a dorm head, which meant I lived in an apartment in a dorm with my family and supervised 30-40 kids as well as a handful of dorm parents.  I was pretty young for my position, but assured that I was "wise beyond my years" on multiple occasions.  I did that for eight years.  Oh, the stories...so yeah, I managed to absorb that "full boarding school experience."

So the school is about to celebrate its centennial.  Kind of a big deal.  I was a senior when they celebrated the seventy-fifth.  Remember it well.

And I got this letter in the mail.  (Hold on a second.)

I'll say it came at a bad time.  Things have been a little heavy in my world.  And the teaching profession is not exactly in a feel-good mode right now.  But you know what?  Things were kind of heavy back in those days of work there as well.  I still have anxiety-ridden dorm dreams.

So I'll share my response with you, because you know what?  Man, it pi$$ed me off.

Here goes:

Dear ___:

I would like to express my reaction to a letter I received offering an invitation to attend the Centennial Reunion at a "discounted rate."  While I was well aware of the occasion due to the numerous mailings and did NOT plan on attending, I found the letter and invitation I received from you to be highly insulting.

I realize that there are many former faculty members that you may wish to include in the event.  I also realize that there are alumni faculty members who, perhaps, may have a somewhat more vested interest in attending the festivities.  However, it may be the case that some of these former faculty members put in a more substantial amount of time into their work at __.  For example, I put eight years into my work at ___.  I was a dorm head each of those years for 29-36 students, taught, advised, and perhaps influenced kids numbering into the hundreds during those years.  I had my sons while at ___, and they spent for the first few years in the dorms, providing that "family atmosphere" and supervision ___ proudly and successfully offered its students throughout its one-hundred years.

Perhaps you mean well with your "discount" but does that discount acknowledge the eight years worth of hours I spent in the middle of the night sitting up with kids in the hospital?  Awaiting news on runaways?  Calling a mother in another country to inform her that her daughter was expecting a child?  (The baby was named after me and is graduating from high school next month -- I couldn't be prouder of her and her mother.)  Sitting with a girl to prevent her from committing suicide while her parents rushed to (town) from New York?  Inviting kids into my home for countless dinners, brownies, band-aids, and well-needed listening and attention?

Frankly, your form-letter invitation to a discounted "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" was nothing short of insulting and belittling to the time I spent dedicated to a school that I believed had been so integral to my growth and development.  Twelve years of my life and dedication merits me...a discount for a dinner dance?

I'm also quite certain that in the course of the events that weekend, a picture of me interviewing Sargent Shriver (that's me in the red dress) for the (school newspaper) may surface, reminiscing about the seventy-five year celebration of ___.  There's a little piece of ___ history I felt attached to as well.

So, I am replying with a resolute NO THANK YOU to your invitation.  Additionally, please remove me from any mailing lists (fundraising, invitations, magazines, etc.) from ___.  I can assure you that I have made my contribution and I wish for no more requests.  I would, however, appreciate continuing to receive any death notifications of former classmates.  I trust that you will be able to indicate my preference in your database.

Best regards,

No comments:

Post a Comment