Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Packing It In

Having been notified at least a year in advance that we would undergo a company “transition”, with no hope of a job in our locality, I began preparing early. I packed up the photo studio at the end of 2011. I threw out all my story files. Sometime in January, I took home my father’s grammar books.


This week was the final pack-up. Tomorrow is our last day. I trundled the last of my personal office belongings out to my SUV this afternoon. I removed all files from computers. There’s nothing left on them but my screen savers. There was no time at all to find out what’s been going on in the world. I’ll have plenty of time for all that after tomorrow.

My one co-worker, who’s been with the company for 24 years, filled up eight wastebaskets with debris. Two of my female co-workers, web designers, had very little to do, as they’re just naturally neat.

But then there’s the other writer and videographer. He said his farewell on Tuesday, saying that he would only be in briefly to hand in his badge. His cubicle is a disaster, though. We don’t know whether he’s in lay-off denial or whether it’s his message to the company.

I’m not a naturally neat person. All the same, I brought in my cleaning supplies and scrubbed my desktop, file drawers and overhead cabinet till they all shone like new. I may be a slob but I don’t believe in leaving others to clean up the mess.

The one thing I had forgotten was the department Christmas tree. I volunteered to put it up. Then completely forgot to take it down. It sat there in our conference room, where our ladies all take their lunch, and every day they wondered when I would take the tree down. Only today, when I went in for our farewell lunch did I notice the thing sitting there. Oops. Nobody wanted to take home their personalized mini-stockings, so I took them and will hang them on my own tree in remembrance of former co-workers.

At noon, Mr. Wastebasket decided to notify his many office contacts that this was it. We had a steady stream of visitors coming to bid us good-bye - at least those who are still left in our office. I’ve been telling them since December that comes the end of March, there’ll be no more photography. I even went to the cafeteria for one last, expensive lunch and went about telling the various groups that I’d be leaving on Friday.

Tomorrow, I’ll walk the corridors one last time.  All that’s left of our once happy office is the echo of the employees’ laughter, especially in the cafeteria. There are a lot of memories and few regrets. We will have one last laugh tomorrow and then it’s on to the future, one way or the other.

The first task I face is incorporating the accumulation of 13 years into my home. A monumental challenge sure to drive away all sorrow.

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