Goodbye Rice, goodbye Wiess, it’s time to move on, but keep in touch!

How do you say goodbye to 32 years at one dearly loved institution? With a lot of friends, great wine, and food! Our farewell was today, organized by our dean, Dan Carson, and his staff and that of EEB, and attended by so many of our friends. It was outside, under the live oaks of the RMC Courtyard. It felt good to leave when we were still wanted, before anyone was glad to see us go, before we had stopped loving our science, loving our teaching, loving our students. At some point we would have left Rice. It could have been when we were 78 and all were desperate to see us go. It could have been we perished in office, perhaps grading papers, or writing proposals. But no, we left with some good years ahead, and we leave behind so many friends we will find ways to stay in touch.

Debbie asked us at lunch if we had started eating up the food in our cupboards and freezer. Oh, is this move so soon? When is it going to sink in? Are our Costco trips over? I guess we’ll be eating a lot of canned salmon, and baking another 20 pounds of flour into bread. But we have family nearby that will take the leftover food, I am sure. But we need to think of the move as reality.

It reminds me a bit of when we switched Philip in second grade from the Rice School to Longfellow Elementary. He had a weak teacher at the Rice School, and we managed to get a fabulous teacher, Anne Barwell, at Longfellow. Unfortunately, he heard from children on the playground at Bethany Methodist, where he went for after care, that he was switching schools. We screwed up! The first week they were testing at Longfellow, and could not include him, so he went back and forth. He liked that, just as he liked checking with his neighborhood friends on the menus at various homes, and then descending on the most delectable one. But we finally had to tell him that Longfellow was where he was going to go, and he couldn’t go back and forth forever. And neither can we. St. Louis and Washington University will be our new home. Please come visit! We really do have a spare bedroom, and really do want to stay in touch! Susan? Elias? Rick? Therese? Steve? Mike? Niki? Malcolm? David? Jackie? Stan? Diane? All of you!

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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