Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friend of Gnomes

I think the whole experience started with an innocent politically incorrect comment among friends. My friend and former boss, Darce, pointed out a person who was perfectly suited to serve as a gnome in his garden. The small group of co-workers had a chuckle and that led to naming others who would also be candidates for such a position. Shortly after that gnomes started showing up in Darce’s office. He would come back from lunch and find a little gnome relaxing on his desk or peeking out from his bookcase. A movement was born.

Recognizing that thousands of gnomes are enslaved in gardens across America, Darce became a supporter of the Garden Gnome Liberation Movement.  While not as militant as the GGLF (Garden Gnome Liberation Front), Darce became a champion of gnomes seeking freedom from oppression. His office became a sanctuary, a stop on the underground railroad of gnome liberation. New gnomes turned up in his office weekly. He had no idea where they came from. He accused everyone in the office, but we all denied sneaking into his office and hiding gnomes. He never caught anyone in the act.

Gnomes showed up in other offices as well. One morning I was startled to find a blue gnome hiding in the foliage of a plant in my office. Darce denied any knowledge of how the gnome got there.

When Darce retired, the gnomes left with him…by their own choice, of course. They are no longer enslaved.

I am retired now too. When I left the school district, the blue gnome came home with me. He is also retired and he lives happily in a plant in my dining room.

What I miss about my former professional life is not the paycheck, or the status, or the stress, but the opportunity to share ideas and laughter with smart, progressive and supportive people. I miss being part of a committed group of people who were working to make a difference.

Happy Birthday, Darce. Thanks for the memories.


  1. I understand these feelings. I was just thinking the same thing today. Those crazy things we did together as educators, the conversation and daily sharing are the things one really misses in retirement. Teaching is a people business. That daily contact with so many people is hard to give up.

    Congratulations on the way your blog is taking off! You are gathering quite a following. I always enjoy reading what you write. Keep up the good work.

  2. I like Gnomes, they are kin to Dwarves and not to mention the fact they are very ingenious.

  3. I love that image of a Garden Gnome Liberation Movement, founded and thriving from your office! Ah, it is so true how much we miss the banter and camardarie of our (mostly taken for granted at the time) fellow workers. Important as it is, it is not the loss of pay-cheque or status. I am a mother and a wife, both of which I am happy with.. but I do so miss simply being "Carol", an individual solely in my own right!

    BTW, I am thrilled you came in to leave a comment (see the big, wide grin plastered all over my face?)

  4. We did the same thing at my old job with Flamingos. I hear they have much in common with their friends, the gnomes.

  5. Oh, how I know the feeling of non-employed. It took me almost two years to settle in my new state. It felt like a withdrawal symptom, lack of goals and zest for life. It's a big adjustment, for sure. Thanks for the visit.


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