For 27 years, Cindy Hatley and Kay Lowe worked with each other in their kindergarten classroom.
Together they have tended bruises, taught the alphabet and had much needed chocolate breaks.
On Thursday afternoon, the two women said goodbye to their life of teaching at a reception at S. Ray Lowder Elementary School.
â€œUntil now your life has been dominated by little people, and thatâ€™s OK, youâ€™ve been good to them,â€ said Sandy Turner, a co-worker and friend of the two women.
â€œIâ€™m going to give yâ€™all permission to start a new life.â€
Hatley, a teacher, chose to retire when she learned her teaching assistant, Lowe, was ready to go.
â€œI canâ€™t work without my best friend,â€ said Hatley.
Although Lowe has the title of teacher, they see each other as partners in teaching.
â€œWeâ€™ve taught so long together, we donâ€™t know which is which,â€ said Hatley.
The two women wore corsages and laughed at speeches made by friends during their goodbye reception.
Turner told the crowd about fad diets, pantyhose and polyester suits.
The two educators plan to come back to the school on special occasions, but it hasnâ€™t hit either one that they have finished their job in teaching.
â€œIt wonâ€™t be real until the first day of school next fall,â€ said Hatley.
The two friends plan to schedule a big event for themselves on that first day next year so they wonâ€™t feel too sad that they are no longer teaching.
â€œTheyâ€™re going to be certain times of the year that are going to be real hard,â€ said Hatley.
As a last good-bye, the two women were teased mercilessly by friends at the retirement celebration.
â€œIâ€™m one of the lucky ones. I had them when they were just developing their powers of principal aggravation,â€ said Steve Miller, a former principal.
â€œI now have very few side effects from those years, and medication seems to help.â€
Their friends also had kind words about the women who spent so many years looking out for the welfare of others.
â€œYouâ€™ve touched thousands of lives,â€ said Turner. â€œYouâ€™ve taught my grandchildren to read, and Iâ€™m grateful for that.â€
Hatley and Lowe have already planned to see each other once a week for shopping and chatting.by Sarah Grano