By Nancy Rineman
Hampton Union, Tuesday, June 5, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Nancy Rineman photo]
HAMPTON -- She began her teaching career in 1969 and now she's ready to embark on the next phase of her life.
Cindy Litchfield will leave Marston School for summer vacation this year just as she has every year for the past 25.
The difference is that in September, Litchfield will not be greeting new fifth-graders at her classroom door, but rather might be walking on the beach, or playing with her grandchildren.
Litchfield has been a teacher of fifth-, sixth-, and eighth-graders in the school districts of North Hampton, South Hampton and Ashland. But it was the Hampton School District that claimed her a quarter of a century ago and it's the Hampton children she has taught and nurtured unconditionally, sometimes for two generations.
"I love seeing my former students," she said. "I've certainly had second generations in my classrooms."
While she said she is "absolutely" looking forward to retirement, Litchfield has memories to last a lifetime.
Litchfield was once dubbed "Earth Mother" for the attention she has shown students both in and out of the classroom. As one colleague offered, "Cindy and a student could be at odds the entire day, but at the end of that day, you can hear her saying, "Have a good night, see you tomorrow," or asking him or her about after-school plans they may have."
"I care for the whole child, and not just the academic," Litchfield said. "It's the personal communication and interaction with the children that I love. I ask them how things are at home. I talk to them. They know I care."
One instance in particular in her long career really struck home, when her children were young and her husband died unexpectedly. Students came through for her then and in times to come.
"Some of my students planned a 50th birthday party for me; they recognized that it was a significant birthday, and I had lost my husband," she said. "I will always remember that my kids cared enough to give me that birthday party."
Her own two children, son, Bryan, and daughter, Kate, are both in careers involving children. Bryan is a social worker in a school and Kate is a teacher.
"They credit me for their interest in education," Litchfield said.
Litchfield said she loves the children she's taught and she's going to miss what she's had all these years.
"I feel I've made an impact in kids' lives, I hope a positive one," she said.
And what are her plans for this newfound freedom?
"I plan to volunteer. I quilt and I scrapbook," Litchfield said.
She will also catch up on reading when she isn't walking on Seacoast beaches.
"I would love to see more of this country," Litchfield said, in regard to future traveling.
And in case anyone thinks kids are gone and out of her life, her daughter Kate and her husband have 3½-year-old twin boys, and on May 31, son Bryan's wife gave birth to a baby girl.
The birth occurred just as her grandmother predicted, on the day of the full moon, lending further proof indeed, Cindy Litchfield knows her kids.