Sue Hosford was my friend and colleague. She was my daughter Robin’s first preschool teacher because I knew Sue would appreciate my child who was both eager to learn and eager to be in charge. She retired before my son began school…she said she had to do that because she would never be able to say “No” to Drew. I opted to drive across town, past two other cooperative preschools, in order to ensure the best possible preschool experience for my kids…school with Sue.
I first met Sue when she interviewed with me (and the Board) for a position with Dallas Cooperative Preschool. I was director of the Co-op, and I knew instantly that I wanted to hire Sue. The not insignificant difference in our ages and years of experience did not matter. From the very beginning, our child-centered educational philosophies and complementary styles meant that we were able to collaborate while teaching with little or no pre-planning. (Perhaps it was our Yankee common sense.) Sue was an intuitive and insightful early childhood educator, whose affection for and understanding of children and their families was remarkable. She introduced me to the Country Bunny, and I introduced her to creative dramatics. Together we planned a disastrous…but in retrospect humorous…field trip to the city dump. Despite that misadventure, it was a partnership made in teacher heaven!!! We also shared the same, slightly twisted, sense of humor. I can still close my eyes and picture Sue smiling and chatting with one of the “little birds” in our classes. I later left the Co-op, and Sue became its director. What a stroke of good fortune for my children and many others!!!
More than mere colleagues, Sue and I became friends. I had the privilege of being embraced by Sue’s family, and my children and her grandchildren shared some enriching “field trip-esque” adventures. Sue and Nina were in the audience cheering when my kids performed in the OM Regional Finals. Some of my family’s most cherished memories are from that time period! As for the grown-ups, Sue, Nina, and I often met for lunch. We laughed, cried, listened to each other’s tales of triumph and of woe, gave each other advice and sometimes consolation. Unfortunately, my life became exceedingly complicated, and apparently so did Sue’s, because we lost touch. That is a source of genuine sadness for me.
I sincerely hope and trust that Sarah, Julia, Lisa and their extended family find solace in the knowledge that their Mama Sue made a tremendous positive difference in this world through her work as a teacher, as a volunteer, as an advocate for families, as a friend, and, of course, most importantly, as a mom. Love like that is eternally remembered. Thank you, Sue, for being my friend.