ethics, morals

I knew, I quit

imagesCAFCXRIAIf I hear one more IRS employee say “it was not under my authority”. “it was out of my jurisdiction”, “I have no knowledge of that being authorized”…..urgh…………. they knew.  period.   Yes, that’s right, you read that correctly.  I would say it to any of their faces.  THEY KNEW.  Here’s the part that gets under my skin, they did NOTHING. Not one single person said or did the right thing.  This makes me afraid for our country.  It makes me afraid for mankind.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

The school year 1993-1994, we were living in Germany.  Mr. Right was stationed at hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.  Our children attended DODDS (Department of Defense Dependents School).  With the exception of more languages offered, no limit on the days you took your kiddos out of school for field trips, it was pretty close to being run as a public school in America.  They had field trips, school carnivals, special needs classes, book fairs, intramural sports, advanced gifted programs, clubs and whatnot.  They had PTA.  Yes, I volunteered.  I was the treasurer.  Actually, I was the treasurer for all the DODDS schools across Europe.  Don’t ask how or why I raised my hand.  It sort of happened.  I thought (foolishly) that if I was on the “inside” I would be able to lobby for brand new reconfigured, ever-changing world maps and new American flags in each class room.   No, I never did get enough votes to spend the money to make that happen.  Believe me, I tried. I talked, I twisted arms, I joked, I begged, I gave every possible reason why I thought it was of importance.  Our boys always, always, always had a brand new map of their world in their bedrooms no matter where we lived. untitled With the exception of while living on a casern in Germany, we have always flown an American flag outside our home.  While in Germany, our flag was inside our home.

I remember very clearly, on one occasion,  waiting until the boys went to bed and then Mr. Right and I went into the living room and dumped out two black garbage bags of money.  Crumpled, rubber banded, American dollars, German Deutschmarks, coins, paper.  It was money made at the school carnival.  Yes, someone had to organize it, count it, write the deposit slip and go to the bank with all that loot to deposit.  We must have washed our hands 6 or 7 times that night.  urgh.  It was several hours of counting.  Then re-counting to make sure it was done perfectly.

I wrote so many checks, it would boggle your mind.  I often wrote checks bigger than Mr. Right made in a month.  I helped balance different school’s PTA books.  I counted every single dollar/Deutschmarks from every single book fair that year.  I mean it, every single one.  I went to the bank so many times with bags of money it was shocking.  Who knew PTA’s had or needed that amount of money?  I helped find little and huge mathematical mistakes.  I was even known to put it down for an hour or two, go home, take a shower to “think” and come back to discover the mistake.  I faithfully attended every single meeting.  I never missed one.  I voted on every issue.  I took it seriously.  I was honest as the day is long.  They wanted me to be the treasurer.  I felt it was an honor to handle that responsibility.  They teased me when I gave out checks for $1.02 saying they had over paid on something.  I asked for 82 cents for postage from others. I was snickered at.   It was by the book.  No question about it.  Mr. Right was my second pair of eyes.  He checked and double checked every penny or Pfennige.

At the end of each school year, the DODDS PTA board would always have a retreat.  It was a convention.  Speakers, lectures, classes, voting for next year’s officers, formal dinner and more.  Many, many vendors from America would come to show their wares.  This was a huge undertaking.  The decisions about which text books would be bought for the following school year hung on that convention.  It was always held at a resort/hotel/destination that could accommodate so many people and have the restaurant and hotel facilities that would be of service for a three or four-day event.  The first year that I attended (1992-1993) I was just learning about everything and was not in charge of the finances.  I was a board member only.  It was my first time in the Alps.  Yes, it was breathtaking and stunning and it was unbelievably beautiful. It was at that convention that I was elected treasurer for the following school year.  Mr. Right and I had discussed the possibility prior to be attending.

Fast forward through an entire school year.  We were nearing the annual convention.  Yes, I was on my second year of lobbying for new maps and American flags……..I continued to bring it up at every single function and every single meeting.  I wanted those American children/classrooms to each have them.  I can say that I gave it all that I had.  To tell you that I failed is an understatement.  I was crushed.  Actually, this many years later, I am still sad that I could not convince them how important it really was.  sigh.

The annual convention was set to begin just after the end of the school year, the month of May.  We were working our way through April.  I was writing checks to tidy up the end of year bills.  Then, it happened.  I was given a bill for $74,000.00 plus.  I of course had to look at the reason and if the correct forms were filled out.  The check was to be written to the hotel for rooms, food and alcohol (and a lot of it).   Let me get this straight, I can’t get these people to give money to buy a map and a flag for each class room, however they easily without thought, decided that very expensive alcohol, hotel rooms and 5 star quality food for board members was of value?  For once, I re-read and set aside.  I went on with my life for a day or two.  That request never left my mind.

I talked to Mr. Right until honestly, my voice was hoarse and he was just about at his limit of listening.  It was with a heavy heart that I asked Mr. Right for help.  He helped me craft my resignation letter.  I sadly boxed up all my secretarial supplies.  I gathered all the paperwork and “the” checkbook and I put them all into two neatly packed boxes.  The next morning I drove to the bank and removed my name from the account.  To tell you I was brave would be a lie.  Mr. Right drove the boxes and my letter to the president of the PTA’s home.  I made the phone call and told him what was about to be dropped off.

I had never nor have I since quit anything.  ever.  period.  I always, always follow through.  I never break a promise. ever.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  No, not because it was the right thing to do.  Because of what all the board members said to me.  They were LIVID.  I lost friends.  Everyone thought and said I was a looser.  They called me every name in the book.  They said I was a quitter that I was giving up on the “kids”.  I should be ashamed of myself.  They reminded me of the promises I had made to follow through.  They said I was very unprofessional to leave them in the learch like that.  What would they do?  The convention was coming up and who would be able to step in?  What about the kids?

I walked away.  My heart was broken because of all the ugly things that were said.  I can still feel it.  The convention went on without me.  Nobody stood up with me.  No one single person called me to talk privately to tell me I did the right thing.  To this day, not one person.  Do I feel mighty?  Do I feel holy and better than them?  Do I feel puffed up and special because I did the right thing?  no, no and no.

  I knew, I quit and YES, I would quit again & again and again.  It was the right thing to do.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

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11 thoughts on “I knew, I quit”

  1. This is me over here telling you over there that I APPLAUD YOU! YOU DID THE RIGHT THING!!! If only we had been in touch across the ocean all those decades ago I would have supported you and been a shoulder for you and assured you that you were doing the right thing…BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO

  2. Im remember that mess. you did the right thing.
    i bet the excuse they used was it came from a different fund. thats what i always hear. you cant uae money from the football fund for books. its 2 different funds… BS!

  3. You did well, my friend, you did right. As long as I have known you you have always been a woman of integrity. Thank you!

  4. It’s the PARENT TEACHER Association, not the ‘student’s’, silly girl! Trust me, we face the same type of things in my classroom because we are sp-ed. Makes my blood boil…….

    1. Hey there, thanks so much for stopping by. To answer your question: For once in my life I was extremely clear and came right to the point. Yes. Yes, I told them verbally and in the written letter exactly why I was resigning. Every single person on that board was told why I could not continue. Like I said, “they knew”, however, I made sure each person knew for sure.
      I didn’t feel brave at the time. Honestly, I don’t feel brave right now repeating the story. But yes, I have enough moxie to do it all over again if I had to.
      Thank you for your compliment. I appreciate and value your kind spirit.
      Hugs, D

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