Alice McDow wishes she was still shepherding students across A Street
arkview School paid tribute to Miss Alice.
The school rolled out the red carpet (not really) last week along with cake and punch and a money tree for their beloved crossing guard Alice McDow.
"I was real happy," she said. "It was really nice of them, and it was a good turnout."
McDow ushered Parkview youngsters across busy A Street for the past 26 years.
During the summer she regretfully submitted a letter of retirement, citing health issues.
"I wish I was still here," she told a well-wisher at her reception. "I really didn't want to retire."
McDow would have been the only city school crossing guard left after budget cuts decimated the ranks of classified employees, including those who see to it children safely cross the street to their schools.
Now, teachers take turns hoisting the little red stop sign before and after school.
"Two or three of the teachers told me, 'I had to get out and do your job, and I didn't like it at all,'" McDow said.
She said she wanted to continue doing the job she loves, but her health prompted the decision to retire. She carries a portable oxygen unit with her at all times.
"The kids adjusted to the oxygen real well," she said, "I wish I could have continued on, but I just decided I didn't want something to happen in front of the kids."
In January, she marked her 50th year of living in Taft, but has been a Westsider for even longer. She previously lived in Buttonwillow and Tupman.
Before becoming a school crossing guard in 1984, McDow spent seven years working in two church pre-schools.
"I just loved working with the kids," she said.
She has one regret, though.
"I just wished I had kept a journal. I could have written a book like Art Linkletter, you know, Kids Say the Darndest Things."