Agnes and I worked together for more than 18 years; eighteen years, three months, and 15 days, and trust me, I did not have enough time with her. From the moment I met Agnes I knew she was a phenomenal woman. She possessed a powerful confidence that had no pretenses, no conceit.
During our first meeting, we, of course, talked about job responsibilities, that was the purpose of our first meeting, but we also talked about art, music, theatre, and her extraordinary experiences in advocating for quality education for all children.
She was a leader, a real bona fide mover and shaker. When Agnes E. Green spoke, the world listened. I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I must be in her presence. Luckily for me she accepted our job offer.
We were co-workers. We became friends, and grew to think of each other as family. We were our very own special support system and treated each other with respect, loyalty and love. We were great collaborators. We were touchstones for each other. Switching roles as the situation dictated. When I was all emotion, more often than not, she was the pragmatic one, asking all the pertinent questions, dissecting and analyzing. And, her questions were probing and on target.
We grew to read each other’s expressions, even when the expression was meant to mask what was really going on deep within our soul. She was probably the best listener in the whole world. Listening is an art, a skill, and she knew how to listen, to keep you in her line of vision. Speaking to Agnes was like speaking to your heart. Probably even better, she didn’t judge, she didn’t preach, she was there for you and she made you feel that every word you uttered, every feeling you expressed was valuable and worthy of consideration. When in her presence you felt special. That was one of her many gifts.
Agnes believed in the moral integrity of the soul and heart. She was bewildered, and profoundly disappointed when others did not act in good faith, stretched the truth or lied. She was truthful and honest, and expected the same in return.
Very often, when sitting quietly sharing confidences and reflecting on our lives, making our own plans, each acknowledging that to make a plan was fine but being flexible was even more important, Agnes would tell me, ‘Devorah, the Creator has a master plan. You may not understand right now, but all will be revealed.” She was a believer. She had faith that in every experience there were lessons to be learned. Lessons that would make us stronger, more resilient and that would prepare us for the next challenge. I cannot help but think that indeed, The Creator placed Agnes in my life, for me to cherish and be inspired by her, to carry forward and share her spiritual strength; to share her profound ability to care for others; to share her passionate belief in the gift of education; and share her enormous compassion and love for family, friends and for all who may cross my path.