RETIREMENT The Holly Leaf (December 1933)

Miss C. Buchan, L.L.A

Praise must be unpremeditated and spoken out of the abundance of the heart.  In any case, sitting down to write a brief valedictory address inevitably induces some sense of melancholy even if the object of one's meditations be not setting forth on a far journey.  It is like listening to music that is dying away, or watching a ship breaking from her moorings.  Memory insists on a backward vain searching for what has vanished;  hope suggested rather an eager quest of the future.

Who first thought of praising Time?  Time is a robber.  Not content with taking the soft glint from our hair, the bright glance from our eye, the light spring from our step, the rapture from our heart, he robs us of our dear acquaintances and our chosen friends.  There is indeed, a communion closer that that which is seen, but even the mystic most favoured in spiritual experience craves for a word, a glance, a hand clasp;  the ear strains after a loved foot fall;  the artist paints the picture of the empty chair.

Of all persons in the world, Miss Buchan would be the one least likely to encourage confused repining or formless introspection.  Her outlook is every sane, vigorous, courageous.  Her judgements have always been balanced;  she has been willing to modify them if no loss of principle has been involved.  Her clear common sense has been one of her most attractive characteristics.  Accompanying this has been revealed many times a vast reserve of learning quite distinct from her book knowledge, and because with wisdom she has understanding - these two have made her a good companion marked by cheerful ways.

The basis of Miss Buchan's nature is a great and noble generosity.  That means not merely a willingness to give things away - that she takes for granted and would seldom mention - it means a genius for discovering generosity in others.  Conversation with her makes one ashamed of ever having harboured ungenerous thoughts.  She believes that good resides somewhere even in the meanest of us, and she searches diligently until she finds it.  Her dept of feeling is usually concealed;  reserve does not indicate insensibility.  If she has any grudges against life, she is too dignified ever to complain.  She would rather say with her countryman : "Glad have I lived."  She is long suffering but can smite shrewdly if necessary, yet she relies on the just word softly spoken.

Miss Buchan has had a long and energetic professional life.  How many, searching lanes for sweet flowers, owe to her their joy in Spring's return?  How many remember gratefully the thoroughness of training in laboratory or in English class room?  Teachers caught in some maze of grammatical subtlety turned to one who made all things clear without an "Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things?"  She has now decided to end her work in School and to begin a new phase of her life.  She need not fear boredom because her interest in things is so vivid, her kind concern for others so great, her warm-hearted sympathy and youth so genial.

From us, her colleagues, Miss Buchan would accept no vain oblations, but she will value our esteem and affection.  She would be afflicted by praise to her face, but she will graciously pardon the complete inadequacy of an appraisement perhaps presumptious but wholly sincere.  May she have all the good things of time and never lose the things that are eternal.

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Miss Buchan left us at Christmas.  The students' gifts - a brown handbag, Morocco handkerchief case and handkerchiefs, were presented to her by Edna Taylor (Head Girl), with these words:-

"Dear Miss Buchan, before you say good-bye to Centre, on behalf of the students, I give you this present, which is but a small token of our appreciation of your work here.  We hope to see you many times in the future, and we wish you every joy and happiness in your retirement."

Ellin (Head Boy) endorsed her statements as follows:-

"On occasions such as this when we are gathered together in an endeavour to show our appreciation of one who, for so long a time, has worked amongst us, counselled, helped, and gained the esteem of so many, and who must now depart from us, we all find it hard to say 'Good-bye.'

For those who work for many years in one place there springs up a love for it, for the people met with, and a cherished regard for that elusive spirit of a place which persists long after actual contact has ceased.  Miss Buchan is leaving such a place, and we feel that, although we would give her some actual gift by which she will remember us, this alone would not suffice to show what we feel towards her.

To Miss Buchan then, I will express on behalf of all Centre students, the sincerest thanks for all she has done for us, and the wish that in her retirement she will enjoy good health and fullest happiness.

On December 20th in the Principal's Room, Miss Buchan was "At Home" to the Staff (several of whom are also her "old" students).  She was presented with an Arm Chair, a green Eiderdown and two Lancastrian bowls as tangible expressions of our affection and esteem.
 

Miss C. Buchan died in December 1950 - OBITUARY