It was cooler here over the weekend and into the first part of the week. I decided yesterday to make cinnamon rolls but was a bit concerned about the yeast dough rising very quickly due to the cooler temperatures. Fortunately, with the oven briefly warmed, the dough rose very well, and then after pouring hot caramel sauce into the baking pan, the rolls rose very nicely. By noon I had 16 beautiful cinnamon rolls, four of which I took to my sister’s apartment in the afternoon.
My sister is 17 years older than I am, and although we live in the same city, we rarely see each other. Because I would be attending a meeting later in the afternoon at the same complex in which my sister lives, I decided it would be a great time for us to catch up. My sister agreed and set aside the afternoon for me to come visit. We talked and laughed for three hours and could have gone another three hours had I not had that meeting to get to. My sister tottered along with me, down the sidewalk, to the building in which the meeting was happening.
Now, let me tell you about this meeting. The Fresno Unified Retirees are meeting, up in arms, about changes to benefits we had been promised the whole time we worked for the district. The Retired Teachers Association owns the building in which the meeting was held and had originally owned the whole complex which includes a large set of apartments that were built for retired teachers. My sister, though not a retired teacher, lives in one of these apartments. The apartments are now owned by HUD and designated low income. Decades ago, when teachers had low pay and no pensions, these apartments were built specifically with little ol’ lady school teachers in mind. They are really quite nice, but as times changed and salaries and pensions grew, there were no retired teachers interested in small apartments and the association could not pay the loan and HUD took over. Somehow the association was able to buy back the meeting hall which is at the back of the property.
The meeting reminded me of why I wanted to retire from teaching. It was much like a faculty meeting where lots was said and nothing was done. Frustrating to the inth degree. It finally came down to the fact that the Fresno Unified Retirees need to hire an attorney to see if a suit can be filed on their behalf. An earlier suit was won by those who had retired before 2005 and their low-cost/no-cost lifetime benefits were reinstated and damages were paid. The retirees since 2005 (of which I am one) want a similar deal. Right now we a pay for our insurance, but it’s still very low cost compared to the real world. We are required to pay the same amount as those who are still working for the district, and the rates continue to increase. That’s the sticking point for those who believe we were promised lifetime benefits at a low cost. A few of the retirees remember when benefits cost $1 a month. When I was hired in 1989 the benefits cost $10 a month. That was in another century. I don’t think we’re returning to the 20th century.
The crazy meeting was at least offset by the wonderful afternoon I spent with my sister who thoroughly enjoyed the cinnamon rolls I had baked earlier in the day.