The level sands stretch far away
For the past several years, too, I've volunteered to serve as a faculty mentor. I like doing it and I usually like the new people. Even so, meeting them each year is always a disquieting reminder of how quickly you will someday disappear. A few years after retirement and you may as well never have existed. After four years, the students will have changed over completely and after a half dozen your name will become a few vaguely familiar syllables: "Professor Who?” The critic E.P. Thompson once referred to this as “the enormous condescension of posterity."
Last spring I happened across two retired profs who had come back to attend some event. They told me they had walked across campus and hadn't recognized (or been recognized by) anyone until they met me. One of them had taught here for 35 years and helped to build a department from nothing into a high-quality, award-winning program.
So there you go. Sic transit pedagogia.