Melissa Mandell, our long-suffering Office Manager, defender of the weak and powerless and sworn enemy of telephone customer service runaround, is leaving today. Pictured here helping Facilities Manager Jim Manzella with a fancy new backpack, she has been at the RML for nearly four years, lasting through many staff reorganizations, office rearrangements, new calendar schemes, and The Move. She has done so many things here and been so integral to our daily operations that it's hard to imagine the museum without her (all the cliches are true), so it's also hard to really face up to the fact that she's leaving. We are totally in denial.
An important part of her job has been to try to impose order on us, whether through the Yahoo calendar, the Denworth room reservation forms, office supply orders, the "two week look ahead" or, perhaps her greatest legacy, the S'Monkey planning system. Only a truly noble person tries to take this stuff on. In a recent Development Department planning document, Melissa's job description included serving as a "reality check" to the department and the museum. And we are definitely going to miss that, almost as much as we miss the photocopier collages, the stories about her parents, the stories about John and the Eagles tailgates... all of it.
Melissa's going back to grad school full time, though, so she's not leaving town, so we'll be comforted by knowing that she's doing good work and that she might come to the Young Friends Prom next year.
We are also losing a fantastic summer intern today, Ashley Augustyniak. Ashley worked incredibly hard on helping us with our object cataloging and whatever else needed doing. When 20/20 was here two weeks ago filming their piece on The Historian, Ashley escorted camera crews and sound guys up and down the stairs many times without complaining. She has to go back to school too.
Thanks are not enough, but we mean it, and we will miss you.