Farewell from Wendy Haslam

Sunday, July 05, 2020 - By: Wendy Haslam

The following address was delivered at the School's final assembly in early June, 2020.

All you students, not me, are the center of attention when you come into the laundry, so bear with me.

Wow where has the time gone? During my 31 years at Brentwood I have worked under three Heads of School. Mr Bill Ross - love that man - brought honor and respect to Brentwood. Mrs. Andrea Pennells was our first female Head of School at Brentwood - way to go Mrs Pennells. Then there is Mr Bud Patel - what can I say - a kid at heart. Without Mr Patel wearing his suit and tie you would never think he was the Head of the School, but rather a Brentwood student.

Work at Brentwood started for me in October 1989. I was a spare in the laundry room. I had to cover for my best friend, Chris Nelson, while she was on maternity leave; later on Chris was my boss. What a great boss she was.

We did not have computer technology back then. Every single article had to be named by hand. All your personal clothing - even your socks and underwear. You have to realize back then there was no sock and underwear bags. How the times have changed.

We do an average of 2000 pounds of laundry each day, so the word of advice for all you grads and students out there who are leaving now or in the near future, do not complain about doing your 20 pounds of laundry throughout the week. You could be doing 2000 pounds of laundry.

The laundry room was classified as the hub of the campus. Just follow the music they would say, the laundry room was always rockin’. You might not come in with a smile, but we will make darn sure you leave with a smile on.

We were also known to have the best display of costumes for Halloween. My favourite year was me being Eddie from “The Monsters”. That was a sight to see. Mr Felix and I.  

I remember some memorable students who became famous when they left Brentwood. Lucas Ridinger was one of our finest rowers. The ladies in the laundry will never forget Lucas appearing for his tuxedo fitting for grad that year. Lucas being just about six feet tall - and remember how fit rowers are. Lucas emerged from the fitting room in just a bow tie, suspenders and trousers. How do I look, Lucas asked? What can I say?

One of my favorite photographs was with Clfiton Murray who became one of the great Canadian Tenors. When The Tenors would perform locally in Victoria, Clifton would always try to make an appearance at Brentwood in the laundry room. That was lovely.

Last but not least is Marco Rusconi. Marco came into the laundry with his big smile and big dreams. His big dream was to become a pilot for the Snowbirds, which he succeeded in doing. Our thoughts are with him at this time with the devastating crash of his fellow pilot a few weeks ago.

To my co-workers in the laundry: it has been a blast. So many memories have been made throughout my 31 years working in the laundry. Memorable moments from sewing up teacher’s sleeves shirts, to water fights, to making a scenic view non-existent for Andy Rodford.

Most of all, I remember the many friendships made through the staff and students at Brentwood. I may never see most of Brentwood again, but I will always remember.

Think big and stay true to yourself.

Thank you. Ms Wendy Haslam

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