February 29th will mark the 11th anniversary of Mary M. Kelly's tenure as Winthrop House's meal ID checker, but the leapday will also be Kelly's last day on the job.
12 Years on the Job
"I'm going to miss it all. I've enjoyed my twelve years at Harvard very much, and I'm sad to leave," said Kelly, who worked in the Lowell House dining hall for a year before moving to Winthrop.
Kelly is known by Winthrop residents for her friendliness and for greeting students by their first names as they enter the meal line. Last night was no exception: "Hi Timmy, have you been validated yet?" she asked a student as he moved through the cafeteria. "I know all 346 of them," Kelly said.
Winthrop resident Alex Frenkel '89 said that Kelly is "the friendliest person I know. She helps give Winthrop its character. She knows all our first names and makes the House feel like a home."
Kelly said she began to learn students' names when she worked in Lowell. "It just comes naturally," she said. "I start with last names, and then in a couple of weeks I have their first names down."
"I feel all these students are my children, because I don't have any of my own, and this is their home away from home,"Kelly said.
Kelly said she also makes a point of becomingfamiliar with students from other houses who eatat Winthrop regualrly. I also know "our poolpeople, like Debbie," she said, pointing to LowellHouse resident Deborah H. Glueck, a frequent Housediner. "They don't show their ID's that way, andit's more personal," she said.
Winthrop sophomore Elianne K. Poppell said,"She picked up my name freshman year when I usedto come visit my brother at Winthrop. She stillasks me about my brother, who graduated lastyear."
Kelly said she plans to retire because of herage, 62, so she can spend more time at her home inWatertown with her husband, who is currentlyretired. She said she is sad to leave, and addedthat she will not continue to work part time.
Winthrop Master James A. Davis said Kelly willbe missed. "She's very good help and always invery good spirits," he said. Davis described heras "an institution, a linchpin [which] holds theplace together."
Kelly said her fondest memories of Harvard areof Commencement. "When the seniors graduate it'ssad, and so I enjoy working Commencement," shesaid, adding that she this year she plans toreturn for the graduation ceremonies to work inthe Masters' residence