Sandy’s Joyful Week
By Mary Peter Bruce
The day Sandy Ardoyno received news from Mobile, Ala., that she would receive an award from McGill-Toolen High School, where she taught for nearly 45 years, she was very happy and proud.
Sandy and four other graduates — a business man, two doctors and a dentist — were being inducted into the high school’s Hall of Fame. Sandy invited Mary Swain and me to accompany her to Mobile. Mary had driven Sandy to Mobile on various occasions, and I had taught Sandy and her sister Susie religion when they were sophomores in 1958-1959.Sept. 24 we set out on an 11-hour trip. Sandy had prepared presents she created for the other inductees.
We arrived about 6:30 p.m. at the home of Dolores Corte in Baldwin County, where we had been invited to stay. Several of Sandy’s teacher friends were waiting at a nearby restaurant. Everyone was overjoyed to see her and proud of the recognition of her dedication to the young people at the school.
We went to McGill-Toolen High School on Sept. 25 for the presentation. McGill-Toolen President Father Bry Shields presented the new Hall of Fame members to a full auditorium.Father Shields invited the honorees to address the guests, and Sandy began her speech: “I think I have taught most of you here,” then she told several stories about her days at McGill-Toolen. It was a very happy occasion. That same evening, we went to the Homecoming football game. We were served a delicious shrimp supper and the awardees were again presented during halftime. I was amazed at Sandy’s energy. She was able to enjoy all the events.
Sept. 29 Sandy went to the hospital for hernia surgery. The operation turned out to be more serious than had been expected. After a three-day stay, Sandy returned to the Loretto Infirmary.
On Oct. 5, we were all shocked to learn that Sandy had died in her sleep. The Community gathered to pray with Sandy for the last time. She must be very happy meeting her sister and all her special family and community in heaven. As someone said, “Sandy lived fully and with much enthusiasm all the days of her life!”