Barbara Snow started working for the Menlo Park City School District in 1973 -- before many of the parents of current students were born.
Since 1980, Ms. Snow has worked in the office at Oak Knoll School, most of those years as the office manager. When students return from winter break in January, however, Ms. Snow won't be at her desk. She'll be enjoying retirement.
She's says she's looking forward to a more flexible schedule, "just having lunch and taking walks when I want to -- that's going to be fun."
She's also looking forward to "being able to take a vacation that is not in the month of July," she says. "I've never really been out of the country. I think we'll do some international travel a little bit."
Ms. Snow is going to miss what she calls her "family" at the school, the staff, the parents and the students who come in "to give you a hug." The students "come in when they're not feeling good, or they've been hurt," she says, but also just to say hello.
Instead, she'll spend more time with her other family: her parents who are 94 and 91, her two children, and her 8- and 10-year old grandchildren, who live in Southern California. She plans to "watch their games and their plays and everything else I've never been able to do."
Ms. Snow was skeptical when she was told being a grandmother "is just the greatest thing in the world." Then came Ryan and Ella, and, suddenly, those claims were "understated," she says. Being a grandparent is "the best thing in my life," she says.
Ms. Snow's parents, Mary and Bob Hagman, moved to Menlo Park when she was in the sixth grade. They still live in the Sharon Heights home they moved into all those years ago.
Back then, their home was one of the first on the street and the old Sharon Mansion still loomed over the neighborhood, Ms. Snow says. Mr. Hagman was the architect of the nearby St. Denis Church.
Ms. Snow says that when she started working at Oak Knoll, the school had only around 300 students. Now, it has 750. "It changes all the time," she says. "I can't keep up with the technology."
The typing and shorthand she learned while majoring in child development and minoring in business at California Polytechnic State University have become a little outdated, she says.
Oak Knoll Principal Kristen Gracia says she is "sad to think about our school without her bright face and welcoming hugs." Ms. Snow, she says, "has always had a special way to make everyone feel connected and important."
Ms. Snow says she will miss the school, a lot. "It's the luckiest place to be," she says. "You just get to enjoy the kids and enjoy the parents. Those are the two things I love the most."
She will also miss the infinite variety of the job. "I would just hate to have a job that you went to and you were behind a desk all day," she says. "In 42 years, I've never had two days that were the same."
Ms. Snow lives in Redwood City with her husband, Richard, who works for United Airlines. She says she's worried she may just find herself in the car in the mornings, ready to make her usual commute.
Over the years, she says, Oak Knoll has become a better and better place to work. "You can come in in the morning with a thousand problems on your shoulders ... and you can be here for 10 minutes and don't have another thought" about them, she says. "There's so much positive feelings going through the office."
She has told Principal Gracia: "It's too bad you can't make this really miserable for me so it will be easier to say goodbye."
On Monday, Dec. 14, from 2:55 to 4 p.m., the school community will be able to say goodbye to Ms. Snow on the upper playground, or in the gym if it rains. Parents, students and alumni are all invited to attend, sign a memory book and have refreshments.