Anderson returns from leave to grateful students

Anderson returns from leave to grateful students

by Kristy Raymond

Being part of the sandwich generation compelled Patricia Anderson to take a year’s leave of absence from her position as assistant professor of accounting.

“My generation is kind of unique because we are like the filling between two pieces of bread- our children and our parents. We have to care for our children who live at home and our parents who don’t live with us in our homes,” Anderson said.

In January of 2002 Anderson’s parents, who were living in Kentucky at the time, began experiencing health problems.

Anderson met with management, accounting, and economics department head, Marilyn Mueller and Vice President and Academic Dean Bruce Haddox to see if a leave could be allowed. They found adjunct professor, Kim Samek, who began teaching on Feb. 8, 2002.

Anderson packed her suitcases, and drove her minivan to Kentucky to care for her ailing parents. She planned on moving her parents back to Iowa so they would be closer to care for but her father was reluctant.

“Once my dad felt better he didn’t really want to move. Change is hard for older people,” Anderson said.

After having her leave extended to Aug. 3, 2003, Anderson returned to Kentucky to convince her parents to move. On the eve of their move, Anderson’s mother fell and broke her hip. This slowed the moving process, but by November, her parents were settled in their new residences in Iowa.

“It took a lot more than expected because of my mom’s hip, but I am glad to have them here. I’ll never regret having done it. I got a lot closer to my dad, and I really helped him when he needed help the most,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s four children are adjusting and enjoying their grandparents’ new closeness.

“My kids have never been around their grandparents and they are learning that they are not some different species; they’re just people who have been around for a long time,” Anderson said.

When Samek took over she signed a contract to teach until April 2002.

“Earlier this month, Pat’s replacement, Kim Samek, could not complete her contract due to personal reasons. It worked out great that Pat could come back early. She started teaching again on Feb. 6 and everything has worked out well,” Haddox said.

Anderson is glad to be back at Simpson.

“The students have been wonderful. I am really thankful that Simpson gave me the opportunity to help my parents, so I was glad to come back early and help out,” Anderson said.

Sophomore Aaron Fichter is also happy to have Anderson back.

“She is really nice, and she makes it a lot easier to understand the material,” said Fichter.