Catching up with the legendary Mrs. Bundy

Veteran English teacher makes the adjustment to retirement


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Retired English teacher Mrs. Melinda Bundy relaxes at home with Chloe, Bear and Phoebe.

Madeline Taylor, Reporter

After 47 years of teaching on the Hill, retired educator Mrs. Melinda Bundy’s life changed greatly since she finished her time here last spring.

After now being at home, Bundy said, “I slept in, some friends and I started a book club. I get to go to lunch. If someone calls me to ask if I want to go shopping, my afternoons are free.”

When Bundy first started teaching, it was by no means easy for her. Bundy said, “It was kind of like a trial by fire. Obviously, I must have done well since I survived.” As one of only four females on the entire Downtown campus, the environment was challenging. Bundy said, “They told us ‘don’t smile until January’ because the boys were proud of getting rid of the women.”

By the time the campus moved to to its current location and allowed girls to attend here as students, things had begun to improve, but the addition of the girls was not as easy as what might have been anticipated. Instead of relationships due to their shared gender, Bundy said, “The girls hated us because they thought we closed Ladywood, which they did not.” Regardless of many complaints, in 1976, Cathedral took in 385 new students from Ladywood.

Despite the initial difficulty during her career, she continued to stick with it, and decades later she is looked upon with admiration not only by the students but fellow staff as well. English teacher Mrs. Lizabeth Bradshaw said, “She was just a ray of sunshine, and she was also a great role model for how to keep your attitude and your hope and your spirit up throughout many years of service.”

Now that she has retired, her daily routine is not the same as it was for decades. Instead of simply kicking back and enjoying her time, she continues to learn. Bundy said, “My mom raised me to have to accomplish something every day, so I have not yet learned to give myself permission to read a book all afternoon or catch up on TV shows that I’ve missed because, at the end of the day, I haven’t gotten anything done.

 “Probably the one thing I get to do more than anything is that I get to catch up with my friends, but everything is different every day. I don’t really do one thing.”

Probably the one thing I get to do more than anything is that I get to catch up with my friends.”

— Mrs. Melinda Bundy

Leaving a place that you have been a part of for nearly half a century is no easy task; however, according to Bundy, the pandemic made things smoother for her. Bundy said, “It made it easier for me to leave because since I wasn’t on campus that full time last year, I didn’t feel as connected as I normally would. I don’t think it was as great of a separation as it normally would’ve been for me.”

Although she may not be on campus, Bundy still is an active part in life on the Hill. Whether she is picking up her granddaughter, junior Ella Bundy, almost every afternoon, sitting in the stands at football games or catching up with teachers, she is still present in many day-to-day aspects of the Hill. To keep in touch with her former co-workers, Bundy said, “Sometimes (I) get together with them (or) text or email. I see them at football games sometimes. That’s probably the easiest way for me to keep in touch with people is by going to school events.”

The administration hired new teachers to replace not only Bundy, but other English teachers who left as well. Bradshaw said, “It’s a hard void to fill and I don’t know that it will ever really come about, but we have some great new teachers that have come on board and I think that it has reminded the English teachers that we are a family and that we should love and support each other.”

For those new teachers, Bundy said, “If you need help, ask for it, ask other teachers, look online, use as many resources as you can.”

For her, the appreciation of teaching she had for almost 50 years and still does to this day stems from her love of her students. Bundy said, “The kids interact with the kids, laughing with the kids, talking with them and if anything keeps you young it’s being around teenagers and talking to them about their lives and interacting with them.”