After 56 years of escorting Norfolk children to and from school, 83-year-old Elizabeth Stanton officially retired in August. The intersection of Hollister and Merrimac Avenues in Norfolk was one of her posts. Stanton assisted children to cross the road on their way to the old Bowling Park Elementary School, working closely with the school’s administrator, Dr. Herman Clark.
She told 13 News Now while standing at the crossing, “I stayed on this corner until they closed the school down.”
“I had worked from Tidewater and Alsace all the way back to Charlotte Street and Tidewater Drive,” Staton said as she highlighted how she worked at over two dozen intersections across the city. “Chesapeake Boulevard, Norview… I worked Five Point[s].”
Staton claimed that these days, she remembers more about the people and less about the posts. Stanton reported for duty for the first time in 1967, when her children were little and she wanted a job with flexible hours. Even when her own children had grown up, she remained in her role to continue helping the children.
Stanton expressed, “I know what I want somebody to do for my kids. So, you know, I was out here for the kids.”
Her decision to retire didn’t come easily. “I still wanted to go back,” Staton said, “[But] I just said, well nah, it’s just time to let it go,” she confessed.
Looking back on her career, the octogenarian admitted that there isn’t anything she would change. Staton, Norfolk’s longest-serving school crossing guard, maintained that she has no recollection of ever taking a day off. She was at her station in the rain, snow, hail, and even wind.
“You had more beautiful days than you had bad days,” she said.
“Encouraging the kids, you know, getting them across the street, looking forward to seeing them in the evening… that’s been my life,” Staton expressed.