BY MADELINE WILSON —
Betty Robinson is going on her third year as a crossing guard by Shorewood High School on the corner of Capitol Drive and Morris Boulevard.
Initially, Robinson decided to take on the job after a friend became a crossing guard at Lake Bluff.
“I am retired. So I’ve had nothing else to do, and my girlfriend became a crossing guard at Lake Bluff,” Robinson said.
According to Robinson, this job has helped her find a purpose after her only child moved out.
“I only have one child and they left home. When they leave the nest it felt like I’ve got nobody to do anything for. But the kids, they make me feel good. They make me feel like I am doing something,” Robinson said.
People frequently ask her about her ability to stand outside during the cold Wisconsin winters. According to Robinson, it is the community that motivates her.
“If I didn’t have such great people to go back and forth with on this corner, I probably wouldn’t have stayed this long,” Robinson said.
Starting out, Robinson was nervous about how she would interact with people while crossing the street, but she has found that greeting people has helped her become successful.
“When I first started crossing guard, I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what to do or how to speak to people. Should I speak to them in the morning or should I not speak to them? I really had a smooth transition with it. Because I do greet people in the morning, that kind of helps smooth things out for me,” Robinson said.
Robinson says that the students that cross the street with her are cooperative, and that helps make her job easier.
“The students on this corner are so well-behaved, and that makes me happy,” Robinson said. “That helps with me going back and forth and I don’t have to worry about somebody running out and getting hurt.”
For Robinson, getting used to cold weather was a difficult transition.
“I am not a cold weather person at all. My mother betted on me, on whether I was going to stay or not. Every morning I get up and say ‘am I going to wear this and wear this?’ It took me up until now to get used to the cold,” Robinson said.
Robinson says that interacting with students and the community as a crossing guard has kept her going.
“I am happy when I go home … This is one job that I really have enjoyed. It stimulates me,” Robinson said.
Community members’ gratitude to Robinson runs deep.
After Robinson lost her dog, Goldie, they helped pay the 500 dollars she needed to get a new dog.
“I had Goldie for nine years. She was my sun patch … and when I lost her it was like I lost a family member,” Robinson said.
Robinson continues to lead students and other pedestrians across the street.