Lauren Sullivan beyond the Lunchroom
Lauren Sullivan, Lower School (LS) lunchroom attendant, resident of Watertown, wife of 29 years, mother to Callie—a black, white, and orange calico cat who stares at you with yellow eyes—thought she was a dog person but isn’t sure anymore. One April evening in 1989, Michael Sullivan proposed to her with a shepherd named Mona (because she moaned, apparently trying to speak the language of her owners) who died many years ago. “Come with me, I want to walk the dog,” he told her. Mr. Sullivan got down on one knee beneath the street lamp and popped the question.
Two Christmases ago, Mr. Sullivan came home with his coat zipped, puffier that usual. Callie popped her head out, and Ms. Sullivan met her kitten.
“I don’t have children,” she said, “but I have my cat.”
Mr. Sullivan is full of surprises.
He was the one who encouraged Ms. Sullivan to start working again after five years of retirement because of her fibromyalgia, a muscular pain disorder she continues to endure. Ms. Sullivan retired from 27 years as a restaurant health inspector for the City of Cambridge, and before that, three years undercover. (Yes, a spy.)
Ms. Sullivan graduated from Suffolk with a criminal justice and sociology degree. The happiest day of her life was graduating from college because she was “so sick of school by then.” Ms. Sullivan was 85 pounds at five foot three when she received her diploma, run down from studying and working.
Shortly after, she took a job at Marshalls, and later Toys R Us, as an undercover employee befriending her coworkers and investigating their morality, listening to their conversations about stealing coats, changing price tags, taking bike parts when they were supposed to be fixing them. At night she would write reports and send someone to catch them.
“It’s kind of mean,” Ms. Sullivan said, “but it’s the only way to track theft.”
Her dedication to the job she started here six months ago—which does not involve going undercover (or does it?)—is undeniable. Faculty agree.
“She’s one of those people who takes pride in what she does,” LS Administrative Assistant Beth Brown said, “and she does a really good job.”
Ms. Sullivan begins the day by ensuring Lunchroom cleanliness, then stocks all products, such as tea and coffee, uncovers the food and fruit coming from the main kitchen, and puts out utensils and dressings. Inventory is a huge part of Ms. Sullivan’s job with 70 teachers, plus administrators, maintenance, and the occasional child who forgot their meal, coming in to the Lunchroom. She also fills a few plastic cups with lollipops for each table in the room, a sweet pop of color.
Although Ms. Sullivan said it is too soon to have a favorite memory of the LS, she loves meeting the people here. When she isn’t working, Ms. Sullivan likes to cook; some of her favorite dishes are “baked potatoes, stuffed potatoes, and twice-baked potatoes.” (She seems to like potatoes.) Ms. Sullivan also travels with her girlfriends, Patty and Tina, to nearby spots like Hampton Beach or Maine. One of her favorite trips was to Ogunquit, Maine, where she collected these seashells for her dresser during low tide.
“I am strong willed,” Ms. Sullivan said, “and I am very caring.”
And it shows. We are lucky to have you as a woman of BB&N.