Class of 1938 | 2014 | ISSUE 2

While the number of fellows I have the honor of calling for the notes has definitely, how shall I say it, changed, those remaining are wonderful conversationalists! It is springtime and the guys are glad the winter has tucked itself away for a rest. While three of the four I reach out to now live in Florida, that doesn’t always mean getting out is the sunniest experience, especially after this wet winter! But in late March and early April it does.

Bob Porter kicked that pneumonia we mentioned in the last notes but he is still dealing with some shoulder pain. PT seems to be helping it. He reports Doris is well. Bob said it was a very wet winter in Naples and he is very glad to have that behind them. The sun and fresh air is so good for one’s morale. In February Bob and Doris welcomed another great-grandchild, the first girl of this generation! Bob says his “mind is sharp but the body is getting weak.” I can attest to the mind’s quickness as he broke out in song bringing up the words to Amicus Usque Ad Aras. Bob said it might even have been a Yale song but he remembers singing it with fellow freshmen when they went on a trip with an English professor to Mory’s! Perhaps the Whiffenpoofs were performing, and perhaps this professor had a connection to Yale? If the Olla Podrida from ’38 is correct, then there is a certain professor of English who had connections to Yale! What a fun adventure for Bob to share.

Heading north from Naples is Venice, Fla. Art Kingsbury has lived in Venice for 34 years. We figured out this was over a third of his life. Back in the day, most students attending Wesleyan came from the Northeast, or Midwest regions. No one in the class of ’38 came from Florida. But many did retire there. So the thought that one can retire for over a third of one’s life anywhere is another way of saying they are doing something right! Art celebrated his 96th birthday on April 13th. I still can’t imagine entering a university and experiencing almost a full first year as a 16-year-old! Art and Diane are doing very well and are in “fine health.” Their new pet of last year, the cat, entertains them daily. Art’s sons and their families were coming to celebrate his birthday. Visits with family are always enjoyable. He wishes his fellow classmates the best.

I left a few messages for Leonard Weinstein, the class’s other Florida resident, but didn’t actually speak with him. Better luck next time.

The next fellow I caught up with was Curt Smith. It was a very long winter in Rhode Island. While it was spring there, Curt commented on how it didn’t really feel like it, since the color of things was so delayed. He took a trip to northern New Hampshire and he learned from the sugar makers that the sap is also delayed. Oh dear, there goes the price of maple syrup! Curt had a visit from one daughter in February. They had a packed visit, including catching the old classic Arsenic and Old Lace at Rhode Island College. In late April his other daughter will be visiting. Every week he sees his son. He is very grateful for his time with his children. He attended a Jewish Film Festival at a local synagogue and highly recommends the film The Other Brother. Curt says they are trying to revive the singing group at his community. He is staying active, even if it means enduring stares from fellow residents of his community. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet keep him inside! I received a lovely card from Emily Cowan ’86 who now lives in Lancaster, N.H., Curt’s old stomping ground. When she moved there in 2000, Emily said Curt came and paid her a welcome visit. Recently she attended a fundraiser for a local ski area and sat with Curt and his son Philip. She had a wonderful visit with them, discussing which articles they enjoyed in the current alum magazine. “Curtis is the dearest man. And he is so active it just takes my breath away.” Thank you, Emily, for your wonderful card.

Something else that Curt shared with me was an article in the Providence Journal. In January Bill Heisler died. While I haven’t seen an official obituary, the newspaper clipping Curt sent was an amazing tribute to Bill’s time in Providence. “Bill served the Rhode Island community in a multitude of ways as a volunteer leader of most of the prominent nonprofits in our state during his long tenure as a resident, while also serving as CEO of Citizens Bank throughout the 1960s and ’70s.”

I also learned from this article that before the government had passed the Community Reinvestment Act, “Bill had initiated his own version of CRA at Citizens, as an outreach effort to give access to diverse populations.” The Heisler Leadership Fund at The Rhode Island Foundation has been established in his memory. I so enjoyed my conversations with Bill. His last decade was spent at Medford Leas, a Quaker-based senior living and continuing care community. He always had something to share about the importance of community. He also had wonderful stories about his trips that he took well into his late 90s. My condolences go out to his family, and also to the class of ’38. This past year has been a challenging one with the loss of four classmates.

On that note, I have cross-referenced a program from last year’s Reunion’s Memorial Service, with my father’s copy of the Olla Podrida, and I have 15 names on a list. I’ll see if I can find any news from them. I think I’ve got my work cut out for me. Here’s hoping next issue will be full of news from long lost fellows of’38! Until then, enjoy the colors of spring, whenever they decide to peek out, and the warmth of summer.

daughter of the late Walter Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136