Believe it or not, planning efforts are already underway for our 50th Reunion. That’s going to happen in the spring of 2022. Many of us are already working to make this Reunion the greatest ever. We would like to bring as many classmates back to campus as possible. So, if you’ve not been to a Reunion in recent years—or ever—this is the one to go to and now is the time to start planning. We are setting up a novel “class council”—not to plan the Reunion itself but to work on reaching out to people from whom we haven’t heard in a while. If you are interested in helping in this effort in any way, please let me, or Andy Feinstein or Bob White know.
Roger Jackson retired from Carleton College in June 2016, after nearly 30 years of teaching Asian religions there. It’s well-nigh impossible, he says, to quit academia cold turkey, though, so he’s continued to keep his hand in, by giving talks, writing articles and reviews, finishing up a book on Buddhist meditation, advising students, and teaching off and on at Carleton and at Maitripa, a small Buddhist college in Portland, Ore. He is also enjoying, as always, family, friends, travel, poetry, good food, and baseball—but the current political climate not so much. “Watching Burns and Novick’s Vietnam series has been sobering, and a reminder that things not only could be worse, but have been.”
Of all the subjects of “whatever happened to?” queries, none were more frequent—or more futile—than those concerning George Walker. On New Year’s Day, a story in the New London Day gave us the answers. George left Wesleyan to join the Black Panthers, but became disillusioned. “It was clear we were not just overmatched,” he explained. “This was a flea against an elephant.” Disillusion led to heroin, and robberies to pay for it. George spent, by his own estimate, 13 years in prison, including a term for a bank robbery in Connecticut. In 2000 he moved to Florida, earned his undergraduate degree, and eventually earned a PhD in mental health counseling from Barry University. George’s dissertation, growing out of his own experience with long-term addiction, analyzed the concept of “ambiguous loss,” where the bereavement process has no closure, and where existing knowledge provides little help in processing such issues. How wonderful that our own ambiguous loss has now been addressed. And how wonderful for George to be able to help others deal with such situations.
John Manchester has signed a deal with TCK Publishing for three novels of psychological suspense—Never Speak, If I Fell, and The Girl in the Game. Two of them, he says, especially the second, have Wesleyan stuff hidden in them. Can’t wait!
I am sad to report that Rick Blake died in December, after months of a debilitating illness. Rick was an obstetrician and gynecologist, and taught those fields at the Howard University College of Medicine. His obituary noted that he majored in biology at Wesleyan, ran track, and played racquetball “for kill.” One Wesleyan racquetball opponent reported that while he, himself, did not like to lose, Rick disliked losing even more.
Finally, I spent a couple of wonderful days in Scottsdale this January with Dennis Kesden, who is now fully retired from the ophthalmology practice he shared with his wife Sherry. I have to say that Dennis has figured out his retirement as precisely as he figured out his life. He and Sherry met in medical school, and jointly picked ophthalmology as their field, as they saw the possibility, as individual practitioners, of doing exciting and innovative procedures out of their own office. That is precisely what they did, practicing together in an office they built on Long Island. Now, as is the trend in healthcare all over, they have sold the building and the practice, and live next to one of 27 fairways in a lovely golf community a short distance from their two grandchildren. It was great to see Dennis in a relaxed setting and talk about old times.
Speaking of families, I haven’t talked about mine lately. My older son, Mark, and his wife, Jenny, bought a house in Peekskill, N.Y., a short distance from the ancestral home. Mark is working at (brace yourselves…) West Point—as a labor economics analyst for the Army and Department of Defense. My younger son, Kevin, lives in our true ancestral home—the Bronx. In fact, he lives within walking distance of my parents’ homes, and the high schools (and one college) they attended. He works in the New York City 311 Call Center, answering inquiries and complaints on anything from parking regulations, noise, and garbage pickups, to protestations of innocence from Rikers Island inmates. He loves public service and is growing to appreciate the amazing variety of life in NYC.
Seth A. Davis | firstname.lastname@example.org
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