CLASS OF 1966 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Claude Smith alerted me to the death of our classmate, Henry Saltonstall Lufler, Jr. Neither Claude or I knew Hank, but after reading about his life of public service to Madison and of his distinguished academic career at the University of Wisconsin, we wished we had. Here a link to Hank’s obituary.

Claude’s email brought sad but also happy news: he and Elaine are thriving. Claude will be teaching a course on travel writing next fall at the University of Wisconsin; this past November he and Elaine “finally” made it to the Grand Canyon.

Travel and grandchildren course through these class notes. Harry Potter and his wife, Lee, who will be celebrating “50 years of marriage this year,” have “two grandchildren (toddlers 15 and 16 months) . . . Not sure whether the toddlers are wearing me out or keeping me young but they sure are joys” (I vote young). Theirs has been a year of travel, “three plus weeks . . . in Patagonia on a Smithsonian trip with our classmate, Bill Machen, and his wife, Leslie. Buenos Aires, Cape Horn, the Magellan Strait, Santiago, Valparaiso . . . Followed up with a trip later in the year to Santa Fe . . . Ventured up into Colorado on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, went horseback riding at the Ghost Ranch where Georgia O’Keefe maintained her summer ranch, played golf at various sites on reservations and visited the galleries and museums in Santa Fe. Art Mecca. The art collections in the Capital buildings in Santa Fe, by themselves, made the trip worthwhile.” June found the Potters in Iceland “on a birding trip.” Next up: “four weeks . . . in New Zealand, North and South Islands.”

Harry goes on to write: “Also see our classmate, Stan Healy, and his wife, Sarah, frequently. They sold their house in Sudbury, Mass., and now live permanently in their second home on the Cape. Occasionally run into our classmate, Don Craven, and his wife at a local restaurant in Wellesley we both frequent. Don is still working. Will be having dinner next week with John Wincze ’65, and a couple of mutual friends. John has retired from teaching at Brown and from his private practice as a psychologist. And recently, had a nice call with Phil Rockwell ’65. Had called him to congratulate him on his induction into the Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame for his contributions on the gridiron and on the baseball diamond. Phil is retired but very active. Never sits still. So, it was nice to hear about Jeff Hopkins’s well deserved induction.”

Harry also mentioned that he and Lee “had lunch in Montpelier, Vt., with our classmate, Rob Chickering, and his wife, Rhoda . . . They live just outside of Montpelier in Barre, Vt. Rob keeps in great shape playing tennis and golf. Has not gained a pound! I have known Rob since fifth grade. We attended the same middle school and high school followed, of course, by Wesleyan. Great guy. Hoping to see them later this month when we plan to be in Vermont.”

No recent travel for Jeff Nilson, though he did send a witty account of a trip he . . . took to Oxfordshire in 2006. But grandchildren: “My younger grandson, 12, plays chess, writes poetry, and no longer wants to play for the Patriots. Older grandson, 15, is trying to reconcile earth’s position on the outskirts of the Milky Way, the number of stars in the universe, and the existence of God.”

Last September and October, Dan Lang and his wife, Diane ’70, “hiked along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela between Leon and Santiago (about 120 kilometers), and then spent several days touring the great Moorish cities in Andalusia: Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, and Ronda . . . In mid-July, we spenta week touring . . . some remarkable gardens in Quebec . . . down the Lower St. Lawrence, from Quebec City to Cap Chat.” Dan goes on to give this update: “I spent one or two days each week either atthe [University of Toronto] working with graduate students or at the provincial ministry working on a new funding formula and on the plan and budget for a new Francophone university. Both jobs are now done. I enjoyed the latter, but found the former to be a bureaucratic slog. The Devil is not only in the details, sometimes he seemed to be at the table. Serving on a couple of boards takes a few days each month. The work one of the boards—Canada’s largest polytechnic college—is very interesting. I will regret when my second and last term ends next year.

The rest of the year was dominated by our Big Four: tennis, gardening, bridge, and taking Winston for his three daily walks. Between the two of us, we belong to three tennis clubs. Diane is treasurer of one and chair of the tennis liaison committee at the other (which is also a curling club, which only in Canada makes sense). We had big crops this year of raspberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, tomatoes, andpeaches.That in turn means that our cupboards are full of jams, jellies, salsa, relish, and peach cobbler.”

Rick Crootofand his wife, Linda, returned to their home in Sarasota after “a week in LA preceded by a month in Australia and Christmas in North Carolina.” Rick has been in touch with Andy Kleinfeld, whose daughter Rachel, Rhodes Scholar and a national security analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was quoted in Thomas L. Friedman’s NYT’scolumn (Jan. 15, 2019). Cliff Shedd and his wife, Michelle, have also been on the road, visiting Thos Hawley and his wife, Marijke,at their home in Carmel by the Sea, Calif., Thos reporting: “We had a great evening . . . and bored out spouses with many WesU recollections.”

Bill Hollinger does not mention grandchildren, but as director of the secondary school program of Harvard University’s Summer School, a position he has held for 15 years, he has many “children.” The Program serves “1,400 high school students each summer. About a third of the students are international.” Though “Running it is a full-time job…,” Bill still finds time to teach, a “course called Writing the Novel this fall term, at the Harvard Extension School. Fifteen novelists assemble every Tuesday evening; it is a bright, diverse, and engaging group. In spring term, I teach Introduction to Fiction Writing—18 eager beginners, also an engaging group most years, and a little less serious, therefore a little more fun.” Bill and I share fond memories of Peter Boynton, who mentored Bill in the writing of his senior thesis, a novel. “He never gave up on me, and supported me with encouragement all the way through. A wonderful model for me when I began teaching creative writing in earnest in 1979.” One more gem from Bill’s note: “Rick [Crootof] . . . contacted me about tickets to Hamilton (in Boston), bless him, so my wife and I will be attending . . . I owe Rick and Wesleyan for that connection.”

If you have read Bill Fehring’s engaging biographical sketch for our 50th Reunion Book, you will see that his laconic missive masks much that is going in the rich lives being led by Bill and his wife, Bianca: “Not much new to report here. Still enjoying my semi-retirement and a variety of longtime activities (flying, photography, hiking, cycling) along with volunteer work with local nature preserves and even a bit of consulting work on a local transportation project.”

I close with congratulations to David Luft who has been nominated for membership in the European Academy and with a reminder to attend our mini-reunion May 23-26.

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