CLASS OF 1956 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Barry Passett died on April 17. Barry was a local boy (Hartford) who became a decision-maker in the field of health care in the big city (Washington, D.C.) Barry was an extraordinary human being: Soft-spoken, genial, compassionate, smart, and wise. When he wrote that he was growing cranky in his dotage, I dismissed the notion as pure rhetorical fiction. Rest in peace, Barry. We’ll miss you as we miss only a precious few.

Jay Kaplan invites you to read the reviews of his book Secrets and Suspense at Amazon. Better yet, read the book and write your own reviews. His second book In Search of Beauty, now finished, will be published by New Academia Press.

Betty and Jim Wagner celebrated their 50th anniversary in August! Praise the Lord!

Judy and Tom Plimpton celebrated their 62nd in June. Also in June, Tom shared a birthday (85) with his daughter Liz (61). Tom’s first therapy protocol for bladder cancer went well; his doctor says the cure rate is at least 70 percent. Quoting Tom, “Peace and joy.”

Marge and Gary Miller celebrate their 63rd in September. Their summer dwelling on Sheepscot Pond in northern Maine is a gathering spot for friends and family. Granddaughters: One received three promotions in a year from SEI in Pennsylvania; the other is a costume designer at Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. Grandsons: One is a brewmaster, concocting specialty beers for the Itasca Brewery near Chicago; another (age 14) in on track for Eagle Scout.

Susan and Mort Paterson toured northern India last summer. “Taj Mahal at 7 a.m. is as magnificent as they say. Cremation fires at night along the Ganges, priests chanting Sanskrit, are mind-blowing. Lots of gods to worship. Learned that if I can get similarly cremated on the banks of the Ganges, I can escape forever the burdens of reincarnation. I think I’d prefer the banks of the Wabash—‘back home again in Indiana’—where I’m from.

“Still treading the boards in and around Philadelphia—Much Ado About Nothing, Winter’s Tale, and Purlie Victorious (by Ossie Davis). One theater performed my play, The Crimes of Diana Eastlake (a newly-poor widow must sell the family Matisse to raise the ransom for her daughter, kidnapped by terrorists in Syria, then learns it’s a fake). I am told all this is ‘healthy’ and may hold me in no worse than Stage 1 dementia (‘very mild cognitive decline’). My oldest son and his daughter from San Francisco visited us and eastern colleges. Wesleyan, I hope.”

Tamara and Dave Cox moved from Washington State to Silver Spring, Md. “We’re in day-visit range of one son and closer than before to the other two. Travel resumes: Tamara spent six weeks cruising about Europe, visiting three sets of British relatives. In October, we’ll do overlapping tours to Germany, mostly filling in gaps in the former DDR. Then, in February, we’ll cruise around Cuba with a dip into the Bahamas on the way back. We’re stubbornly plodding along as long as possible. So far, so good.”

Ginny and Dick Bauer “cheered grandson number two at his graduation from UNH and celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary.”

Dick continues: “As for me, more of me hurts, less of me works, and semantic memory goes AWOL on me now and then. I survived aneurysm surgery, do an informal piano concert once a month, take part in a discussion group and a Global Warming Action Group, and have abundant occasions to care for souls. Don’t travel much, but read quite a bit, and relish the easy access to bright and interesting people who are gracious enough to welcome me into their lives.”

Bette and Al Grosman are now residents of Linden Ponds, joining the Bauers and the Van Au family in a cluster of Wes ’56ers there.

Writes Art Van Au: “We are delighted that our fourth grandchild, Hannah, will be entering Connecticut College, the alma mater of my wife Rosalind, my sister Elizabeth, and our son Peter. Connecticut College’s re-invention of liberal arts education, called ‘Connections,’ integrates one’s interests into a meaningful educational ‘pathway’ through college and into a fulfilling career and life. We are eager to be present for the results.”

Bob Bretscher is trying to rehab his shoulder for tennis, finishing a memoir, and being awed by his five grands, one of whom has his degree from Ole Miss and another will graduate next year from UNC Chapel Hill.

Jim Jekel writes: “Time is limiting us more, but time also brings a bigger family. Jan and I now have three great-grandchildren, and we have received reports that three more are underway. As their number is increasing, and our memories are decreasing, a time may soon come when we will no longer be able to remember all their names!”

Finally, Ann and I and our nuclear family went to Chile this summer—for the eclipse, of course. Granddaughter Jeannette becomes a University of Vermont Catamount this fall.

George Chien |