Classmates, I had a nice note from Dave Garrison, now retired from teaching Spanish and Portuguese at Wright State, but still writing poetry—he was named the state poet in Ohio in 2014 and continues to publish his poems (and win prizes for them!) and give readings. He also plays golf, tennis, and trumpet (in a concert band for folks over 50).
Jeff Hicks has been honored by the medical school at the University of Rochester, from which he received his M.D. in 1971, and where he has taught since that time. He received the Alumni Service Award. The nice citation went as follows: “Throughout his celebrated career, Dr. Jeff Hicks has raised the quality of education for students at the School of Medicine and Dentistry as well as those studying around the world. A highly accomplished and admired educator, he holds numerous awards for teaching distinction. With deepest gratitude, we honor his generous and unwavering support of the School.” As we say down south in Greensboro, N.C., “Mazel tov!”
When my wife Lisa and I lived in Santa Cruz, Calif., lots of Wesleyan pals came to visit, on their way from who-knows-where to who-knows-where, or just to experience the hip West Coast Santa Cruz vibes. We get fewer Wesleyan friends passing through Greensboro, N.C. (can’t imagine why), but we did have a really nice visit from Tony Schuman ’65, and his son Sam, on their way from Atlanta to New Jersey. Tony last visited us in Greensboro in the 1980s, so he was way overdue. He is a professor in the School of Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Until recently, he was the director of the graduate program, he served as interim dean for two-and-a-half years, and he is a past-president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. He and his wife, Peg, live in Montclair, N.J., where he serves on the housing commission, and he is a trustee of the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee. Sam, a student at Oberlin, spent the summer working as an intern at Oxford American (Sam has a twin brother who is a student at Occidental). Sam patiently listened to me and Tony go on and on about 1960s Wesleyana, as we recounted stories about people with names like Melillo ’65, Dinwoodey ’65, Archer ’65, Fluegelman ’65 and Zetterberg ’65, Norman O. “Nobby” Brown Hon. ’67, and bands with names like Gary and the Wombats and Uranus and the Moons.
In the category of weird blasts from the past, Jim Kates writes (“Dear Herr Zweigenhaft, keeper of the flame . . .”) to tell me that his girlfriend from freshman year recently sent him all the letters he wrote her in 1963 and 1964, which apparently was a lot as when he wrote me he had read dozens of them and was not yet past October of 1963. These letters include many details that will be of interest to very few people (e.g., “Pete Kovach dropped by earlier this evening; he is cultivating a beard . . . He’d spent the weekend at Wellesley”) but they perhaps capture that memorable (but fading?) first year we spent at Wesleyan. Jim would be glad to share these with interested classmates.
Bruce Morningstar wrote to catch me up on what has been going on with him. He has been fighting prostate cancer and needed radiation treatment. Fortunately, this treatment seems to have worked, as his doc has told him that his PSA is now way down. Unfortunately, his wife of nearly 47 years, Katie, died in late October (“I lost my love and my best friend”).
Despite these travails, Bruce was nice enough to ask about me (“You write about the rest of us. Let us know how you are doing”). I’m doing fine, living with my wife, Lisa, and two rescue dogs, both collies (Jokomo and Zena), in the house in a historic neighborhood we moved into in 1975 (before it was “historic”). I have been fortunate in terms of the major health issues that many people my age and younger have faced. I am still teaching (though a somewhat reduced load), and still writing some academic stuff. My writing project this past summer (2019) was not my most academic (au contraire), but it was one of the most fun. It is a book about the pick-up basketball game I helped to found and have been playing in for 44 years. It is titled GEEZERBALL: North Carolina Basketball at its Eldest (Sort of a Memoir). By the time you read this, it should be available at my favorite Greensboro independent bookstore, Scuppernong, or whatever your favorite independent bookstore is, or (if you must) through Amazon.
Richie Zweigenhaft | firstname.lastname@example.org