I sit here in disbelief, thinking about what the new normal will be. I must admit I feel frozen. While those fortunate can resume work online or safely maintain social distancing at work, many I know are newly unemployed and worried about staying afloat. I am somewhere in the middle. Two in the morning is my least favorite time of day as my monkey brain jumps through too many what-if scenarios. I wish by the time you read these notes, the worst is behind us. I pray we have pressed the reset button to create a just and fair society for all.
Kirsten Wasson sends good vibes, “This is a scary time for all of us. I live alone—not easy. But it’s an excellent time to meditate on what’s really meaningful about life: observation of nature, appreciating friendship, gratitude for health.” Cori Adler started a Zoom dance craze in Seattle and declared Sundays 5:45-6 p.m. (Pacific time) as a Zoom Garden Dance Party. Ken Fuchs writes, “With all of Hollywood shut down, Kate and I enjoy our 18-month-old baby, Bella. She fills every day with laughter and love, which helps make these strange times quite bearable.” Jonathan Chatinover had “a Wesleyan swimming alumni Zoom chat in early May with Kay Robertson, Martha McNamara, Carol Freuh Russo ’84, Josh White ’84, Al Spohn ’80, Margot Schwartz ’85, Lisa Rosenblatt ’85, and former coach Pat Callahan ’71 and his wife, Anne Goodwin ’79. Kenny Gordon received the “Top Doctor 2020: NJ Top Docs Award” for his dedication, accomplishments, and devotion to patient care. Wayne Logan is sheltering in place in lovely Tallahassee, Fla., where he’s lived for the past 12 years teaching at FSU Law.
Life goes on, albeit remotely. Michele Deatrick is “chair and founder of the DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council. I’ve transitioned from non-stop travel on a national listening tour to doing the same virtually. I’m leading the Council’s effort to craft bold, ambitious recommendations for the climate and environment planks of the 2020 Democratic Party Platform. As for shut-down activities, the highlight this week was growing alfalfa and radish sprouts. Son Alexander is taking a leave from Amherst to run Arati Kreibich’s campaign in New Jersey’s 5th congressional district, and daughter works at NIH specializing in infectious diseases.” Sheila Spencer writes, “Thankfully we are all healthy. I have continued volunteer work remotely, assisting first-generation and low SES students with college applications and career development through the community-based Neighborhood Youth Organization. I started my first Coursera class, Career Decisions, taught by the director of Wesleyan’s Career Development Center. I look forward to gaining insights for a career pivot as well as those that I can share with others. During these strange new times, I am thankful that social media has enabled me to reconnect with COL classmates Beth Ross, Sue Peabody, and Ann Wise ’82.”
Andrea Smith is a professor of Anthropology at Lafayette College, Easton, Pa. She and her son, Nathaniel ’13, live on a farm in rural New Jersey where they have spent the past several months mostly outside as they develop a minor egg and poultry business: building duck houses and turning their living room into a chick and duckling hatchery. Andrea writes, “While shifting classes to remote learning has led to some hilarious glitches, moving faculty meetings to Zoom has been surprisingly smooth and even welcomed.” Craig Edwards and family (wife Mary K, a tenured professor of English at UConn, 27-year-old son Jesse who lives nearby, and 24-year-old daughter Annie living at home) have weathered the pandemic in remarkably good shape, but as a full-time musician in a niche area (American roots music—traditional styles from Appalachian fiddling, blues) his income has taken a big hit. He is developing online lessons and performances and marveling at the tools available for such things. Additionally, he is gardening seriously for the first time in years. He started two Hugelkultur beds, “a form of permaculture based on old European sustainable farming practices. Once planted, tilling, weeding, and watering are minimal because the bed holds moisture like a sponge. Pretty cool!”
Emily Zhuvkov writes, “Before COVID-19, I spent my time between Panama and Berlin, where I was working on a series of cast bronzes. I am also in pause mode on a large sculpture commission here in Panama, waiting for things to reactivate. Meanwhile, I have moved online in my teaching roles as an adjunct art professor at Florida State University-Panama and head of the visual arts department at the International School of Panama. I design and facilitate residencies and workshops between artists and scientists, with the nonprofit association Estudio Nuboso, a nomadic platform for exchange between art, ecology, culture, and society.”
Catherine “Cat” Maguire and David Campanelli’s son, Keegan, graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. He has worked on projects in microgrids, grid modernization, renewable energy, and their intersection with software and cyber-physical systems.
Lastly, two-thirds of my trio graduated from grad school and are looking for jobs in public education.
Laurie Hills | email@example.com