CLASS OF 1945 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

In all my 98 years I’ve seen nothing quite like the landfill of “viral” confusion heaped on us this year. I’m told where to go, not go; when to go, not go; what to wear, not wear; what to ingest, NOT ingest; whom to believe, not believe (assuredly!); and so on into the night. Never before have I heard so much self assurance voiced by so many self-anointed experts. I marvel, and then I remember John Neihardt’s couplet: “And in a world so little understood,/There should be room for two to be mistaken/” Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1946 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Jim Goodale ’46, P’85 died in May. He majored in French and was a member of Sigma Nu. After graduation, he performed as a cellist in the Westchester Philharmonic, and was a vocalist for the Dessoff Choirs based in New York City. Ultimately, he worked in New York for over 30 years as a bank executive, specializing in financial advertising and public relations, while raising a family on Long Island. He retired to Fort Myers, Fla., in 1990, where he lived until last year, pursuing his passions for sailing and for performing as a vocalist in his church choir. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, daughter Barbara Berutti, son Jay ’85, and three grandchildren.

Class Notes Editor
classnotes@wesleyan.edu

CLASS OF 1945 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Ninety-seven is a good age, they tell me—no workplace frazzle, no need to hurry, lots of time for your hobbies, and for conversation with old friends. Really? Let’s see—frazzle is alive and well every time I go into combat putting socks on feet I can no longer reach (save the good exercise nonsense). I haven’t hurried since I was tagged “fall risk.” My hobbies were writing (I’m legally blind), skiing, and climbing (they call me “No Knees” today). I’d love to talk with my old friends, but they’re down to one, and he’s entirely deaf. One small quest is absorbing my attention of late: I seek to learn the requirements to be designated illegally blind. Any alumni/ae response (especially ’45) is welcome.

This stroll through antiquity reminds me of a verse, “On The Vanity of Earthly Greatness,” by Arthur Guiterman, which concludes: “Great Caesar’s bust is on the shelf, / And I don’t feel so well myself.”

Heaven’s gift to class secretaries, perspicacious and stylish writer, insightful and innovative journalist Cynthia Rockwell MALS ’19 is retired by the time you read this. I thank her for the happy years we spent together recording the fortunes and misfortunes of the Class of 1945, a class so fragmented by WWll’s ragged scheduling.

Thank you, Cynthia, for your patient acceptance of my versions of class notes, and for your unflagging sense of humor. Ah, lass, you have the makings of a fine Celt. May your retirement be years of joyous fulfillment of your heart’s desire. Sláinte! Agus slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1945 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

That attic I call my mind houses countless memories of things I have read, or written, of glorious things I have seen and atrocities I have witnessed. And special memories of dear friends and loves long gone. I do not remember all the delights of Dante’s Hell, but I do remember one helluva funny incident starring a fellow Wesman and 10th Mountaineer, the late Chip Lofstedt ’44. Our mountain warfare training regularly took us into the high peaks of Colorado, frequently at altitudes above 10,000 feet. On the day I recall with a chuckle, our squad was enjoying a lunch break when Chip, acting radio man, suddenly heard, “This is Scouts Out Lowry Field at 9,600 feet, gliding, gliding.” We rushed to the edge of our lunch area to see a small observation trainer plane cruising along below, and heard Chip, momentarily inspired, “This is Private Lofstedt at 11,000 feet, walking, walking. You’d better get your plane up and out of here pretty damned fast or you’ll be wearing our mountain.” The plane skirted away with nary word of thanks, but Chip’s radio caught a fragment of something about “smart-ass college boy snowbunnies.” Nope, war is not 100% hell.

Well, it’s hard to be secretary to a silent minority, but I am always optimistic that some one of you will send me a word of news—or caution. Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1945 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

As far back as my memory takes me, I’ve wanted to be a poem. Barely a toddler, I was a blipping “Bad Sir Brian” for several tickly stanzas, and as a sturdy young couplet I knocked things off our mantelpiece. I grew apace to where, as a single quatrain, I met grave Alice and laughing Allegra, each saccharine enough to gag a goat, so I punched their lights out. By high school I was pretty much a ballad In the Yukon, but I sobered up enough to become a sonnet; alas, I couldn’t abide the heart-scalding decisions of abab, abba, 8-6, three 4s-plus-2 living, and so retreated to the sanctuary of becoming an elegy. That funereal life so fretted my natural inclinations that I burst from my cell with a limerickal yell to seek the company of a young man from Boston, another from Sparta, and their friend Titian, who seemed fixed on mixing rosematta. Briefly, then, I dallied in passionate uncertainty with Emily until she set me straight and sent me off to Wesleyan, where Frost and Snow gave me every day conversational skill and a permanent sense of the necessity ever to demonstrate good form.

War took me for nearly four years with the 10th Mountain Division, but I never found time to be any sort of poem except as a raggedy 90-pounds-of-rucksack chanty and a bit of R and R with Shapiro. Once back at Wesleyan, then grad school at Northwestern, and finally at the Royal Irish Academy I found my identity in the old world of the Celts: I turned out to be an epic. History of a people; pride in ancestry; desire to live in history; exhortations to followers; sustained majestic verse—all churning in me when I sang Achilles and Aeneas, when El Cid and Roland stood fast, when Cú Chullainn singlehandedly took on Maeve’s gang of cattle rustlers. I really came into my own when Neihardt needed me to go up the Missouri with friends Carpenter, Talbeau, and Fink, to crawl desperately with Hugh Glass, to voice Jed Smith’s wilderness gospel, and to mourn the murder of Crazy Horse and the tragic end of the Indian wars of protest. Yes, in this cultural dust storm we’re living in today, that’s what I am: an epic poem in a society that has no heroic’s mood.

Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1945 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Noting my failure to submit notes for the December issue, Donald Dunn sent me an encouraging email urging me to stay the course, refute the arguments of advancing age, and keep 1945 class notes alive, if not well. And thus, the following fragments of Dunn-inspired musings on whoever remains a ’45-er.

May all your days be smooth as silk;

May all your nights be inviolate;

May all your cereal be crisp in milk;

May nothing clog your toilet.

I’ll probably never be famous,/ Or rich, or even well-bred;

I’ll likely amount to just nothing,/ So I guess I’ll go back to bed.

Those Celtic fairies are everywhere,/ And they see everything you do,

So you’d better watch yourself, classmates,/ Or they’ll lay a curse on you.

Friends like you/ Don’t grow on trees,

You’re always true blue,/ Always aiming to please.

I figure I’m lucky/ To call each of you “friend”;

You’re lallapaloozas/ … and like that … The End.

And, slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1945 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

There’s a saying here in Colorado that we have two seasons, July and winter, and we had winter beyond belief this year.

In mid-May, we had a walloping storm that they are still trying to clear up in the High Country. But at the same time, I got a warm letter from Donald Dunn in balmy Ohio. He’d been reminded of something that happened a long time ago, because he’d been at an event where they were discussing World War I. There were pictures, and one of Geraldine Farrar, which called to mind the fact that he had been an opera buff for years, partially because when he was in Italy with the 10th Mountain Division, as I was, he was wounded and during his convalescence he was assigned to Naples for a few months until they could figure out what to do with him. During that time, the Naples Opera Company reopened, and Donald went to see La Traviata—the first time ever that he had been to the opera. He said that it was a real treat. “And then came Carmen, Il Trovatore, Aida, The Barber of Seville and I’ve been an opera fan ever since,” he said.

Well, reminding him of that time was the reference to Geraldine Farrar, because when he got back to Wesleyan—about the same time I did—we both signed up for an opera course with George McManus. It was a dandy.

I’m going to quote part of Don’s letter, where he talks about that experience, because it’s really very warming. He was “mightily impressed with George McManus’s leadership. And one of the things that is unforgettable was that among our various assignments, we did go to the opera and one of them was The Marriage of Figaro. After that performance, George McManus got us to see the conductor, meet some of the cast, and on our way back to Middletown from New York, we stopped and had a visit with Geraldine Farrar. It was a memorable visit because she was quite a testy person. She was suffering a little from gout at the time and was very entertaining in her comments about how things had been in the old days about opera.” During the course of pursing operatic matters with George McManus, Donald and he became pretty good friends and they continued that friendship after the war.

The significant part of that visit was that the McManuses stopped on their way back to California for a few days’ visit with Donald and his wife. During that time, not only was there good conversation, but also George played for them. And Donald remembers that vividly, particularly Beethoven’s “Apassionata,” which was a remarkable treat.

Donald reminded me that we have three things in common:

One—10th Mountain Division in our combat experience; two—Wesleyan, before and after the war;  and three—that mutual love of opera. He got his in Italy; I was brought up on it because my mother was a soprano and insisted that I go to every opera that came to Smith College or to Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

It was a fine letter from Donald. I appreciate his long memory and his warm regards, and I intend to pursue our conversation a little further, once I get a computer back—and that’s another whole story I may be forced to tell you out there at some time in the future.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves. Don’t let Donald Dunn be the only correspondent with your secretary. And to all of you, slán go fóille.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com
805 Compassion Dr., Apt. 208, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1945 | 2017 | ISSUE 1

Lacking news of any sort other than that I’m losing my vision, and being disinclined to offer fake news, I submit the following bit of translation from an Old Irish marginal note by an Irish monk who was working on one of those beautiful medieval manuscripts. That scholar and his cat each loved his work:

I and Pangur Bán, my cat,

‘Tis a like task we are at;

Hunting mice is his delight,

Hunting words I sit all night.

In case you’re curious, pangur means “fiddler” and bán is “white.” Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com
805 Compassion Dr., Apt. 208, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1947 | 2016 | ISSUE 3

This time around, I heard from one classmate, Ezra Zilkha, who wrote, “How wonderful to hear some news about you and Happy New Year! I am now over 90-years-old, and I know you must be, too. I always have such good memories of our friendship. Several months ago, I gave a talk at Wesleyan. I hope to see you the next time you are in New York and would love to get together for lunch.”