Willie Lee Jones shared a great article about him and good things happening in the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Parks and Recreation Department, which he heads:
“County’s Park and Recreation Department and Director Receive Top Honors”
“The Charlotte American Institute of Architects recently awarded Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Director Lee Jones with the AIA Charlotte Citizen Architect Award at its 2022 Design and Service Award Ceremony.
“The AIA Charlotte Citizen Architect Award recognizes the work of architects who serve as elected or appointed officials, public administrators or institutional leaders and establish and contribute to the development of laws, regulations, policies, or initiatives that promote excellence in architecture.
“In addition to Director Lee’s award, the County’s Park and Recreation Department received the Great Public Space Award for Romare Bearden Park at the City of Charlotte’s Urban Design Awards. The goal of the local awards program is to recognize and celebrate quality urban design in Charlotte, while encouraging continued community discussion around what makes for unique and great places.”
Lauren Steiner sent us this update: “Smack in the middle of the pandemic, two years ago, I decided to move to Asheville, North Carolina, after 33 years in LA. I call it my third act. Act 1 in the Northeast. Act 2 on the West Coast. Act 3 in the South.
“I fell in love with this small city in the Appalachian Mountains 10 years ago and started seriously thinking about moving here five years later. It took the pandemic to light a fire under me. I moved with my 25-year-old son who easily found work in the restaurant industry in this thriving tourist town. I love living on 2.5 peaceful, quiet acres on the top of Butler Mountain at 3,500-feet elevation where I am an easy 15-minute drive from downtown. I love the fact there is no traffic here and so much to do and see in the realms of art, crafts, music, beer, food and outdoor recreation.
“I am still doing political activism and am happy to report Madison Cawthorn is no longer my congressman, although we got a more intelligent Republican, who will probably be worse. My Facebook/YouTube interview show The Robust Opposition is six years old now.
“And because of the appreciated value of my LA house, I now have the privilege and pleasure of adding philanthropist to my roles and am happily supporting many local causes and organizations.
Michael Sills is still in Dallas working as a noninvasive cardiologist in a very large “hybrid” group. He has stepped down as managing partner but remains program director for their training program and the imaging department at Baylor University Medical Center. “I am continuing running distances when I can but am most proud of our four children who have given us eight grandchildren. I don’t see retirement in my future as I keep committing to new projects.”
Daphne Raz writes: “My husband Phil and I still live outside of Lexington, Virginia, and are entering the phase where work for money is optional. We think about moving closer to family, but this is a great place to be with climate warming, less great for the culture wars. Still, someone has to do it!”
Ben Solnit lets us know about happenings in his life. “I continue to work as a part-time lawyer for Connecticut Legal Services in Waterbury, Connecticut, doing consumer law for the elderly. Sadly, I am now older than the low end of our definition of ‘elderly’!
“I am president of Morris Land Trust, an all-volunteer conservation organization in our hometown of Morris, Connecticut. Check us out at www.morrislandtrust.org.
“My wife and I have recently volunteered with Washington Refugee Resettlement Program and New Milford Refugee Resettlement. Each is a co-sponsor with Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services of New Haven and each welcomed a family of six from Afghanistan to New Milford, Connecticut, in April of 2022. Audrey tutors them in English and I am working on their asylum applications.
“Our older daughter Rebecca is a human resources consultant for Veris Insights in Washington, D.C. and recently competed at the Women’s National Club Ultimate Frisbee Championship in San Diego. Our younger daughter Anita is a licensed clinical social worker for Mt. Sinai in NYC, treating children and adolescents; she also is a volunteer with Mt. Sinai’s human rights program.”
Martha Bush shares: “This past spring, my husband John Tracey and I celebrated the marriage of our daughter Lauren. I ‘semiretired’ from being the chief marketing officer at our regional foodbank, Foodlink. I’m still doing a bit of consulting while trying to figure out this retirement thing.”
Peter Cherr sent us this wonderful update: “I shared a while ago about my ‘Haiku in the Time of Corona Virus’ Project that I began in March of 2020 when corona virus hit and it was truly bad. My hope for ‘Haiku in the Time of Corona Virus’ was, and is, that each day I might bring some inspiration to others, perhaps a bit of peace and calm, and even humor, during these trying, stressful times, perhaps offer some solace and give people a moment of respite from all the craziness around us . . . that it might be of help to people in some small manner.
“On April 12, 2020, the project officially began by launching on Instagram, posting a new haiku with an accompanying photo every single day, and by having a haiku (not put on Instagram and without a photo) from the project published by kindovermatter.com, who since then have continued to publish haiku pieces once a month. Since the launch of my project, despite having fallen and shattered my shoulder and losing much use of my left hand, I have not missed a day of writing a new haiku and posting one with a photo on Instagram. On November 1, I wrote my 1250th haiku for the project. If people would like to check out my project on Instagram, my page is @peter_c_cherr and the project is #haikuinthetimeofcoronavirus and they can find addition haiku pieces monthly in the Poetry Corner of kindovermatter.com.”
Cynthia Aaron left the medical directorship at the Michigan Poison and Drug Information Center in Detroit after 17 years and is currently semiretired. She moved to Dover, New Hampshire, because she missed New England and is enjoying living closer to family.
Julie Scolnik writes that it is enormously gratifying to finally see her memoir, Paris Blue, in print after 40 years of wanting to share this story. She loves the emails from her readers who tell her that they couldn’t put it down and that it brought back stories of their own. She recently won the Pencraft Award’s first place in memoir. Wesleyan figures prominently in the story, in her post-school, year-abroad experience. In October 2022, she returned to Reid Hall in Paris (where she first arrived to take classes in 1976) to play a concert and give a talk on her book. Julie also just released a CD with her daughter, pianist Sophie Scolnik-Brower, of the complete flute sonatas of J.S. Bach.
J.D. Solomon reports that he just published a historical novel set in 1928 in his hometown of Bay Shore, New York. Home News involves ruthless bootleggers, a trouble-prone war veteran, a cub reporter at a struggling small-town newspaper, and a popular police lieutenant assigned to a case that no one wants solved.
Doug Quint spent 35-plus years as faculty at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor and transitioned to emeritus professor of neuroradiology and MRI last summer. He plans to continue tennis, bicycling, and old guys softball.
Be sure to mark May 25–28, 2023, on your calendars; it’s our 45th Reunion! More information is sure to follow, and please keep sending your news our way.
The unusually warm November weather in New England (75 degrees) has made the onset of the holiday season that much more surprising, if not unreal. Nevertheless, folks have emailed from all corners of the globe.
Dave Levit and wife Ruth took a month-long camper van trip through the Southwest visiting the national parks as well as enjoying the sites of Santa Fe.
Iddy Olson has welcomed her first grandson, Merrick (joining two sisters), as well as announcing her “rewirement” plans for 2023, involving fewer coaching clients, adding more family time, volunteer work, and travel. Congrats!
Susan Leslie Raebeck and Barry Raebeck now have four grandchildren. They have retired as public school teachers after many years. Barry has a college admissions consulting business and has authored several books, the most recent of which, Joyful Teaching: Being the Teacher You Admired, to be published in March. Susan continues tutoring and sharing her love of life with family and friends all over the place. They met up in Tuscany with Liz Hancock Sillin, Will Sillin, Buddy Taft, and his wife Liz.
John Fink and JimUdelson will be holding a minireunion at a Bruce Springsteen concert in March. As president of Aloha United Way, John has the pleasure of working with charities, locally helping tens of thousands of people.
Jerry Stouck and wife Mindy were finally able to visit their son in Hong Kong at Thanksgiving. The Stoucks make their home in Park City, Utah, where they spend winters skiing, summers hiking and golfing, and hosting friends.
It was a welcome sight to see John Perdrizet’s name among my emails. John has an “integrative mixed animal” clinic in Holyoke, Massachusetts, with his wife Frankie. They have three successful sounding daughters in the medical and public health arenas and a couple of grandchildren as well. John received a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). He has a chapter in a new book on Complementary Veterinary Medicine, and will co-author a second edition of the only vet textbook on Tui-na ( TCVM medical massage/manipulation).
Andy Darpino is a doting grandpa of beautiful twin girls. He is surrounded by incredible women including his wife, three daughters, and the two newest members of the family. Andy retired at the end of 2022, allowing for even more time for spoiling the new arrivals and fishing the Jersey Shore.
Danny Ruberman reports that he and wife Ann are spending six months in Berkeley, where he’s part of a research program at MSRI (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute). It’s a return to a place where they were both graduate students. Danny loves talking math in person with lots of colleagues from around the world. After Berkeley, it’s off to Japan, specifically in Kyoto for a month and then in Tokyo for two months.
Jonathan Gertler writes with great pride about his expanding family and the fine work his children are doing in sustainability, climate, science, and medicine: In essence, making the world a better place. Jonathan continues to indulge his passions in fly-fishing and music along with his entrepreneurial and life science stuff.
Vanessa Burgess attended Dave Thomas’s annual football fundraiser at the Yale Club in September where she saw Don Citak, who had just returned from vacation in Sicily. At Homecoming, Vanessa experienced perfect weather for the defeat of Williams and claiming of the Little Three title.
A service for John Driscoll’62 on Saturday morning was poignant—a reminder that life is about bringing joy into people’s lives as he always did.
Finally, two very sad notes to report on: Jane Eisner wrote in to say that Stephen Gavin died in September in Zagreb, Croatia, succumbing to an aggressive cancer that was diagnosed only months earlier. A memorial service will take place in Austin, Texas. At this writing, no date has been set. It is with great sadness that I report on the death of our beloved classmate, Don Spencer; he was such an important member of the Wesleyan family. His warmth, humor, and insights were valued by all. Don always managed great humor interwoven with the bravery he exhibited during his health struggles over many years. Don’s burial will be private in St. Augustine, Florida. Don’s wife Vicki and daughters will sit Shiva in NYC on dates and at times TBD along with a memorial in early 2023.Although more common at this stage of life, Stephen’s and Don’s deaths remind me to appreciate all that I have, especially good health along with the camaraderie of you all.
My best wishes and hopes for a happy and healthy 2023 go out to each and every one of you.
What we lack in quantity of notes, we more than make up for in wonderful detail from the people who wrote. Thanks so much to Byron, Liz, and Cindy!
Byron Haskins writes:
“Gabrielle and I continue our adventure in Montreal which, other than spending almost the entire summer at our home in Michigan, involves living in one, and now a nicer, old apartment on the west side of the city. But, like every other place coming out of the COVID hangover, we haven’t seen much of the city other than family. We did manage to help organize a tenant’s association before moving out. They really need one. Don’t get me going about real estate investment trusts as landlords . . . .
“And on another unpublishable topic, we are trying to sell her family property in Shefford—you can get the full story by going to my music website www.ignorantsavants.art. If you know anyone who wants a 1.2-acre riverside property with well and septic (the building needs a complete makeover or demo) for $200K U.S., this is the place! The ultimate plan is to return to a politically liberal Michigan and work to keep it a learned oasis of moderation in the upper Midwest.
“Meanwhile . . . I’m using all my free time continuing to learn to make music in intentionally eccentric ways and posting the attempts on SoundCloud under the ‘ignorant savants’ moniker—and on www.ignorantsavants.art. My goal is always to take a work from a germ of an idea to a completed piece (sometimes with an accompanying video) in less than 48 hours. I always give credit to Carol Bellhouse for stopping by my house, showing me GarageBand, and asking me if I could create music soundtracks for her poetry-art videos (https://carolbellhouse.com/movies/). It’s just fun, and if I were not retired, I’d consider it all a waste of time. I call it keeping my neural networks functioning while my spouse continues to work in traditional ways.
“I continue to intend to do more for the classmate conversation videos and, one day, Joanne Lukitsh and I will have coordinated time to turn it into something really amazing.”
“I really did graduate from Wes U in 1976, tho’ I knew few from that class, having started out in the class of 1977. A year at Wes, a year at Bowdoin, a year at Wes, and out and off.
“The best memories of Wes? My freshman hallmates in Clark Hall, mothered by our RA Adrienne “Boom Boom” Bentman ’74, with a roommate (Kath Booth ’78) that later Eurailed around Europe with me, where we ran into another hallmate on a train in Norway, of all places (she had been visiting her Sicilian relatives). Delta Tau fraternity, where I had numerous friends and lovers. Being on the women’s crew team in 1975–76, rowing in the same shell as later Olympian rower Kathy Keeler ’78. The Cris Williamson concert at McConaghy. Impossibly finding the contact lens that popped out of my eye into the grass of the football field when playing tag football at night. Fellow students who introduced me to NYC jazz, rock climbing, consciousness raising groups, and more. Teachers who took the time to get to know their students, and introduce a science person to Chaucer, studio art, and economics. The satisfaction of getting a good education at somewhere other than Harvard or Yale, with more fun and less stress. Go Wes!”
Cindy Arnson writes:
“After 27 years at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars—16 of them as director of the Latin American Program—I ‘retired’ in May 2022. The word is in quotation marks as I’m still working a lot and look forward to staying engaged on Latin American issues—teaching, consulting, and especially traveling. So, to use Ruth Messinger’s words, it’s more like a ‘rewirement.’ My husband Gerry preceded me into retirement, so we definitely look forward to more time on the road! Our three adult children are a never-ending source of pride. Our oldest, Zack, is in the U.S. Foreign Service, currently posted in North Africa; our twins Jeanne and Micah are separated by distance but still close as only twins can be. Jeanne is a graduate student at GW in clinical mental health counseling (thank you, class of ’76 dear friend Wendy Lustbader, for all the advice and encouragement!); and Micah, in the tech world, has moved to LA with his fiancée Maya. The wedding is in June 2023. Life is full and we feel very blessed.”
Emerging from COVID lockdown has brought lots of news—three times what fits the printed magazine, but the full scoop is here with some photos to boot!
This is the column where I notice the balance of employed and retired classmates has dramatically shifted now that we are approaching the end of our seventh decade. To illustrate that point, I’ve separated these notes into two sections.
I successfully relaunched my nonprofit consulting practice in 2021. Last September, Bob and I spent most of our time on the road exploring the Southwest. We were on our way to a family wedding in eastern New Mexico and decided to drive via as many national and state parks as we could hit in Utah (nine) with stops at Mesa Verde and Aztec National Monument on our way through New Mexico. We picked up our son and daughter in Albuquerque en route to the wedding, and they made the return trip with us by way of Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon. We did a combination of tent camping and hotel stays and had an amazing trip despite some too-hot-to-hike weather. On our way home, we all had lunch with Joe Antolin ’76 who moved from Chicago to Albuquerque a few years ago. Thanks to Brian Steinbach for letting me know Joe was there. Thanksgiving weekend brought Martha Faller Brown, Bruce Paton, and Tim Brown’72 to my house for leftovers brunch. Whenever Tim and his wife, Rosie Piller, come to the Bay Area—usually two or three times a year—we all get together for a hike or a meal or both.
Nancy Lippincott works at The Meadowbrook School, a progressive K–8 independent school in Weston, Massachusetts, as the school accountant and doing classroom work on literacy development with the youngest students, Junior Kindergarteners. “After successful sequential careers in human resources, then fundraising, and now elementary education, I am divorced and live outside of Worcester,” she says. “My three kids have finally all launched—two reside in Massachusetts and one in upstate New York—no grandkids but plenty of ‘grandpets.’” She managed to avoid COVID as of October 2022 and otherwise was enjoying an active life with her dog who is her best friend.
David Leisner says, “Right now, professionally, I’m on fire! So much going on. I have three albums coming out within a few months of each other. October saw the release of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, in my arrangement for guitar, with baritone Michael Kelly, on the Bright Shiny Things label (on Spotify, Apple, and all streaming platforms, as well as for download and in CD form). November features the release of Letter to the World, a recording of four of my compositions for voice and various instruments, on the Azica label. The same label will release my latest solo album (digital only) in early 2023, with 19th-century gems for the guitar. This summer I wrote two commissioned pieces, one of which is a concerto for guitar and full orchestra, called Wayfaring, commissioned by guitar legend, Pepe Romero, who will premiere it at the new Hamptons Festival on Long Island next summer. Meanwhile, during the pandemic, I commissioned five excellent, well-known composer friends to write short pieces for me, and these beautiful pieces will be premiered on April 20 at the Morgan Library’s beautiful Gilder Lehrman Hall in New York, in a concert that will also include excerpts from my upcoming solo album. So, life is good on this end.” It was good to hear that things are going so well for David!
Another New Yorker, Don Perman wrote that he is delighted to have a job at The New York Times. When I asked what he did, Don explained he’s with the group that moderates readers’ comments about articles. He sends best wishes to everyone.
Meanwhile on the West Coast, Jeff Morgan and his wife Jodie continue to operate their urban winery in Berkeley, California: Covenant. They have two adult daughters also working in the industry; one at Covenant and the other as the publicist for a celebrity chef and restaurant group. Covenant’s wines are distributed from Tokyo to California and the continental U.S., Canada, the U.K., Israel, Mexico, and beyond. Jeff invites anyone visiting the Bay Area to come visit their 9,000-square-foot winery right in West Berkeley’s “drinks district” at 1102 Sixth Street. On another note (pun intended) Jeff mentioned, “During COVID, I noticed my tenor saxophone was pretty dusty. (I hadn’t touched it for over 20 years. And my last gig in New York was at Gotham Bar and Grill in 1995.) So, I started practicing again. And now I’m playing out a bit, starting with a quartet at our winery’s jazz series last summer. Really nice for this Wes music major to have rediscovered the joy of playing music. Speaking of which, I’ve been in touch with Oliver (Ollie) Griffith ’76 who has retired from his day job as a U.S. consul abroad. His last post was in Paris, where he’s living today and playing his saxophone too.” For a few photos and an article on Jeff’s latest debut, see https://www.berkeleyside.org/2022/07/01/jeff-morgan-covenant-wines-jazz-west-berkeley
Another classmate still working while balancing his day job with music, is Bruce Weinraub. He is continuing his private internal medicine practice despite the rigors of dealing with COVID on a daily basis and says, “I’m a dinosaur in that realm” of not following the wave out of private practice. Bruce adds, “I’m having the privilege of studying with blues piano master Eden Brent from Mississippi via Skype. Check her out.”
Cathy Gorlin updated me that her son Ross has now graduated from medical school and started his residency in family medicine at Swedish Hospital in Denver. Their daughter Lauren lives and works at Google in D.C. During her “spare time” she’s working on her master’s in counseling and being mom to her son who is in first grade at the local Jewish day school. Cathy can’t believe he is already six years old. She makes lots of trips to D.C. and Denver, and she works remotely in Naples, Florida, from January to April, escaping from the cold Minnesota winters.
Corinne Kratz is on the move in early 2023. She spent January in a writing residency at the Bogliasco Study Center for Arts and Humanities in Italy working on her current book. Then she’ll head back to South Africa in March for the annual African Critical Inquiry Program Workshop. This year it is on the theme Archiving Otherwise: Sound Thinking and Sonic Practice.
At Play (Otherwise Known as Retired)
Janet Brodie reports that her regular Zoom calls with Risa Korn and Jane Hutchins were “a rare upside of the COVID pandemic.” Janet recently retired after 33 years as a creative arts therapist in the Psychiatry Department at Yale New Haven Hospital. She admits she “couldn’t walk away, so is still working two days a week.” Speaking of Risa Korn, she retired in early 2022 and welcomed her third grandchild, Robert James (Bobby) Neenan, born in October to her daughter Melanie and Ben Neenan. Risa’s youngest son, Sam, practices medicine in Washington State and is engaged to be married in 2023. Risa and I had a wonderful time together on her way back to Boston from seeing Sam and visiting Jane Hutchins in Vancouver, B.C. We hiked, hung out, ate well, and had gorgeous California weather the entire time.
Jeff McChristian writes, “After 45 years practicing law in various firms in and around Hartford, I am ‘hanging up my cleats’ December 31, 2022. I have enjoyed it immensely and will miss the intellectual stimulation and many deep relationships I have forged with clients and colleagues, but it’s time to kick back and enjoy my ‘golden years.’ Retirement plans include catching up on traveling my wife Pat and I missed during the last 2 ½ pandemic years. We have already planned a cross-country road trip in January along the southern route, to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where my son Tyler and his wife Liz live. My daughter Erin and son-in-law Stephen, based in Greenville, South Carolina, are digital nomads who have spent the last three winters there working, living with, and skiing with Tyler and Liz. We’ll share a late family Christmas. So far, no grandbabies, and I’m jealous of classmates who are enjoying wonderful connections with theirs. In early February we’ll head to Guatemala, where Pat participates in her third community mosaic project in San Lucas Toliman, a largely Mayan community on the shores of Lake Atitlan; then off to Italy (Rome, Florence, and Tuscany) for three weeks in April; a self-guided cycling tour in Denmark or Provence in early June; an 11-day tour of Morocco with Erin and Stephen in October; and a two-week tour in Patagonia in January 2024. Gotta make hay while the sun shines, right? In between I’m sure I will find things to keep me busy around the West Hartford house we have lived in for 31 years, and plan to remain in for the foreseeable future (Dave Rosenthal’s sister, Diane Thomas’78, is one of our many fantastic neighbors). Also on the list: remodeling our master bath, hanging out drinking coffee (and stronger stuff) and playing music with some of my buds who are already retired, and generally loving life. I really can’t wait!”
Russ Munson, living in Chester, Connecticut, retired last year after two decades in practice as a family physician there and two as a physician executive at hospitals and health plans in the region. He and Deb, married 45 years, spend a lot of time in traffic traveling to visit their daughter on New York City’s Upper East Side or their son in D.C., and the three grandchildren they have produced. Retirement allows Russ time for thrice weekly tennis and catching up on a backlog of nonmedical reading he’s been wanting to do. He keeps in touch with Roger Weisberg, Karen Freedman, and Harold Horowitz. For the past 40-plus years, Russ and Deb have spent most Februarys on Sanibel Island, which was devastated in the fall by Hurricane Ian. Russ reflects, “As sad as I am about likely missing a year or two, I feel very sorry for the folks who live there year-round and have lost a little piece of paradise . . . at least for the short term.”
Recently a number of our classmates ventured to New Hampshire as guests of the gracious Vin Broderick. According to Joe O’Rourke, “We had a terrific time reliving the good old days while catching up with our current news. It was great fun, but Vin made us hike to the point of exhaustion.” As you can see in the photo, the crew included Paul Margolin, Steve McCarthy, Dave Rosenthal, Joe, and Vin. J. D. Moore and Mark Flinchum had hoped to join this outing but were unable to make it.
Brad Kosiba has found beekeeping “intense this summer, as we tried to step up our game getting higher quality queens into our hives. Mercifully the church construction project is now complete and fading into memory and I am back to just leading maintenance. My house manager experience at Delta Tau has served me well!” By the way, Brad and Dorothy married off two of their three sons in the spring of 2022, so it was quite a season of celebration for their family.
June Jeffries skipped a mid-October reunion planning meeting with the message, “Greetings all from the Mississippi Delta!” She was riding around, going to sites associated with Emmett Till, then to the B.B. King Museum. Her mother is from the Delta, and June has been going there for her whole life but has friends who had never been to Mississippi and were afraid to visit, so she became their tour guide and had a great time. On December 1, she topped that by attending President Biden’s welcoming ceremony for French President Macron in the Rose Garden. I insisted on pictures so she sent me one of her and the event swag, one of the two presidents mounting the podium, and a shot of the Bidens’ German shepherd romping in his fenced yard with a woman who she later realized was Jill Biden in exercise gear. June thinks her invitation to the event was due to her penchant for becoming a pen pal with presidents, starting with emails to Obama and most recently with one to Biden about the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, to which he responded with a very nice letter in July. Stay tuned for June’s continuing adventures—after the Rose Garden visit, she wrote to Joe requesting to visit the Oval Office for five-minutes so she can see the bust or Rosa Parks that is there. Rosa Parks was a close friend of June’s, and June attended the National Gallery’s ceremony unveiling the bust.
Becky Peters-Combs is retired from teaching but she continues to direct plays (the count is up to 154 shows in the last 47 years). Becky relishes her time with her husband of 40 years, her four adult children, and her one grandson—all in Denver. Her other passions include her three koi ponds, gardening, tennis, travel, gratitude, and keeping in touch with her former students.
Ed Van Voorhees announced, “I must own up to another granddaughter born two weeks ago. I think this is the last. Linda and I are doing well and traveling more—France, Barcelona, and lots of domestic destinations.” Meanwhile, John Tabachnick has been retired for a year now and says that he loves it. “Got to spend time with kids and grandkids. Doing some volunteer work and reading for enjoyment instead of medical journals. Not much travel yet but hope to do more this coming year.”
Richard Hume sent in a longer note. “I’m in my 40th year on the faculty of the University of Michigan, in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology. I just finished a nine-year stint directing our undergraduate neuroscience major, which graduates about 200 students a year. I’ll be phasing into retirement soon, with my final semester of teaching and university service in the winter term of 2024. Still active in research, with a major paper relevant to Parkinson’s disease published in Cell in June 2022 and just starting a new short-term project with a colleague.” In retirement, he and Lesley are looking forward to more travel, including visits with their daughter Rebecca ’01 in Brooklyn and their son Michael, an attorney in Chicago who shares custody of their two grandchildren, Jackson, 10, and Olivia, 8. Michael remarried last fall, and his second wife comes from a large family, so it sounds like Richard hopes more grandchildren will be coming. Richard is looking forward to being at our 50th Reunion, which will also be a family affair, as it will be the 40th for his cousin Daniel Katz ’85. Daniel and his wife, Molly ’87, will also be there to celebrate the graduation weekend of their daughter Elizabeth who is named for Richard’s now-deceased younger sister. She succumbed to cancer at age 37 and started as an undergraduate at Michigan the year Richard joined the faculty. Richard recently endowed several awards for students in the University of Michigan honors program in her memory.
Rachel Hayes is delighted to report that she and her husband finally returned home after an 18-month displacement due to a major fire in their house. Although they were still living with daily visits to wrap everything up, they’ll probably be through even that phase by the time you read this and will be left with the joy of being home in their beautifully rebuilt home. With their son, Spencer, having completed his degree from Marist College, she can now sigh and say, “All’s well.”
Carl Cavrell retired from teaching eight years ago and began working as a substitute teacher at his son’s school. Five years ago, he got divorced and is raising four sons. His oldest just started at Bryant University doing track decathlon, his youngest plays Premier soccer, and “the middle two boys unfortunately are playing football. Neither will end up with Belichick, I have to say!”
Ellen Kabcenell Wayne, who we haven’t heard from for years, took time to write from Alexandria, Virginia, tracing her path since she departed our class in 1974. Her entire story follows.
“I left Wesleyan a year earlier than most of you because I was in a big hurry to get married to Charley Wayne ’73, who had already graduated and was studying law at the University of North Carolina. From my current point of view, it seems like a silly thing to have done; I should have enjoyed all four years at Wes and then moved on to marriage, new location, etc. On the other hand, it’s hard to feel too bad about something that worked out in the long run. I spent my first year in Chapel Hill in a typing pool at the UNC Institute of Government (can’t say I liked it, but it was a good life lesson), overlapped with Charley in law school, then graduated and we moved to Alexandria, where we still live. I got a job in the employment section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice while Charley worked for a law firm in D.C. It was a great place for me to learn to litigate, but eventually a change in government administrations seemed likely to block us from doing the work we had focused on previously. So, I moved to a private firm that allowed me to continue the kind of litigation I enjoyed and valued.
“Life went on. Charley and I had three sons (two of whom are now Wes grads). I felt I’d spent enough time practicing law and decided to get a master’s in conflict management at George Mason University. After graduating from there, I got a challenging and fun job teaching graduate students at the University of Baltimore. Then a colleague I’d met while at the University of Baltimore called to tell me about a position in the General Counsel’s Office at the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). A friend of hers was looking to hire a lawyer with expertise in conflict resolution, and I was well qualified. DoDEA oversees the K–12 schools serving the children of DoD employees stationed overseas and on some of the U.S. bases as well. The office was 10 minutes from my home, and it also offered the opportunity to travel to the schools to provide trainings, etc. It gave me a chance to see places I might never have seen otherwise. I have now retired. We are fortunate to have two of our sons and their families living in this area, which gives us lots of opportunities to see them and the three granddaughters. Our eldest son lives with his wife and his son in Rotterdam, which is a lovely place to visit. I’m looking forward to our reunion and hope to see many of you when it comes around!” We’ll be glad to see you too, Ellen!
Ann Dallas sent me sad news. Her husband, David Ringold, died quite suddenly in early October. After 38 years of marriage, it’s been quite an adjustment for Ann. “But,” she says, “retirement has many benefits, including more time with our son’s family, and time to consider what the next steps might be.” Ann has a one-year-old grandson, who I hope brings joy and light into this difficult time.
David Weinstock has been in Vermont since 1995. He is semi-retired, but reports on theater and opera productions for the local paper. He also leads the Otter Creek Poets weekly workshop, formerly a strictly local group, but now meeting in “hybrid” Zoom mode (email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join or visit). David’s poems will appear in Captaincy from Finishing Line Press in 2023. His wife, Ann Jones-Weinstock, retired from fundraising for Middlebury College, her alma mater, and is now working postretirement as executive director of the Trout Lily Foundation. Their older son Benjamin, 30, lives in Portland, Maine, pursuing digital art and working on a farm. In April, their younger son Daniel, a material science graduate student at Cornell, died unexpectedly at age 27. David says with poetic economy, “We are getting through that, each in our own way.” We wish David and Ann comfort.
Our class lost Jamie McNiff in May 2021. Wesleyan found out and notified me just this past fall. Thanks to Bill Devereaux for sending this memory: “Jamie was the epitome of a student-athlete. A good hockey player who played for the enjoyment of the sport, but an even better student. You could always count on him for an astute and often humorous observation of the absurdities of life.”
Better yet, mark your calendars now for our 50th Reunion weekend, coming May 25–28, 2025. It’s snuck up on us quicker than we could ever have imagined. We already have a committee hatching plans for a fabulous time, and we’re counting on a strong turnout. Don’t Miss It!
Bill Gustus passed away on September 19, 2022. Bill double majored in government and sociology while at Wesleyan. He leaves his wife, Laura Caron-Gustus, and his nine children. My condolences to his family and classmates. His obituary can be read here and below.
William J. Gustus, of Lunenburg, Massachusetts, passed away in his home on Monday morning, September 19, 2022.
Bill was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on January 9, 1953, a son of the late Walter and Rita (Fleming) Gustus and grew up in Wilmington, Massachusetts. A graduate of Wilmington High School, Wesleyan University, and New England School of Law, Bill joined the Peace Corps and served in Malaysia for two years before embarking on a career in law and local government.
Bill owned and operated Settlers Crossing Golf Course in Lunenburg and the Westminster Golf & Country Club in Westminster with his wife and business partner, Donnie Lyons. Prior to his retirement he was the town administrator for the Town of Lynnfield, and the chief administrative and financial officer for the Town of Lunenburg. His career also included serving multiple roles in Middlesex County government, general counsel at Cummings Properties, and being appointed CFO for the City of Gloucester.
He enjoyed many years of worldwide travel with his wife Laura, family, and many of his closest friends.
Bill leaves his wife, Laura Caron-Gustus of Lunenburg; his 9 children, Casey Gustus and his wife Cathy of Wayland, Kelly Gustus and her husband Jeremy of Wayland, John Gustus and his wife Emily of Wrentham, Timothy Gustus and his wife Kara of Melrose, Michael Gustus and Jeffrey Gustus both of Woburn, his stepchildren, Jason Brailsford and his wife Mariah of Lunenburg, Tanya Eberlin and her husband Craig of Ashburnham and Kristin Trumble and her husband Matt of St. Clair Shores, Michigan; his brother, Stephen Gustus and his wife Tracy of Sommerville, 13 grandchildren, former wife Theresa Gustus of Wayland, and many nephews and nieces. He is predeceased by a brother Leonard Gustus.
Monique Witt reports: “Ben soft released his fifth album, A Thousand Pebbles (his second with the Nebula Project sextet) and debuted it at Ravinia. Dev hosted AES (American Electronics Show) at the ExMachina Soundworks space in Bushwick, Steven’s firm was involved in the Twitter purchase, and I’m dividing my time between three upcoming albums and the Soundworks.”
Chuck Gregory has enjoyed success as the Senior Warden at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale, facing the dual challenges of a rector search and the COVID pandemic. The church is thriving with new rector, Grant Wiseman. Chuck’s term will finish in January 2023.
For our 45th Reunion, Chuck sang with a group of alumni at Eclectic. They called themselves the Fossils of MoCon. He hopes to be part of something similar for our 50th.
Dave Skinner, Rob Ingraham, and Doug Cole were among attendees at a celebration for Dave “Duke” Synder, their former hockey coach, during Homecoming weekend (November 5). See below for a picture of the three of them, along with Bill Burke ’73, with Duke and his wife Diane. John Gardner attended as well. It was a wonderful reunion of 40 or so former hockey players from the ’70s and ’80s teams. Duke was a great coach and mentor to them all
Arthur Fierman writes: “My wife Shelly and I had a great time in August with Wesleyan classmates and other grads at the eighth annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, produced by LloydKomesar. This was our fourth fest (one year remote due to COVID) —the films, interviews, and related events are amazing. It has been a great way to reconnect with classmates. Hope to see more of the Class of ’74 there next year!”
For the past few years, Harold Sogard has been taking classes in voice acting with the goal of starting a new career. He’s now reached the point where he has produced demo tapes and is circulating them to agents in the hopes of getting signed and then getting some actual paying gigs. You can check him out at www.haroldsogard.com.
Pam van der Meulen updates us: “I enjoyed re-connecting with Sharon Purdie, Jean Barish, and Adrienne Bentman during Homecoming, following the 50th Reunion planning session with members of the classes of ’73 and ’72. Adrienne spoke at the Title IX seminar that morning and was inducted later that evening into the Wes Athletics Hall of Fame. Congrats, Adrienne! On a personal note, we bought a vacation home in the Berkshires last spring, in the Otis Wood Lands, which we absolutely love, and I’ve started playing pickleball.”
Jay Rose writes that thanks to the efforts of Hank Shelton ’72, a number of Delta Tau Delta members from the classes of 1970–73 held a mini-reunion Zoom call. Representing the class of 1973 were Bud Brainard, Scott Fleischer, Paul Fletcher, John Franke, Mark Helfat, and Jay. Thanks, Jay, for all your efforts.
Rich Ladd tells me he finally stopped working in November as his son graduated from Boise State and his daughter had their first grandchild. He adds, “We are planning to stay in Washington State and enjoy its beautiful landscapes, but we will be traveling the roads of the U.S. in 2023–24 and plan to be present at our 50th Reunion.”
Peter Gelblum writes that the community theater that he’s been president of for the last five years, Mountain Community Theater in Ben Lomond, California, did not produce any live shows in 2020–21 because of the pandemic. He says that during those years, in addition to producing a bunch of short Zoom videos, MCT paid the costs for him to create his first film, about the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire. Peter writes, “In August 2020, the fire killed one person, burned 86,500 acres, including 97% of Big Basin Redwood State Park, California’s first state park, and destroyed 911 homes in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. My wife and I were evacuated for 2 1/2 weeks, with the fire coming within about 100 yards of our house. In early 2021, I interviewed people who lost their homes in the fire and people who fought the fire, transcribed the interviews, created a script using only the words from the interviews, cast actors to play the people interviewed, and filmed them.” Working with a professional editor, they scored the film and backed the actors with images donated by several local professional photographers and painters. He says the result was a 90-minute-long piece of “verbatim film.” He says he has hosted many local screenings at everything from fire stations to big-screen movie theaters, with all admission donations going to the local volunteer fire departments and a fund for fire victims. Peter adds, “I’m now working on raising funds to get it online for free viewing. Other than that, since 2020, we’ve taken two, seven-week, 8,000-mile, cross-country trips to see friends, family, and amazing places in the motorhome we bought to avoid flying and staying in hotels while the pandemic was raging (as millions of others did). Now, I’m back to directing plays and working on ACLU and other local social justice issues, taking shorter RV trips, seeing as much live music as possible, and enjoying visits with our combined three grandchildren who, unfortunately, are scattered around the country.”
Stephen Sullivan sends greetings from Seattle. He tells me that since graduating from Wesleyan, he has had a “dream career as both a potter and an architect.” In 1973–74, he spent a year in Japan studying Japanese folk pottery as a Watson Foundation fellow. “What a great gift the Watson Fellowship was, to embark at age 20 upon a world very different from the one we inhabit today,” he said. “I was welcomed generously by the people of Japan, and decided that I would become a professional potter, like the masters with whom I had studied there. The reality of American culture convinced me a few years later to give up my dream of being a potter, and to study architecture.”
Stephen graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1981 and moved to Seattle with his partner and future wife. He has been there since that time, and recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of the founding of his architectural practice, Stephen Sullivan Designs, PLLC, www.stephensullivandesigns.com.
He is still working in his architectural practice, while he maintains a ceramics studio on his farm on Lopez Island, in the San Juan archipelago. He says, “The Lopez Island farm is committed to soil regeneration practices as well as wetland restoration and tree planting. My daughter and granddaughter live on the farm.” Looking back at Wesleyan, Stephen notes, “Wesleyan’s art department, with its extraordinary teachers, was an important starting point for me. We were so fortunate to have passionate teachers devoted to the educations of their students.”
From Indiana, Stephen Butler says he plans to attend our 50th Reunion and is struck by how quickly 50 years seem to have passed.
And finally, I hope to see you back on campus at our 50th Reunion: May 25–28, 2023. First, keep an eye out for the 50th Reunion Class Book, which will be mailed to your home in late April 2023. This wonderful keepsake will include biographical submissions by classmates, memorabilia, photos, and reflective essays touching upon themes ranging from rugby and football to political protests, and from once-in-a-lifetime concerts to life-changing conversations.
Rumors of Jim Hoxie’s retirement have been greatly exaggerated. Hox has been named co-director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for RNA Innovation. Jim has conducted NIH-funded research on the Penn campus for nearly four decades. As a professor of medicine in the Hematology-Oncology Division, he became an emeritus professor in 2020 and will rejoin the faculty as an adjunct professor of medicine in the Hematology-Oncology Division at Penn Medicine. Since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, Jim has been recognized internationally for his research accomplishments into basic mechanisms of HIV and SIV entry and interactions with CD4 and cellular co-receptors and understanding how the viral envelope glycoprotein contributes to immunodeficiency and evasion from host immune responses in viral pathogenesis. Jim has and continues to serve on and chair advisory committees in many academic institutions across the country and at NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Jim is currently the chair of international Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), which will be held in February 2023. In his role as an oncologist at Penn, Jim has had long-standing interests in interdisciplinary approaches to address the growing public health burden of HIV-associated malignancies. He also served as an attending physician on the HUP Oncology Unit since the early 1980s, specializing in leukemia and bone marrow transplantation. Jim is perhaps best known at Penn for being the founding director of the Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and he directed this center for 17 years. The Penn CFAR, which brings together HIV/AIDS researchers across Penn, CHOP, and Wistar, continues to be a national leader in basic, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences related to the ongoing AIDS pandemic.
Blake Allison crossed the border from New Hampshire to attend the Wesleyan-Middlebury football game along with Steve Goldschmidt,Mike McKenna ’73, Lloyd Komesar ’74, and respective spouses. As Blake reports:
“The outcome was not in our favor, Middlebury prevailed 24-10, but Lloyd made a noteworthy score off the field. As we of our particular Wesleyan era know, more recent grads refer to their alma mater as ‘Wezleyan.’ We pronounce it ‘Wessleyan.’ After all, the great Methodist theologian, and our college’s namesake is John Wesley, not John ‘Wezley.’ Not surprisingly, Middlebury’s announcer used the ‘modern’ pronunciation. It annoyed Lloyd enough that at half time he went up the announcer’s booth and schooled him on the correct way to annunciate our beloved college’s name. Imagine our delight when, five minutes into the second half, the announcer referred to Wessleyan! He was inconsistent thereafter, backsliding into Wezleyan but clearly Lloyd’s intervention had an impact as Wessleyan was heard numbers of times. Now, if that would just take hold on campus in Middletown.”
Below is a view of the game in its idyllic surroundings. The Cards are wearing white.
Jocko Burns was honored at Homecoming weekend by being inducted into the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame. Well deserved!
Mark Gelber came home to Wesleyan to give a lecture on Kafka at the Chabad House. Mike Busman was there and said it was wonderful. I, unfortunately, had to preside at a homeowners’ association meeting, so the fact remains that I have not seen my good friend Herr Doktor Gelber since graduation.
Bonnie Krueger was blessed with two weddings in her family within four months. Daughter Maude ’07, was married in southwest France during a historic heatwave to Benoit Alegre, the charming father of their three-year-old son, Oren. A wedding that was delayed for three years because of COVID, which Bonnie contracted as soon as she arrived in France, so she missed the civil ceremony at the town hall but attended the dinner party and personal vows the next day. Four months later, son Julian married Simeon Grazivoda, his partner of seven years, in Vienna, where they both live and work. Bonnie et al. attended the town hall ceremony in the 16th District with about 50 family and friends from all over Eastern Europe. No COVID, but exuberant Balkan-style celebrations followed, lasting till dawn.
She said, “This means that two of our kids will live in Europe, for whose survival under democratic conditions we pray (same as for the U.S.). There must be some long German word for missing your kids who live too far away. Whatever it is, I have it! (Austin, where Tristan ’15 lives is not much closer by flight time.) Otherwise, what a beautiful mild fall on Cape Cod! I am fully retired but writing two books.”
Geoff Rips has begun working with his old friend Ernesto Cortes Jr., to help him write a book about community organizing in the U.S. Ernie has been the founding organizer of 30 community organizations across the South and Southwest. Geoff first met him when he was starting to organize San Antonio’s Communities Organized for Public Service in 1974. He’s a MacArthur genius and the most well-read person Geoff knows. And that includes all the rest of us.
We are not sure if he is the one of us to claim the honor, but Bob Wahl is now a great-grandfather! Deklan Robert Burgener was born in July.
Jack Walkenhorst, a veterinarian near Cincinnati, died suddenly in November.
Paul Edelberg has been very active in the American Bar Association’s International Law Section’s efforts to gather resources to protect Afghani lawyers and judges in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal. This project was discussed quite often at the August meeting of the House of Delegates, which I attended.
And continuing in the category Famous Pauls, Paul Vidich’s sixth novel, Beirut Station, was purchased by his long-time U.K. and U.S. publishers for release in November 2023. (So given the familiar Wesleyan publication timetable, you should be ready to buy it real soon now.)
In September, Matthew Palmer’88, deputy chief of mission in the U,S, Embassy in London, hosted a dinner for Paul and his wife Linda at Wychwood House, his official residence in South Kensington. He used it as an opportunity to bring some Brit writers together, so there were several well-regarded English spy novelists at the dinner: Ken Follett, Alan Judd, Henry Porter, and Adam LeBor, in addition to Baroness Cathy Ashton. Palmer himself is the author of four highly acclaimed novels. His father, Michael Palmer ’64, was a doctor and also a well-regarded Wesleyan novelist. The Vidichs had their fourth grandchild, Remy, on September 4.
Please be sure to check out our unaffiliated class website, A Virtual Downey House, at www.wesclass72.com. You can keep up with classmates without having to wait for the magazine to come out and share your own news.
Aloha, Here are the more extensive notes from classmates emails. Most following the new guidelines for talking about their transitions after work life. Each entry is followed by the classmate who contributed. Enjoy!
Jay Resnick, of the Hewitt 8 Delaware guys, sent in this photo. Comments about it came from John Wheat, David Rabban, and Michael Brewin:
“Hope you had fun! Looks cold [or wet] for September (jackets)—climate change here has turned the Pacific Northwest into a hot place, even in October (70s–85 degrees F);
“Idea: might be cool for someone to host a live, one-hour Zoom ‘happy hour’/Wes get-together event, one to two times per year;
“P.S.: Here’s a concert music track (at Seattle Center) for chilling out (and a shout-out to my music bros, Richie and Warren): Stolen Moments.” NB: You might need to download the file and use iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, etc. for your listening pleasure.
“The documentary film whose story I discovered and researched, found the sources for, and produced, along with co-producer Mark Mitten and director Steve James, was completed this summer, funded in full by Participant Films, and was one of two documentaries chosen for the first time for world premieres at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, where it got a five-minute standing applause from the 1000-seat full house at the Aliedo on September 2. The U.S. debut at Telluride, a day later, also played to full houses. A Compassionate Spy, about teenage Manhattan Project physicist Ted Hall who became a Soviet spy at Los Alamos to prevent a U.S. monopoly on the bomb, should be released next spring. The whole project has been an exciting journey as I’ve spent my whole career as a print journalist. Got to see our grandson Jacob finally on his second birthday in Oxford where daughter Ariel is now an associate professor when the film premiered in the U.K.”— Dave Lindorff
“Well, I don’t know if this is good news or bad news but I’m not really in a period of transition— well except that I have entered what I call the ‘used car’ phase of life in which parts need to be replaced, in this case a hip. But otherwise, I still produce content for a video game company and so am required to spend a bunch of time in the U.K.; I still teach screenwriting through a low residency program as part of UC Riverside, I still produce and write the odd film, I still consult for a preschool . . . . So, retirement is not really part of the picture. Nor are any of my three kids showing much interest in giving me grandkids. The truth is my work life is always challenging in a good way and my family life is wonderfully gratifying. SO, I’m more than okay with the lack of transition.”—John Schimmel
“Missing Wes and DKE more than ever. It really was an incredible time in our life and a transformation for generations to follow. I’m not entirely proud of how it all went down but would love to go back knowing what we know now. Doing all the mundanities of 73-year-olds, including golf, grandparenting, and drinking good wine.
“Need the ‘fountain of youth,’ before we have another civil war. Miss the rock concerts.”—Joe Keller
“Hope you and Class of ’71 are doing well! I am prep cooking one day per week at Feed More and training to give tours at VMHC.”—Warren White
“After almost 40 years of doing commission furniture design and construction, I am now concentrating on designing and making pieces for our home—no more commissions! I also photograph these pieces and write them up for publication in one or more of the trade journals if I feel that it is applicable. I have been teaching more and enjoying it—last spring I had Jay Resnick’s son Eli as one of my students in a class in Indiana! It’s all very rewarding and I am enjoying it.”—Andrew Glantz
“Neil, I’m avoiding ‘transitioning’ until I come up with something worth transitioning to. Until then, I am still practicing law, albeit at a slower pace than when I was half my current age. Karla and I have downsized (a hideous word and concept) into a condominium, and I’ll consider retiring from my law practice when I find the right next step. I’m really looking for something related to climate change, but that isn’t easy to find.”—Mark I. Wallach
“Unfortunately, I could not go to our reunion. For my transition, I am remaining active as a senior partner at Blair and working with some clients, portfolio managers, and also marketing. I am also on a number of Boards of Trustees including Wesleyan. I am trying to spend a lot of time with my children and grandchildren which has been very rewarding. Finally, I am playing more golf, hiking, and taking a few online courses. So far it has gone well.”—Phil Rauch
“I decided to respond right away before I forget to follow up (another sign of aging).
What’s made my life more fulfilling may not be instructive to others due to my personal circumstance. However, the experience may be replicated by some, as well as give others hope.
“After being widowed in 2000, I finally found the second love of my life six years ago. I am now in a long-term, committed relationship with a wonderful man with whom we share our love for one another and for travel, bicycling, dining out, winters in the desert, our respective board experiences, new friends, and an extended family—all in greater abundance than were feasible while I was single.”—Mary O. McWilliams
“I’ve been practicing law in New York for small firms and large firms. For the past six years, I’ve been a sole practitioner, working out of my home and eliminating a 3 ½- to 4-hour commute. After I set up my solo practice, I practiced in the estates and trusts area and handled small- to medium-size deals such as purchase and sale agreements, structuring and documenting financial arrangements, and a variety of other business matters. About five weeks ago, I handled a transaction in which two partners who operated an accounting firm for 35 years were separating. I represented the withdrawing partner in what was supposed to be a friendly deal between two old friends. I warned my client that when money is involved, old friendships and years of working together usually mean nothing, as each partner jockeys for his own best deal.
“The attorneys representing my client’s partner were from a large midtown firm, with a senior partner and a junior partner working together. Both attorneys were extremely dismissive of me, were terribly rude, refused to even consider comments from me, and lied about the execution document. On the day of the closing, the big firm attorneys emailed to me the final, execution documents, and a marked copy of the execution documents, showing the changes from the prior draft of the document. I went through the documents and discovered that they had removed from the agreement one section which was very important to my client and hadn’t marked it. They probably figured that I would just go over the redlines and wouldn’t notice that they had omitted this very important provision. But, as an old-fashioned attorney, I read every word of the redline and discovered their effort to cheat. I called the junior partner, asked about the redline, and let him have it. Failing to mark a change under these circumstances is unethical and violates the unwritten gentlemen’s understanding among attorneys that the marked copy of the document accurately shows all changes to the document. But I caught these sons of bitches in a lie.
“The junior partner wrote me a two-page letter explaining that the copy-room clerk had made a mistake, and his assistant made a mistake, and as a result they sent the wrong document to me. It was everybody’s fault except the junior partner’s. I emailed the senior partner about this and he told me that they thought my client wanted the important clause to be removed.
“That was it: my moment of disgust. I didn’t want to deal with slimeballs like these two lawyers anymore. I didn’t want to do deals and take middle-of-the-night phone calls anymore. I didn’t want to do the things I had been doing for close to 50 years. So at that moment of disgust, I stood up, retired, and began to wind down my law practice. I’m pivoting into becoming an advocate for people who have a brain illness and have been caught up in the criminal law system. I am excited to learn about the laws and procedures that govern when a person with a mental illness commits a crime, is caught by the police, and goes to jail. If this person is determined by the court to be dangerous, as determined by the court and the district attorney, and as approved by some old men who are unaware of the advances that have been made by psychiatrists and psychologists, the person is placed in a secure forensic psychiatric hospital for an unknown period of time, possible the rest of his life, until the DA, the court and the old men in Albany agree that the person is no longer dangerous. There are no objective standards for a person to achieve in order to be no longer ‘dangerous.’ The residents of the hospital receive little treatment, and spend days at a time with nothing to do but sit in their rooms and try to entertain themselves, especially during the pandemic. I’d like to change this system. This piece may be a little too long for your column, but it felt good to me to get it out.
“Be well, stay safe and enjoy life!”—John Wagner, Esq.
“Neil, I think this is a great idea. I will not be retiring until next August but the consideration of alternatives and options is creative for us all. Look forward to reading the notes and hearing about what others are into.”—Anthony Wheeldin
“Neil, here is my response to your request for what I am doing since undergoing the transition brought on by retirement.
“I was obliged to retire from paying work in 2005. Since [then] I have done music, visual art, studying and writing on topics that aim to reveal the heart of what is, both mystical and rational, learning to fly airplanes, and I have spent a great deal of time helping family and friends in a variety of ways.
“In addition to playing music on the guitar and doing semi-serious photography, metal work, woodwork, and other art, my passion has been revealing the true nature of reality. This has entailed reconciling and relating mystical revelations about reality with theoretical thought systems like quantum physics which attempt to do the same.
“Extending peace.”—Jim Rizza
“Neil, we have finally decided to emerge from our COVID hibernation, so here we are in Italy again, this time for about three months. My wife Lindsay speaks fluent Italian, and I’m working on it. Luckily we have Italian friends in Florence and Rome who we stay with—la vita e bella! Hope all is good with you.”—Blake Allison
“Still working full time at USC in Los Angeles doing cancer immunology research and loving it. On off time, I went back to collecting a fine set of Indian Head cents, enjoying coin shows and my grandchildren, and reading a good book about every two weeks. One of my MD/PhD students, as a present for training her, recently bought a first edition, signed copy of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann for me after hearing about this fabulous work and the Freshman Humanities Course at Wesleyan. I plan on going back to read some of the books from the humanities and German and Russian lit classes such as The Magic Mountain, The Glass Bead Game, Steppenwolf, Crime and Punishment, etc., since they are cherished memories of my Wesleyan experience. I truly miss Wesleyan and hope to visit soon. So glad my son, Aaron ’01, was able to have his own time at Wesleyan. He is in private practice doing maternal fetal care and doing very well. Finally, my wife and I enjoy seeing British mysteries on PBS some nights and my younger son Seth is working with me in the lab while he instructs youngsters in baseball after a short but exciting professional baseball career when he was younger.”—Alan Epstein
“While surfing for something else, I found this. The tip-off was Brooks Edwards’s mustache in the preview frame. I think it was posted only a few weeks ago, so apologies if you’ve already seen this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGjg56e_9N8
“It’s all homemade and cliché free. Contemporary cinematographers would go to school on this. I met an episodic TV director who was hired to shoot a Tampax commercial set at Woodstock. Her husband had been a member of the Hog Farm, so it was closer to the vibe than usual, but it still looked too polished. Like studio musicians trying to sound like a garage band. Some music producers I know gave up and started to hire garage bands to lay down the tracks.
“Some political rants included, but not Aly Sujo’s discourse on bodily functions. Acoustic set opens with Deep Elem, Garcia and Weir apparently playing at the same tempo, but different time signatures. Or maybe it’s a tech glitch. Garcia’s steel solo on Last Lonely Eagle is a triumph of musicality over limited technique. Too Hard to Handle achieves critical mass—Booker T on acid.”—Mark Paul
Dave Foster commented on a series of emails on O’Rourke’s, initiated by Jay Resnick, concerning the Amazon book that can be ordered about the diner. Then there were further comments from John Wheat and Michael Brewin.
Kip Anderson says, “Thanks for the prompt. Nowadays I get much satisfaction from spending time with my three grandchildren. And all along I’ve continued to write poems and see them published in various print and electronic journals. For example, there’s this one published in The Lyric:
Old Friends Remembered
My once-long hair’s been slowly thinning
For going on some thirty years,
But friends I’ve known from the beginning
Are with me as my exit nears.
I’m powerless to turn the tide
That’s always surging toward the finish,
Yet age-old bonds I hold inside
Are something time cannot diminish.
It’s fair to say I was a loner
On many drear and foggy days,
But now I am the happy owner
Of memories that dispel the haze.
And finally, I have not transitioned, I guess. I retired at 52 years old. Decided I missed an opportunity and became an architect/city planner. Worked on improving the built environment in the town of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii. I can actually see things changing, albeit it has taken 20 years. While doing that I became a hospice palliative care physician and started the Palliative Care Program on Kauai that became a test site for CMS of the government. Then I went back to full-time chief medical officer for a biotech company and am now on my second full-time company job. Luckily, I can work remotely so I spend most of my time on Kauai and the rest in La Jolla at my second home. One day I promise myself I will just go to the beach every day on Kauai, but not yet. 😊!!!!
Until next time. All stay safe and healthy and let me know how your transitions are going.
Stephen Policoff writes: “My third novel, Dangerous Blues, was just published by the small but admirable Flexible Press (November 1, 2022), https://www.flexiblepub.com/dangerous-blues. Available at Amazon! Bookshop.org.! Your friendly local bookstore!
“My daughter Jane recently graduated from NYU and is working at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. I am still teaching at NYU and live amongst the looming towers of the university.”
Miles Siegel sent in a photo of Robby Laitos, Mark Fuller, and himself in Yosemite Valley in October. What a great place for a minireunion!
George S. T. DeBolt writes: “Fifty-two years after graduation, at age 74, I have become—in the words of Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV—a virtual internet sensation. I give tours of Pittsburgh. A visitor made a video of one of them, posted it on TikTok, and it has received over 2.5 million views and thousands of likes. I thought I would share the link and the article, which resulted from it for kicks: