Aloha, everyone. Well, I don’t know about you, but this whole COVID-19 “thing” continues to be weird. Oh, well, as I write, we’re within 30 days of the election. Maybe the results will be known by the time this column is in print and in your mailbox. Happy New Year.
After a gap of several years, I had an email from Peter Traneus Anderson just after deadline for the last column. His remarks about the virtual reunion yearbook reflect those of several classmates at virtual meetings: “Many thanks to everyone involved in producing [it]! I learned about classmates I would not have learned at an in-person reunion.”
Peter retired 10 years ago. He offered thanks to former faculty James Millinger, who taught Chinese history from 1968 to 1975. I took both semesters of the introductory version of his course. I learned a lot, starting from total ignorance, but only enough to earn two D’s. Specifically, I learned that the present-day Chinese Communist Party is merely the latest imperial dynasty, right on dynastic schedule.
Peter remarked, “The founding of Intel in 1969 was not mentioned in the virtual-reunion book, but marks for me the beginning of the computer revolution of the ’70s ’80s ’90s and ’00s.” He noted, too, that “The first issue of the alumni magazine I received after graduating in ’70, had oldest alumni notes from Class of ’98. The most recent issue has oldest alumni notes from Class of ’38. Our longest-lived alumni are living longer than previously.”
Steve Talbot (who often posts thoughtful comments on Facebook), is at work directing another film called The Movement and the Madman. (It’s about the Nixon/Kissinger administration versus the anti-war movement in the U.S. in 1969.)
Here are more details: “I’m directing a new documentary about the Nixon / Kissinger administration versus the anti-war movement in the US
in 1969. We’re calling it “The Movement and the Madman.” The title refers to what Nixon called his “madman” theory or strategy in which
he wanted to appear to North Vietnam’s leaders as a man capable of doing anything, even something crazy like using nuclear weapons,
in the war, in order to force Hanoi to capitulate. Here’s our website. https://www.movementandthemadman.com
“The film will highlight the two major anti-war protests in the Fall of 1969 that caused Nixon to cancel his ultimatum to Hanoi that unless they came to the negotiating table and agreed to US terms by Nov. 1 Nixon and Kissinger would unleash a major escalation of the war. All of this was secret at the time. The anti-war movement had no idea what it had prevented.
“I’m interviewing leaders of the Moratorium (October 15, nationwide, two million people) and the Nov. 13-15, 1969 march and rally in Washington DC (the largest single protest in US history up till then), as well as members of the Nixon administration and Kissinger’s National Security Council.
“Anyone in our class remember what we did at Wesleyan for the October 15th Moratorium? If so, send me your stories (and photos!).
Hint: in keeping with the national Moratorium strategy to “go local” and be broadly inclusive, we held a march down Main St. in Middletown and had a rally in a small park with a wide range of speakers, including Wesleyan President Ted Etherington, who declared (after much deliberation) that he was for “Out Now!” We were front page news, banner headline, in the local newspaper.
“Many of you know I filmed the Nov. 13-15 protests in Washington for my first documentary along with classmates and friends Dave Davis, David White,
Bill Tam, Susie Heldfond, Doug Bell, Jim Elston, etc. When we were tear gassed one night in DuPont Circle, recent Wesleyan grad, David Siegel (on his way to becoming a doctor) suddenly turned up out of nowhere to offer medical aid.”
Jim Pickering wrote, “This COVID-19 schmegeggy has clobbered people in my profession. No one knows when we will have anything like live performances in the theatres where I work. I have done a number of Zoomformances of various kinds and gotten paid for some of them, but not frequently enough. And they are unsatisfying. And participation in them does nothing to contribute to eligibility for the health insurance I get through Actors Equity.
“Having bitched about that I can tell you that I, my wife Tami Workentin, her two sons Jonah and Edan Ness, and our dogs Frankie and Joxer are weathering the situation quite well. Both guys have been sequestered with us in our big old Victorian House in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee since April, and that situation has had its ups and downs. Now, however, both guys are on the cusp of moving to their own apartments, and we will have the place to ourselves.
“We have leavened the quarantining by traveling to nearby remote places (yes, both adjectives may apply in Wisconsin) and done a lot of kayaking and hiking. As Tami puts it, “At least we’re someplace else.” Yesterday we stacked a cord of firewood for our Franklin stove, in anticipation of lives lived more indoor than outdoors.
“I hope we get a chance at a “50th Redux” at some point next year. It seems somehow fitting that the class who had no real graduation should be deprived of this reunion as well. In the meantime, I hope everyone stays well and safe. And votes out the diapered tyrant.”
It was good to hear from John Rinehart after a few years. He wrote, “Like all of our classmates, I have been considering the issue of retirement. For the last 12 years I have been a founding member of a large reproductive endocrine medical practice in Chicago. The practice of medicine has undergone a number of changes and over the years being a member of a large group became less and less rewarding. So I reviewed my options which seemed to be stay on for another 2- 3 years and then get out of medicine all together or just retire now. Discussions with many of my colleagues that are my age revealed that many of us were not ready to retire and felt we had value to add to the practice of medicine and we just weren’t ready to retire. So I quit the large medical group and formed my own solo fertility practice—eponymously named The Rinehart Fertility Center. I have offices on Hinsdale and Oak Lawn Illinois, my wife ( a nurse attorney) runs the practice, and this looks like how I will spend my retirement—at least until someone tells me is am too batshit to practice any longer. While I have only being doing this a few months, I have never been this satisfied with practicing medicine or going to work. So a strange way to retire, but I think it works for me.” Enjoy!
Our experts on all things whale museumish, Stuart Frank wrote, “Now retired from the day-to-day cares and woes of life at the office (in maritime museums), I’m comfortably locked down with my wife Mary, our extensive library, an aging laptop, and dozens of musical instruments, and continue writing about maritime art, music, history, and culture, consulting about nautical antiques, collecting books and manuscripts, and have recently taken over as editor of Scrimshaw Observer, the fledgling triennial journal of the Antique Scrimshaw Collectors Association, to which I’ve been contributing three or four articles each year.”
In other retirement news, David White wrote, “I am retiring after a 10-year tenure as artistic director of The Yard, the nationally awarded, inclusive choreographer creative residency, performance, education and community service center on Martha’s Vineyard. Time for a 3rd Act. (Or an extended entr’acte. I’ll miss the Wes wash-ashores who have landed here over time: John Abrams, Peter Woodin, Blake Allison, Bob Julier, occasionally Morgan Muir and Gene Borgida, among others. Virtually all had some experience in the Paleo-Choreographic Era under the Mother of (Dance Invention) Cheryl Cutler (still alive and kicking up her heels in the Pacific Northwest). Cheryl, professor emerita, would be a great addition to the 50th Reunion if it ever happens.”
Robert Baker sent a short message addressed “To my friends who value education.” https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/how-radical-historians-revisionism-and-lies-led-to-2020s-unrest/
The article is about Howard Zinn, the “radical” historian who was teaching at Boston University during our Wesleyan years. Interesting piece worth reading.
Finally, Kate Lynch sent an email from John Griffin regarding our unique 50th Reunion Yearbook/51st Reunion Supplement:
“We will be the first class in Wesleyan history to produce a 50th reunion yearbook and a 51st reunion yearbook supplement.
The supplement will be published in the spring of 2021. We will have stories on what we did during the 1970 strike, including graduation, and on what we did during coronavirus year 2020.
Also, for those of you who did not send in a biography for the first book or want to update your biography, please send that to Geralyn Russo (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please send any photos you have –then and now – to go with your bio.
Ted Reed and I are writing a strike/graduation story that will resemble the story in the yearbook on the draft. (The 2020 coronavirus story will follow.)
In an email, please tell us what you remember about May 1970.
- Did you support the strike?
- What did you do during the strike?
- Were you sorry to miss the last month of classes?
- What did your parents think?
- Were you happy or disappointed with commencement?
- Is your perspective different today?
To refresh your memory, here is a timeline of events in the spring of 1970.
April 30: Nixon announces invasion of Cambodia, April 30: Three bombs exploded on Wesleyan campus, May 1: May Day Rally in New Haven, May 3: Grateful Dead concert, May 4: Students vote to strike announced, May 4: Four students killed by National Guard at Kent State, May 15: Two students killed at Jackson State College. Ultimately, over 450 colleges and high schools went on strike. June 7: Commencement. Those of you involved in organizing the strike, negotiating with faculty and administration, planning anti-war or community activities, please share your memories of how those plans were made and then implemented.
Please send your email with your answers to the above questions and also, any documents, photos, or posters that you would like to share to Geralyn Russo (email@example.com).
Thank you for your help,
Don’t trust anyone under 70.
Aloha for now. Wishing you all good health and less “interesting” times in 2021.
Russ Josephson | firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 1151, Kilauea, HI 96754