MICHELE ROBERTS ’77
RICHARD MELCHREIT ’77
Had someone asked me in my youth what a 60 (plus)-year-old would look and act like, I would never have imagined it to be any of the group assembled for our attendance-record-smashing 40th Reunion. It pleases me to be among folks who were happy to just be present in order to connect with fellow alumni. Gone are the days when we felt the need to impress with our professional and personal accomplishments. We all enjoyed hearing about the twists and turns in our individual histories. It was affirming to speak with those folks in our lives with whom we shared another pivotal developmental time in our lives: starting our college days in our late teens.
For most of us, Reunion began Friday evening with a reception that would soften the blow of a nasty commute to Middletown from just about everywhere. Driving into our Reunion class hotel lot, I was greeted by Felice Burstein and John Roxby, a perfect start to the weekend. Both are smitten with their granddaughters, and like most of us, are considering the next move after retirement. At hotel reception, I came across Arlene Lappen and Sue Rappaport Guiney. If meeting up with these two doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what does. Next I rode with Iddy Olson, soon to be the mother of the groom (my godson), to campus to formally check in. We attended President Michael Roth ’78’s reception and met up with Vanessa Burgess, Jerry Caplin, Sean McKeown, Bob Glasspiegel, Kathy Mintz ’78, and Steve Beauchamp. We then headed over to meet arrivals at the Reunion class reception. Wendy Brown Giardina and Laraine Balk Hope immediately greeted us. Enjoyed seeing Jim Lyons, Jim Melloan, and Mim Wolf at the reception. It was fun hearing Jim’s German inflection and was really impressed by his, as well as Wendy Giardina’s and other alums efforts, in making their way back to campus from far away. I celebrated a mini Newton High School reunion with Richard Parad, Sarah Kendall, and Paul Sheridan. Other notables at the party were Mike Coffey, Jane Goldenring, Claude Greengard, Betsy Hecker, Mary Jo Wade, Ron Bloom, Dave Levy, Jim Dowling, and expert t-shirt designer and graphic designer, Bonnie Katz. Also on hand were Lee Arnold, Lisa Brummel with son Noah, Cindee Howard, Helen Taenzer Lott, Earl Phillips, Lenny Stamm whose music I missed, Miki Saraf, and the first person I met my freshman year, Richard Swanson.
Saturday got rolling with seminars on campus led by many in our class. Sue Rappaport Guiney, Jane Kurz Klemmer, Michele Roberts (our well-deserved class Distinguished Alumni recipient), and Alan Steele held a panel discussion on mid-life and mid-career changes. Following this was a seminar on “Fake News and Real News: Journalism Today” led by Jane Eisner and Alex Kotlowitz, among others. This well-attended offering featured many classmates including: Doug Green, Susan Berger, and Rachel (Helfer) and Mike Balf. Heading over to the lunch tent I got to catch up with Janet Malkemes and Sharon Adler. A few folks arrived solely for lunch, needing to honor conflicting family weddings and such: Danny Ruberman and world-traveling educators Louise Hazebrouck and Steve Rome, who shared stories from their time in Asia. Photographer extraordinaire, Rick Dennett, was busy capturing shots of the assembled gang throughout the afternoon and evening. Kate Seeger and I got to share a fine walk through the art center. It is quite the head-scratcher that I need to return to Middletown to catch up with so many of the Boston-based alumni.
A short while later, a visit with the fine gentlemen of DKE took place at their house on High Street. The usual suspects there included: Jim LaLiberty, Steve Imbriglia, Don Citak, Jeff Gray, Ted Stevens, and Mike Coffey and Iddy. This led to our class dinner at Usdan, which was a great venue to celebrate the 100 participants who turned out. New folks with whom I got to visit included: Wes trustee Jeff Shames, Mark Beamis, Don Spencer (who survived his new house construction), Jerry Stouck, Dave Thomas, Tom Roberts, Liz and Will Sillin, Jim Udelson, and Dave Zabar. We all enjoyed Vanessa Burgess MC’ing the evening’s salute to our class that included a well-deserved Wesleyan Service Award to a very modest Don Ryan. Though regretting not chatting much with some, I saw from across the crowded room John Fink and his wife from Hawaii, John Gaebe, Jonathan Kliger, Don Lowrey, Marx Brothers aficionado, Hank Rosenfeld, Brad Burnham, Susan Shaw, Bob Rees, and Steve McNutt.
As expected, this was a memorable gathering which nourished the soul as we got to celebrate Friendship in its truest form: old and new. As I have recounted the weekend from memory after almost a week, I am sure that I may have left out other important names who attended. Please let me know that you were present so that I may give a proper shout-out in the next issue. In advance accept my sincerest apologies. To those classmates unable to join in for part of the weekend, we hope that you’ll find a way to meet up five years from now. If this Reunion was any indication, we all just keep getting better and better.
Gerry Frank | Gfrank@bfearc.com