CLASS OF 1977 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

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 Several fine notes have been received during this unprecedented year reminding me of the power of connection. Being in touch has been a lifeline to us all who were so used to freely travel- ing or gathering in groups without a second thought but have not for some time now. I have described this year for myself as one of recalibration: shifting priorities to maintaining good health, appreciating all that we have and displaying civility and kindness to others. Here is to the hope these lessons remain long after vaccines have been distributed and we resume our faster paced lives.

Paul Meisel’s son Andrew was married in Maine this September. Paul’s latest book My Stinky Summer by S. Bug came out this summer: a scientifically accurate “diary” by a brown marmorated stink bug. Paul has two books ready for release including My Tiny Life by Ruby T. Hummingbird and You Poop Here, a book on potty training. 

Andy Darpino is hoping to celebrate his daughter’s wedding in January 2021 after this past summer’s postponement. Once this event is completed, he will consider retirement. 

Bruce Kaplan writes from Chattanooga, Tennessee that he retired from his neurology practice and runs Barking Legs Theater with his wife with a focus on dance and music events. They have been creative by streaming shows and holding outdoor events with full social distancing including “Drive-In” Dances. Bruce keeps in touch with Mac Scott as well as recently met up with Cynthia Dembrow to share thoughts and feelings surrounding the recent deaths of parents. Bruce is thankful that Maco Stewart introduced him to Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys at Wesleyan prior to becoming a resident of Tennessee. 

Ellen Gendler is practicing and teaching dermatology in Manhattan. Ellen was stricken with COVID-19 in March; she experienced how onerous it is to maintain the safety of patients and staff. Ellen and her husband were able to retreat to the Berkshires to recover, which I am pleased to report she has. Son Jonathan is chief resident in medicine at Massachusetts General where he receives great career advice from Jim Udelson. He also provided Ellen with their first grandchild. Younger son Michael graduated from law school in May and begins his law career in January. Ellen sends regards to Richard Parad, who she fondly remembers studying bio with at the Science Library, many long years ago.

 Hal Garneau writes that while rooming in Foss Hill 5, he met Dan Waters with whom he became close friends, grew inseparable, fell deeply in love and have been together ever since: “46 wonderful years.” Both Hal and Dan are retired in Hal’s hometown of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Hal sends a special hello to all friends and fellow dorm-mates from Foss Hill 5, which I believe is still standing. A dormitory was built on the adjacent site of a former playing field. 

John Fink recently took the reins of Aloha United Way in Oahu. As so much of Hawaii’s economy is tourism based, the state has been hit especially hard. John is on the front lines providing relief on many fronts for the struggling population. As many have reported, not being to see your children or grandchildren is especially frustrating, albeit understandable. Quoting John: “Some people will look back at the horrid year of COVID-19 and talk about how they made it through, I would prefer to look back and say that I helped make a difference: that’s why we are all here in the first place.” John’s book Think About It, a compilation of editorials from 2000 to 2018, is available from Amazon. 

Johnathan Gertler reports that he is well, along with his family, especially his two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter Jhie. He is grateful to be a part of the health care community and has new music coming out soon. I smiled reading through Keith Stern’s note as I had the pleasure of being his architect for a new chapel and renovation of his temple in Newton, Massachusetts, for which Keith is rabbi. It is frustrating in that people cannot use the completed spaces. But they will! The adage that an “architect is only as good as his client” was never truer. Keith is still married after 40 years and has all five kids and grandchildren on the eastern seaboard. He completed his note stating he is studying astrophysics in his spare time and wears a mask. 

Don Spencer is keeping his spirits up as he fights cancer by working hard at his firm, kayaking, biking, and obsessively buying fine watches. Even though he’s been out of touch with so many alums, he would welcome calls or (socially distanced) visits to his Westport home or NYC apartment (visitors to Westport will be required to ride in his Boston Whaler!). He can be reached at 646-691-7457 (mobile), 203-662-0123 (landline) or donspencer33@gmail.com.

 Susan Jacobson writes from Portland that as owner of a consulting company serving nonprofits, she has been helping a range of organizations weather the pandemic. Family, including her two sons, are well and live locally. She attended some protests and is proud of her city for supporting “Black Lives Matter” so diligently and thoroughly. Susan remains hopeful for the future that our higher ideals will some day be realized. 

Tom Roberts is enjoying following his son’s freshman year progress at Wesleyan; he has joined the football team though no games were scheduled in 2020.

Susan White is continuing to teach, remotely of course, at Boston University School of Medicine. She has taken to the challenge of reconnecting with folks and a rapid adaptation to a huge number of new platforms. So far so good! 

To all I send you best wishes for a fine and healthy 2021!

Gerry Frank | Gfrank@bfearc.com