CLASS OF 1979 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

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Hello everyone. I hope all of you have been weathering the pandemic and various levels of sheltering at home as well as you can. My husband and I (Diane) have been pretty much staying sequestered in our home but are cautiously optimistic about 2021. 

On that subject, Peter Cherr passed along his innovative approach to uplifting us: “In April, in response to COVID-19, I started a Haiku project called “Haiku in the Time of Corona Virus” in hopes of bringing some peace and calm and perhaps respite for people in this trying time. Toward this goal, I write and post on Instagram at least one Haiku every day with an accompanying picture which I hope uplifts people. The project can be found on my page @peter_c_cherr, and also, by the end of December, the website will have published 27 Haiku in their “Poetry Corner.” I have posted over 160 Haiku on Instagram to date and will have posted over 250 by year-end. The project will continue daily into next year while we wait for the pandemic crisis to ease.” 

Barbara Woike retired from the Associated Press in New York in March 2019 after being a photo editor there for 32 years. “My husband Jim McNamara and I decided to try small town living, surrounded by nature, so we sold our Brooklyn co-op and moved to the Berkshires. We now live in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a stone’s throw from the Red Lion Inn and the Main Street that still looks pretty much the way it did when Norman Rockwell painted it half a century ago. We couldn’t have been better placed when COVID-19 struck, and we’re enjoying our new lifestyle, but it is sad to see Tanglewood and all the other cultural attractions shut down and the local economy suffering.” 

 Cliff Hendel recently authored a chapter in a collective work published in Spain called A La Sombra—Actores Secundarios de la Historia. Each of the 57 chapters pairs a leading historical figure with another person who has remained “in the shadows” but without whom the historical figure would not have reached the status/notoriety he/she enjoys. His chapter had a certain Wesleyan connection. It involved the relation between Hamilton (relatively unknown, even in the United States, before Chernow’s biography and Miranda’s musical) and Washington (a global demi-god). Cliff continues to live in Madrid, practicing law and finding time to be a patron of the Fundación Española Pro Bono and to coach a team of law students from Madrid’s Universidad Carlos III in the annual Vis Moot competition.

Laura Walker, with an accomplished career most notably for transforming New York Public Radio into an independent media powerhouse and for spearheading successful, innovative initiatives at Sesame Workshop and Carnegie Hall, was recently appointed president of Bennington College. Congrats, Laura!

Ben Solnit reports that he has been running Zoom board meetings for the ACLU of Connecticut and the Morris Land Trust. Virtual mini-reunions were attended by Kitty Hannaford, John Hatleberg, Maura Resnick, Kate Sutherland, Laura Tully, and Laura Walker, along with many spouses. Ben is also taking a class with Professor Emeritus Herbert Arnold on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s masterpiece Parzival. “If 2020 has you down, medieval literature is the way to go.”

In an impassioned plea for environmental action, Ellen Reiter writes “All I can say is glad I’m old . . . I’ve been a climate activist since the 70s, but seeing negative results: climate change is out of control, and we humans, in my opinion, sit atop the endangered species list and indeed deserve to go extinct! Sorry, not sorry, world needs to stop burning fossil fuels, destroying ecosystems and waging endless war, all in the name of run-amok capitalism and systemic racism.” She also shares that she has recently relocated from San Francisco to Ocala, Florida to care for her very cool parents!

Casey Dinges retired after 35 years at ASCE working on infrastructure issues.

Diane MacLean Boumenot has retired from the American Mathematical Society and now works as a professional genealogist specializing in southern New England. Her website is Diane published a guide to Rhode Island genealogy through the National Genealogical Society in 2018.

In our last issue, Ann reported on the passing of Joe Britton. Our former co-class secretary, Gary Breitbord, passed along the following message after we went to print on that issue: “Joe Britton passed away in May. He was my third-floor sophomore year roommate; one of my best friends in the world; my brother in every sense of the word; a staunch defender of DKE; a loving father, son, brother, husband and grandfather. He was the best of us. Please keep his family, wife Nancy, son Scott, daughter Paige, and granddaughter Madison in your thoughts and prayers. Also take a moment to remember the times and stories that made Joe such a great friend and such a special person. God bless and rest in peace.” 

Please send us news for our next issue. We are part of a wonderful community. Connections to our friends, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other, are important and bring joy even, maybe even especially, in these challenging times.

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |