CLASS OF 1981 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

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 This is Joanne with greetings from the Heartland during the time of COVID. Thankfully the 2020 election is over,  and vaccines are getting ready to roll out. It’s turned out to be quite a year, hasn’t it? These past months have served as a clarion call for the world. Individuals, families, communities and entire countries have experienced such a range of emotions in the battle against this virus. We continue to experience and read about extraordinary moments of human bravery, kindness, self-sacrifice, and empathy. We have been forced to slow down, ponder, reflect, and regroup. Until this is truly behind us, we can only continue to try to stay safe and help others weather this storm.

Delcy Ziac Fox writes that she and Miriam Stern Sturgis (retired) have been taking advantage of Zoom to do Israeli dancing together every week—fun! Delcy also reported dining with Jim Sullivan ’82 and his son Owen Sullivan ’19 for some very pleasant socially-distant meals on Cape Cod. Jim works at Morton Hospital in Taunton, Massachusetts; Delcy has been working remotely from the Cape.

Mike Trager is still a partner at Arnold & Porter in D.C., where he lives with his wife, Mariella. Mike reports that his parents (Phil ’56) are well and living in Connecticut. His “boys” are grown up and gainfully employed. Son Nick ’11 works in London but was told to remain in the United States when COVID hit. Son Alex works in NYC. Both of them returned to D.C. to telecommute. “We had a blessed three months with all of us working from our home and  having dinner together every night without fail. A true silver lining to all this madness!” Mike and Mariella joined the Biden for President team very early on and worked hard for the campaign.

“After seven months of work from home,” says Dave Lynch  (global economics correspondent at The Washington Post), “my wife Kathy and I take every chance we can get for a change of scenery.” This fall, they visited their youngest son Declan, a University of Virginia sophomore, and hiked in the nearby Shenandoah Valley. Their oldest son is living in Seattle, and their middle son is finishing up at the College of William & Mary. If you don’t already, follow Dave at The Washington Post or on Facebook to catch his insightful and thought-provoking articles.

In case you missed Brad Whitford in a riveting performance in season three of The Handmaid’s Tale, you can watch him and his West Wing colleagues for a reunion special airing on HBO Max, which benefitted When We All Vote. “We understand that some people don’t fully appreciate the benefit of unsolicited advice from actors. We do know that,” Brad said recently in a CNN interview, adding, “The risk of appearing obnoxious is too small a reason to stay quiet if we can get even one new voter to vote.” Right on, Brad!

I recently caught up via a Zoom cocktail call with Patty Smith ’82 and her “new” wife Cindy Warren from their home outside Richmond, Virginia. Although they have been together many years, they only officially tied the knot this past April. Heartfelt congratulations to them both! Patty and I raised our glasses and reminisced about our common Wes friends, our many experiences at Wesleyan, and our multitude of adventures (and misadventures!) in Paris. Patty continues to write, teach, partake in conferences and give readings—and ride her new Peloton bike, a 60th birthday present from Cindy.

A quick birthday text exchange this September with Deb Chapin revealed that she is now an official and enthusiastic resident of the Granite State (aka New Hampshire). That puts her a few hours closer to her daughter Thalia, a student at Montreal’s McGill University, as well as to other family members nearby. Telecommuting from the beauty of the NH mountains sure beats commuting in Boston traffic—and the skiing is right in your backyard!

As 2020 comes to a close, let us look forward to “the new normal” in a post-COVID world. In the meantime, continue to be wise and stay safe. 

And . . . don’t forget: 2021 is our 40th Reunion Year! Although the in-person event has been postponed (keep an eye out for updates from Wesleyan), the reunion committee is meeting virtually, brainstorming and planning some fun and exciting virtual events to kick off our reunion year. So be on the lookout for emails containing useful information and logistics on how to join in. If you have any ideas, feel free to share and I’ll forward to the committee. There is still hope for an in-person gathering at some point in the future. But in the meantime, it will be Zoom-land!

Happy holidays to you and yours, and best wishes for a peaceful, prosperous, and healthy New Year 2021!

David I. Block | david.I.block@gmail.com

Joanne Godin Audretsch | Berlinjo@aol.com