CLASS OF 1983 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

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Hi, Class of 1983. It’s hard to believe it’s summer already. The flowers are blooming, and my kids all graduated from college and are planning the next phase in their lives. I continue being a data geek at Rutgers, working on the endless dissertation, and caring for my mother with Alzheimer’s. I suppose this is what they mean by a “full” life. Here’s what our classmates write…

E. Jenny K. Flanagan: “I’ve been living in Rhode Island since 1991, and for the past two years in the trending historic waterfront village of Warren, R.I. We bought a 240-year-old Colonial and rehabbed it. Our two sons, who we adopted from Ecuador in 1994, are now grown and living nearby. Tom ’82 is writing a book on systems science and democratic processes for large groups to solve complex problems. I have been working for the past 23 years as a commercial real estate appraiser, with a specialty in land conservation projects, working for clients throughout southern New England.”

Tim Brockett: “Gold fever has hit my new hometown of Emigrant, Mont. You may remember a few years back we had a huge forest fire that leveled thousands of acres in the adjoining Absaroka wilderness. Many people hiked in the next summer and found previously hidden outcrops and stream beds containing gold. Now the commercial operators are moving in and exploring the area. It is a terrific time for geology students to test their skills. Once again my Wesleyan degrees have come in handy.

“Hunting season went well. My friends bagged several elk, mule and white-tailed deer, a buffalo, and a gorgeous wolf. The wolf had incredibly soft and thick fur. He was stuffed and now poses no danger to people or livestock. I spent several days hiking, prospecting, and camping along the U.S. and Mexican border in March. Hunting, prospecting, and living in the mountains of Montana is wonderful.”

Mark Kushner: “I am still thriving in San Francisco, having opened and operated cutting-edge charter schools around the country for the last 22 years, and now leading my first independent school. I still love skiing (telemark and backcountry now), and playing soccer and tennis. My kids are now 14 and 11, with the oldest attending my alma mater, San Francisco University High School, and already expressing interest in Wesleyan! Please look me up if you are in the area.”

Glenn Lunden: “In February, I married my life-partner, Frank Meola, in a small civil ceremony at the Brooklyn Municipal Building, attended by both of our mothers and my brother, Jeff. After 23 years together (and a not-so-recent Supreme Court decision), we figured it was time. Besides, we wanted to legitimize our two cats.”

Lynn B. Ogden: “I transferred to Boyden’s New York metro office but haven’t abandoned Portland, Ore., completely. I enjoy catching up with friends and classmates. I am a regular on campus this spring cheering on my daughter, Emi Ogden-Fung ’19 and our amazing Wes Women’s Lacrosse team who are headed into the NCAA championship for the first time in the team’s history! Go Wes!”

Tim Backer has released “many works so far in 2017, with the culminating CD of a 22-year project, A Platform for Dreams. Classicality (based in Beethoven’s dialect, a reevaluation of understanding 20 years after grad school, having gained insight into cultural politics, European history, the classical music tradition, Chinese philosophy, and women-as-they-actually-are); The Musing Genie: Thirteen Electric Guitar Explorations (a documentary of sorts about achieving mastery of the instrument as a tool for improvisational classical music in the Zappa tradition); Patriotic Impromptus (a dramatic narrative constructed of seven pass-throughs of the U.S. national anthem); The Four Zoas By William Blake, A Recitation (five hours reading aloud the least-understood top-tier poem in the English literary canon).

A Platform for Dreams is primarily a political text, encrypted into sheet music and then recorded and performed. All this has come out of my label, BackWords Recordings, an independent culture production house. The headwind of today’s biz has been an annoyance, but not much more than that. The business plan is to establish rock classical as a genre, allowing reentry of other artists’ back catalogs as well as giving the critical community something to chew on. backwordsrecordings.com.”

Until next time, namaste!

Laurie Hills | lauriec@rci.rutgers.edu