Greetings, classmates! As I write, we are looking forward to our 35th Reunion and slogging through the dark days of winter in the U.S. Northeast. In anticipation of May’s Middletown events, the reunion committee hosted a Zoom social hour in the cold days of February. We split into first-year dorm breakouts and enjoyed reminiscing about when we were 18. And we brought some wonderful memories to life.
The Clark breakout talked about the noise of Olin construction and how it really upended morning sleep for many in the dorm—except for Michael Pruzan who is from New York City. To him, noise was noise. They laughed about the 8:30 a.m. weekly calls on the hall phone for Sue Romeo from her mom, who apparently hung on the line waiting for her, and Sue almost never arrived to pick up the phone. Then they remembered the amazing tip that Dave Perryman’s Clark roommates left him on his first lunch shift at Downey House. Amazing, that is, until he realized that Eric Apgar had rubber cemented all the coins and bills to the table. The group also discussed the great bathroom stall mystery of 1983–84, when some mischievous dorm mate stuffed a pair of blue jeans and shoes and propped it up in one of the stalls in the second-floor unisex bathroom. There, the solitary figure sat resolutely, maybe stolidly for several days. Like Rodin’s The Thinker, it was contemplating lofty principles, no doubt, until an intrepid group of students knocked on the stall door to see if everything was “okay in there.”
In the Butterfield group, Daria Papalia and I recalled Meteor Farm, a choral piece written by Professor Neely Bruce, that some of us performed in NYC’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This was a piece where each person in the choir sang an independent verse simultaneously, until the group joined together to sing METEOR FARM all at once. I demonstrated and people were surprised that I remembered my unique words and tune.
Sue Roginski told the Butterfield group that she had a bit of time on campus last fall with Molly Rabinowitz and Paul Blanchard. They walked around campus and through downtown Middletown together during a very rainy Homecoming weekend at Wes. During the pandemic, Sue has been working online, thanks to Zoom. The dance nonprofit she is a part of first paused during 2020, and then moved their dance events to the virtual platform in 2021. What has evolved because of that work is now the first-ever dance film festival in the Inland Empire. Hope you all can check that out on June 25th (www.placeperformance.org)!
The Butterfield group was entertained when Dave Robinson showed us all Chris Roellke’s commemorative bobblehead. I’ll let Dave take it from here. He writes: “For those that missed it (i.e., anyone who hasn’t come across one of Chris’s many social media sites), Chris Roellke became the 10th president of Stetson University on July 1, 2020. That’s right, “Rolks” is now a university president. To be honest, much like the grade he got in Constitutional Law at Wesleyan, he owes his presidency largely to me and my backroom maneuvering on his behalf. All kidding aside, due to the pandemic, the celebration of his presidency was postponed for more than a year, but on November 6, 2021, Chris was appropriately honored with an official inauguration. I had the privilege of contributing a short video testimonial that was played alongside other testimonials, including one from Wesleyan’s own president, during the ceremony on the Stetson campus in DeLand, Florida. In recognition of my contribution, I received a limited-edition Chris Roellke bobblehead. I’m sure Chris tried to convince the school to put him in a baseball or basketball uniform; alas, the bobblehead is decked in the traditional cap and gown. Nevertheless, go Rolks, go Hatters!”
The reunion committee had one more of these calls in the spring. It was a great build up to our 35th! I hope you were able to make more memories of our time on campus if you were able to go back in May.
REBECCA ZIMBLER GRAZIANO | email@example.com