When we nudged, our fellow ’89ers sent in some good Wes memories. But, y’all (!!!!), wait until you read some of these memories . . . I mean confessions. . . . No, ok—definitely memories :)! Grab a snack and let’s spill the tea:
Lee Ann (Jacob) Gun, whose daughter Emma is a sophomore at Wes (and is loving her experience!), shares: “My freshman roommate and I decided we needed a second couch in our Clark quad living room. So, we set our alarm one night for 4:00 a.m. and set out for one of the Fosses. We walked into their common room, picked up a couch not being used, and walked out, lugging the couch. We struggled to the top of Foss Hill when public safety shined their headlights on us. We dropped the couch and ran. The next morning on the way to MoCon, the couch was there at the top of Foss Hill, students sitting in it. We laughed. We decided we were fine with just the one couch.”
Listen to Lori Lobenstine’s story of what her parents ultimately did after she got arrested on Wesleyan’s campus for protesting: “I forget if it was junior or senior year when we had the sit-in at the president’s office, trying to get Wes to divest from South Africa because of apartheid. Folks were camping in there 24/7 and others were coming and going in support, while other were leading rallies outside. In the end, a whole bunch of us decided we would get arrested instead of leaving willingly. My first arrest! (Not my last.) The best was when my parents sent me a formal card, ‘Proudly announcing the arrest of their daughter . . . ’ like it was a birth announcement. Gotta love being the kid of activists. They were so excited.”
Sherry (Lehr) Föhr remembers “that time during Hurricane Gloria, when we spent hours huddled in the hall of Foss 9, eating a rather eclectic variety of snack foods and telling weather-related horror stories. That morning, I had to venture out into the storm for a German exam (because why cancel classes for a full day just because of a hurricane?). The classroom was on the top floor of Fisk Hall, where we could see tree branches crashing onto the roof of the frat house next door as we frantically tried to remember various verb endings. When it was finally over, I had to dodge flying bits of shale from the roofs of various old buildings along Wyllys Avenue. It was so nice to get home and be welcomed by my hallmates!”
Hurricane Gloria happened our freshman year and Melissa Herman asks if you remember “putting masking tape on the windows in the dorms? I was biking across campus back to the Butterfields and almost got blown over by the wind. And then it was pretty much nothing compared to our fears and expectations.”
Elizabeth “Betsy” Henry recalls: “It was Uncle Duke Day weekend and I entered the basement of Foss that had been spectacularly decked out with strobe lights, upside-down rooms (furniture on ceilings), velvet everywhere, dark rooms with funky lighting, disco balls, the works, and I get through the maze and there is this awesome band playing this rockin’ song about a magic carpet ride and everyone is dancing and jamming like crazy and the lead singer is this fabulous chick who is belting out this line, ‘Why don’t you ride with me little boy, on a magic carpet ride,’ which is just so catchy. Loved it! For four years I attributed “Magic Carpet Ride” to this band (which I sadly can’t remember the name of, but always caught their gigs around campus) and danced my heart out every time they played it for years to come. To this day, I still interject ‘boy’ into the lyrics when the Steppenwolf classic comes on the radio and think of that Wesleyan moment. Rock on!”
Checking in from Maine, Karen McVey Fussell mused the following mash-up of good memories: “The spaceship-ness of MoCon, the announcements from the upper deck, Uncle Duke Day, the wonder of an endless supply of Cap’n Crunch.”
Alex Dohan recalls “those crazy evenings in frosh year when we would blow off studying to sneak up to the roof of Judd Hall—for a breath of fresh air!”
Kevin Heffernan writes: “I’d say one of my best memories was playing softball with everyone during senior week. There wasn’t a person who didn’t have a smile on, what with classes over and summer coming.”
Kim Slote wrote in that: “A great memory for me was performing with the Cardinal Sinners in the World Music Hall and how amazing it felt to sing our hearts out and have the crowd be with us every step of the way!”
Phineas Baxandall remembers “that time when the ultimate frisbee team went to Santa Barbara, California, for college nationals was an amazing memory.”
Sending us all greetings from Shanghai, Robin Smith recalls: “that time when I was touring a prospective student around campus, after he finished a late afternoon interview in the administration building and walked into Alpha Delta, when they were having a co-ed Naked Party in the living room. Fun times.” (Also, I wonder if that prospective student ended up WISELY choosing Wes?!?! 🙂 Robin also shared some personal fond memory gems:
“That time when . . . I would go down to the boathouse in the very early morning, on the Connecticut River, to get ready for crew practice, and the sun was just coming up. Even though it was extremely cold, and steam was rising off the river, it was incredibly quiet and so beautiful.”
“That time when . . . I would leave rehearsal from the ’92 Theatre late at night and meet one of my roommates (a microbiology major), to walk her back home from feeding her cells at the lab. It was our best time to talk and catch up on our day/week and plan for the upcoming weekend.”
“That time when . . . I performed as the character of Babe in Crimes of the Heart, for my senior thesis show as a theater major. Such a wonderful cast and crew to work with in doing that show.”
And the good Wes memories are still being made to this very today; or as Liz Marx aptly says, “It’s a memory that we keep making: Every Monday night for the past year, Sneep Wadhwa, Anne Liss Johnson, John Hlinko, Lauren Bruck Simon, Adam Long, Ed Aubry, and myself get together for online bar trivia. Our team name is Gross Hall Reunion and we kick ass. We have such fun and our Wesleyan education is put to good use.”
Past met present in this dispatch from James Shiffer: “Last summer, I took a three-month sabbatical from my job at The Star Tribune in Minnesota to reconnect with friends near and far, including many Wes folks. Katrine Bangsgaard ’90 and I laughed about old times while dining in a roadhouse in northern Westchester County. Dan White and I watched humpback whales lunge-feeding in Monterey Bay. Bill Sherman ’90 showed me the magnificent Cascades, including one path along a terrifying sheer cliff. I traveled with my daughter Annika Shiffer-Delegard ’23 to Los Angeles, where Mike DeWitt ’90 took us to the Griffith Park Observatory and gave Annika a surprise gift: the custom wooden sign reading ‘Whispering Pines’ that once graced our Wes-owned house at 37 Home Avenue. I am so grateful for my Wesleyan network.”
Theresa Zinck-Lederer says “Just the other day, when watching my niece and nephew sledding, I commented to my husband about how much fun we used to have sledding down Foss Hill on cafeteria trays from MoCon!”
Kelem Butts didn’t hold back on the good humor with his recent good memory of “that time when Michele (Barnwell) asked for, neigh DEMANDED, we submit to the class notes (and it) was a great reminder of how much Wes meant to me and how much my time there impacts me to this day. Oh, and my niece was just accepted to Wes, and I really hope she goes so she can get that same Wes experience.”
We hope she chooses/chose Wes too, Kelem.
Clearly, we as a class have shared (and continue to share) in making good Wes memories.
That all said, if you’re reading all this and you did NOT have the best-time-ever at Wes, we sincerely appreciate and embrace you and your experience. Seriously, there are several pain points for so many. We aren’t (ever) looking for any of you to bright side the bs you went through then (or are going through now) either. Each of your/our Wes memories and current challenges are all part of our shared lived experience as classmates and as humans.
We’ve still hopefully got miles to walk together and there’s time to make NEW Wes memories going forward. So let’s make them WITH you at our next on-campus reunion. Deal? (And this is definitely not an official pushy plug, YET!) We’re volunteers. We get nada EXCEPT the fun pleasure of staying connected to you. It would just be really nice to see all of you at our next big reunion, our 35th…?!?! Sheesh!
See you then or see you sooner, around these social media streets.
JONATHAN FRIED | firstname.lastname@example.org
MICHELE BARNWELL | email@example.com