CLASS OF 1990 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

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We begin with the very sad news that our classmate Thea Trachtenberg passed away on April 12. Good Morning America, where Thea had worked for over 20 years, did a lovely tribute to her on pagesix.com.

As Rebecca Rossen wrote: “It’s such a tragedy. She was so smart and funny. The ABC tributes are testaments to her amazing career, and just how respected and loved she was.” 

Nina Grekin recalls getting together with Thea not long after the election of 2016 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “We had (a lot of) oysters, wine, and conversation that has held me to this day. She shared the reasoning of responsible journalism…She even indulged the volume and passion of my…ranting with curiosity, humor, and patience. We laughed loud and hard. In Judaism, we say, ‘May her memory be a blessing.’ And so, with my heart dropped down so deep, I can’t even hold it up…I will embrace my memories of Thea Trachtenberg and let them be a blessing.”

Sharene Azimi started a private Facebook group in memory of Thea and shared that “Thea became my best friend in college after we met the first day of freshman year in Foss 5. We lived together in Foss 8 and in High Rise and then lived three blocks apart on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Together we traveled to Italy, Egypt, and the weddings of various friends. We frequently spoke about everything and nothing—a continuous conversation that lasted for 33 years…. Thea was fierce and funny and independent, and I’ll remember her that way.”

Julie Doar-Sinkfield’s family is planning to relocate to Atlanta, Ga., from Weston, Fla. “We were supposed to move in July, but now, who knows? If the kids are in online school still or the real estate market tanks or whatever happens in this world the move might be as late as December. But Atlanta is the plan now.” 

Lara Small Laurence writes that the “quarantine, while challenging, has created weekly connections with Wes folks. When I moved back to New York after grad school, a few Wes people and I, along with some other friends, started meeting regularly for Friday night services at one of the synagogues and for dinner. We continued meeting weekly until my kids were in elementary school, and almost everyone married and moved to the burbs.” The Shabbat group had a ritual where each person shared “Sweet Things of the Week.” Now, in quarantine, they are zooming with their families each Friday evening before Shabbat to share their sweet things. In the group are Michelle Elisburg ’92, Jennifer Hammer ’91, Shira Koch Epstein ’98, Tzvi Mackson ’89, and Jenny Simon Tabak ’93.

Lara said, “This time has become a highlight of my week. Currently, I’m hunkered down on Long Island, working as a learning specialist via Zoom, with my husband, Aviv (Vassar ’90), and my three children.”

Mark Hsieh sends greetings from Taiwan, “where early precautions have allowed us to contain the COVID-19 virus effectively and carry on life as usual with restrictions. I was particularly happy that Kazutoshi Ohkubo was able to visit Taiwan with his family before the whole pandemic made international travel next to impossible. I am glad to have had a nice coffee in Washington with Edward Ungvarsky when I attended the Invest USA Conference last year!” Mark sends wishes to everyone to stay safe during the pandemic and included photos of his and Kazu’s family in Taiwan and of him with Ed in D.C.

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Lara Goldmark sent an update to recognize the late Mike Mahon ’89, a fellow Wesleyan swimmer, and the group that gathered virtually with him a month ago and then again on May 22 to honor his passing: Jen Zoltners ’91, Dana Schultz ’91, Steve Jackman ’89, Dave Griffiths, Bill Fabbri ’91, Doug Bothner ’91, Jil Zilligen, Mark Mullen ’89, Mark Seasholes ’89, Courtney Fahy ’89, Karen Smolar ’88, Greg Lesser ’90, Dave Kane ’92, Morgan Bain ’92, Jono Marcus ’88, Dana Hoey ’89, swim team manager Nadine Angress ’90, friend of swimmers Ed Brown ’90, and Assistant Coach Diane Callaghan, who read a message from Coach John Ryan ’82. Lara has started a company called Just Results (justresultsllc.com). Summer internship positions were just filled, but Wes students are welcome to apply for the fall.

Netania Steiner writes from Brooklyn, “Sad that we’ll miss our Reunion but happy for the Wes friends who keep me sane. One silver lining of the stay-at-home life has been weekly Zoom parties with the Aloha Deck—my sophomore hall of Jon Bakija, Peggy Lionberger, Dan Gilman, Alan Busby, and Brett Terry.” Netania also speaks regularly with Amy Redfield ’89, who lives in St. Louis with her husband, Scott, and their dog Josie. “The Mutt to my Jeff, Rob Daniels ’88, lives in NYC with his wife, Laura Sherman ’88, and their two daughters.”

Finally, in May, our class celebrated its first-ever Virtual Reunion, or “ReZOOM-ion,” as it’s been called. While nothing can replace on-campus Reunion, the weekend was surprisingly fun and gave us a great opportunity to reconnect with classmates. We heard updates, broke into first-year residence halls, “met up” on Foss Hill, and participated in a deeply moving panel discussion with Professor of Psychology Emeritus Karl Scheibe, Carolyn Clark, Joy Challenger Slaughter, Deborah Gahr, and Andrew Siff. As successful as it was, remember that we WILL have a real Reunion on campus next year: May 28-30, 2021. Mark your calendars now!

Vanessa Montag Brosgol | vanessa.brosgol@yahoo.com