CLASS OF 1945 | 2021-2022 | WINTER ISSUE

This column marks the beginning of my 99th mortal year, my 32nd year of secretarial jottings, and I’m nesaki (Mohawk word meaning “standing on a high hill, looking backward”). I have climbed and stood, walked, even slept atop numbers of the Rockies, bits of the Alps, all of the gentle old Adirondacks, and several of New England’s White and Green heights. Always, the view, were it at dawn, midday, or sunset, was an inspiration, sometimes an admonition, occasionally a windblast scare; but it never failed to lift the horizon to the level of my vision. And that’s why we go high. My walking the top of the world is years gone and my visions are memories; clear, keen, and colorful memories. The eye of the mind is indeed a treasure.

Returned to the Hill of Class Notes, I look backward to September of 1941, when a generally happy, sometimes boisterous collection of youths were buying affordable textbooks, completing class schedules, visiting fraternity houses, trying out for teams or music groups, and making new friendships that were sure to hold forever, according to the Wesleyan songs. The Depression was fading; Hitler, and occasionally Mussolini, were newsreel interludes at the movies. But that was there, we were here, and the class of 1945 settled into planning four years of the Wesleyan adventure. Seven weeks later the explosions at Pearl Harbor blew the class of 1945 into fragments that scattered graduations all the way through 1949. We went to the war to end all wars, and some of us never returned to Wesleyan—some too damaged, some to other colleges, some already at rest in honored cemeteries, or in unknown places in other parts of the world. We were one class for a brief time, but our fragments have added luster to the entire 40s decade of the Wesleyan adventure. So, from my secretarial hilltop I look out and back, and I see that scattered, tattered class again a whole force, the like of which will not be seen again.

Slán go fóill.

CLASS OF 1945 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

In memory of my 1940s faculty masters Cowie, Millet, Snow, and Spaeth I lament: Why is our English spoken so clearly and correctly by Japanese television personnel, but so carelessly and incorrectly by their U.S. counterparts? Why do Japanese interviewers question and challenge guests without the rude self-serving interruptions so frequent on U.S. TV programs? I am horrified daily, even hourly, at the atrocities being passed off as acceptable English in today’s uncivil and vulgar society. I miss the well-modulated tones of Lowell Thomas, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and their kin (Lester Holt included).

Language is a powerful tool, a tool more influential than the lung power and muscle power that dominate today. Television’s prominence places it in a position to present programs with a most positive impact: a more literate audience. Failure to use this tool has obvious consequences: witness the generally sorry state of today’s public school education; the shrill-toned or lip-lazy (folksy?) utterings of congressional luminaries; the inept reading and flagrant misuse of and abuse of language by our president. Well, as someone I value once reminded me, “When anything goes, everything goes.” Is anyone in TV Land actually able to bring it back? Alex, Fred, Wilbert, John, you are sorely missed. Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1945 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

In all my 98 years I’ve seen nothing quite like the landfill of “viral” confusion heaped on us this year. I’m told where to go, not go; when to go, not go; what to wear, not wear; what to ingest, NOT ingest; whom to believe, not believe (assuredly!); and so on into the night. Never before have I heard so much self assurance voiced by so many self-anointed experts. I marvel, and then I remember John Neihardt’s couplet: “And in a world so little understood,/There should be room for two to be mistaken/” Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1945 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Ninety-seven is a good age, they tell me—no workplace frazzle, no need to hurry, lots of time for your hobbies, and for conversation with old friends. Really? Let’s see—frazzle is alive and well every time I go into combat putting socks on feet I can no longer reach (save the good exercise nonsense). I haven’t hurried since I was tagged “fall risk.” My hobbies were writing (I’m legally blind), skiing, and climbing (they call me “No Knees” today). I’d love to talk with my old friends, but they’re down to one, and he’s entirely deaf. One small quest is absorbing my attention of late: I seek to learn the requirements to be designated illegally blind. Any alumni/ae response (especially ’45) is welcome.

This stroll through antiquity reminds me of a verse, “On The Vanity of Earthly Greatness,” by Arthur Guiterman, which concludes: “Great Caesar’s bust is on the shelf, / And I don’t feel so well myself.”

Heaven’s gift to class secretaries, perspicacious and stylish writer, insightful and innovative journalist Cynthia Rockwell MALS ’19 is retired by the time you read this. I thank her for the happy years we spent together recording the fortunes and misfortunes of the Class of 1945, a class so fragmented by WWll’s ragged scheduling.

Thank you, Cynthia, for your patient acceptance of my versions of class notes, and for your unflagging sense of humor. Ah, lass, you have the makings of a fine Celt. May your retirement be years of joyous fulfillment of your heart’s desire. Sláinte! Agus slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338

CLASS OF 1945 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

That attic I call my mind houses countless memories of things I have read, or written, of glorious things I have seen and atrocities I have witnessed. And special memories of dear friends and loves long gone. I do not remember all the delights of Dante’s Hell, but I do remember one helluva funny incident starring a fellow Wesman and 10th Mountaineer, the late Chip Lofstedt ’44. Our mountain warfare training regularly took us into the high peaks of Colorado, frequently at altitudes above 10,000 feet. On the day I recall with a chuckle, our squad was enjoying a lunch break when Chip, acting radio man, suddenly heard, “This is Scouts Out Lowry Field at 9,600 feet, gliding, gliding.” We rushed to the edge of our lunch area to see a small observation trainer plane cruising along below, and heard Chip, momentarily inspired, “This is Private Lofstedt at 11,000 feet, walking, walking. You’d better get your plane up and out of here pretty damned fast or you’ll be wearing our mountain.” The plane skirted away with nary word of thanks, but Chip’s radio caught a fragment of something about “smart-ass college boy snowbunnies.” Nope, war is not 100% hell.

Well, it’s hard to be secretary to a silent minority, but I am always optimistic that some one of you will send me a word of news—or caution. Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

315 14th Street, Unit A, Windsor, CO 80550 | 907/460-9338