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

CLASS OF 1945 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

As far back as my memory takes me, I’ve wanted to be a poem. Barely a toddler, I was a blipping “Bad Sir Brian” for several tickly stanzas, and as a sturdy young couplet I knocked things off our mantelpiece. I grew apace to where, as a single quatrain, I met grave Alice and laughing Allegra, each saccharine enough to gag a goat, so I punched their lights out. By high school I was pretty much a ballad In the Yukon, but I sobered up enough to become a sonnet; alas, I couldn’t abide the heart-scalding decisions of abab, abba, 8-6, three 4s-plus-2 living, and so retreated to the sanctuary of becoming an elegy. That funereal life so fretted my natural inclinations that I burst from my cell with a limerickal yell to seek the company of a young man from Boston, another from Sparta, and their friend Titian, who seemed fixed on mixing rosematta. Briefly, then, I dallied in passionate uncertainty with Emily until she set me straight and sent me off to Wesleyan, where Frost and Snow gave me every day conversational skill and a permanent sense of the necessity ever to demonstrate good form.

War took me for nearly four years with the 10th Mountain Division, but I never found time to be any sort of poem except as a raggedy 90-pounds-of-rucksack chanty and a bit of R and R with Shapiro. Once back at Wesleyan, then grad school at Northwestern, and finally at the Royal Irish Academy I found my identity in the old world of the Celts: I turned out to be an epic. History of a people; pride in ancestry; desire to live in history; exhortations to followers; sustained majestic verse—all churning in me when I sang Achilles and Aeneas, when El Cid and Roland stood fast, when Cú Chullainn singlehandedly took on Maeve’s gang of cattle rustlers. I really came into my own when Neihardt needed me to go up the Missouri with friends Carpenter, Talbeau, and Fink, to crawl desperately with Hugh Glass, to voice Jed Smith’s wilderness gospel, and to mourn the murder of Crazy Horse and the tragic end of the Indian wars of protest. Yes, in this cultural dust storm we’re living in today, that’s what I am: an epic poem in a society that has no heroic’s mood.

Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

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

CLASS OF 1945 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

Somewhere between my writing this column and your reading it, my 96th birthday came along to remind me that I am actually mortal, subject to all the whims and vagaries of what my doctors wryly call “the aging process.” Thus, teased into thoughts on aging and the great adventure that lies beyond it (and having nothing from you old classmates), I offer the following reflections on being around for, perhaps, too long.

Why is it that although night falls, it’s day that breaks?

It’s a scientific fact that if your parents were childless, you will be, too.

If you lay a group of lawyers end-to-end, they’ll reach.

My grandfather was an Irish magician. He could walk down the street and

suddenly turn into a pub.

I learned a certainty in combat: friendly fire isn’t.

Slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

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

CLASS OF 1945 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Noting my failure to submit notes for the December issue, Donald Dunn sent me an encouraging email urging me to stay the course, refute the arguments of advancing age, and keep 1945 class notes alive, if not well. And thus, the following fragments of Dunn-inspired musings on whoever remains a ’45-er.

May all your days be smooth as silk;

May all your nights be inviolate;

May all your cereal be crisp in milk;

May nothing clog your toilet.

I’ll probably never be famous,/ Or rich, or even well-bred;

I’ll likely amount to just nothing,/ So I guess I’ll go back to bed.

Those Celtic fairies are everywhere,/ And they see everything you do,

So you’d better watch yourself, classmates,/ Or they’ll lay a curse on you.

Friends like you/ Don’t grow on trees,

You’re always true blue,/ Always aiming to please.

I figure I’m lucky/ To call each of you “friend”;

You’re lallapaloozas/ … and like that … The End.

And, slán go fóill.

FRANCIS W. LOVETT | lovettfrancis@gmail.com

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

George L. Withey ’45

George Withey Jr., a former assistant VP for business affairs at Wesleyan, died on June 8, 2017 at age 93. After he transferred from Wesleyan, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy. He received a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Syracuse University. George and his wife, Nancy Roe Withey, had a very interesting life together for 73 years. A favorite memory for son Bob ’72 was marching with his parents during Reunion in 2010 beside fellow World War II alumni up High Street past Eclectic House where George lived as a student and North College where he worked.

We thank the son of Mr. Withey for this information.

Robert P. Foster Jr. ’45

Robert P. Foster Jr., a retired senior consultant for Prudential Financial, Inc., died Oct. 12, 2017, at age 93. He was the grandson of Addison B. Poland of the class of 1872, the son of Robert P. Foster of the class of 1921, and the nephew of John S. Foster of the class of 1922. A member of Eclectic, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1947 he joined the Prudential Insurance Company as an analyst and rose through the ranks, retiring in 1985 as an adviser to the president on special projects. He was involved in civic affairs and enjoyed travel. Among those who survive are his wife, Sally Ann Bianchi Foster; three children; seven grandchildren; a cousin, John S. Foster ’58; and a large extended family.