Alan S. Thorndike ’67 passed away on Jan. 8, 2018. A full obituary can be found here.
Classmates, thanks for the many thoughtful e-mails in response to my group missive to you about athletics at Wesleyan (“notes from the underground”). I “might could” (as we say down south) send you another group e-mail sharing these many, and varied, perspectives. Stay tuned.
As for the more traditional class notes news from classmates, I have a bit to share. In characteristic fashion, I did not hear from Mike Cronan about his having been honored by the bar association in Kentucky, but fortunately his longtime law partner, friend, and fellow Eclectic, Fred Joseph ’65 sent me an e-mail with a clipping about one Charles J. (Mike) Cronan IV. It turns out that the Louisville Bar Association honored Mike by naming him the recipient of the 2017 Judge Benjamin F. Shobe Civility and Professionalism Award. The award is given to “an attorney who demonstrates the highest standards of civility, honesty, and courtesy when dealing with clients, opposing parties and counsel, the courts, and the public.” That indeed is the Mike Cronan I remember.
Other news? Jim Kates keeps on keepin’ on, with a new translation of a book (I Have Invented Nothing, the selected poems of Jean-Pierre Rosnay). Jim also won a $1,000 prize, the Kapyla Translation Prize, for his translation of Paper-Thin Skin by Aigerim Tazhi, a Kazakhstani woman poet who writes in Russian. The judge for this prize had the following nice comment about Jim’s work: “J. Kates manages to skillfully translate the depth of Aigerim Tazhi’s poetry along with the words, a rare achievement; one hears the resonance of the original in the nuances of the translation.”
Tony Caprio is president of Western New England University, and has been in that position since 1996 (a real accomplishment, I can tell you—the average tenure for college presidents these days is six-and-a-half years, down from eight-and-a-half years a decade ago; since 1996, there have been four presidents at the college where I teach).
Steve Sellers, my old roomie, and his wife, Martha Julia, have made the move from most of the time in Boston and some of the time in Guatemala to most of the time in Guatemala with visits to Boston. They rented out their place in Lexington, Mass., and their primary residence is now the house they built in Antigua, Guatemala. Both their daughter (Sylvia) and their son (Oliver) still live in the Boston area, so they come back to visit. They didn’t exactly leave the country because of Trump’s election, but Steve does tell me that “the bellowing and blathering of the current administration is a little more bearable from a distance.”
Jim McEnteer lives in Quito, Ecuador, with his wife, Cristina, who teaches sociology at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (the Latin American Social Sciences Institute), a graduate university, and their two sons. He continues to write. For those of you who don’t remember the late 1960s, his recent article in Salon might jostle a few brain cells. It is titled “My Long Strange Winter Trip with John Perry Barlow [‘69]” and published online on June 2, 2018, at salon.com.
I heard from Charlie Green, who caught me up with the following e-mail: “I am still practicing law at the firm I helped start in 1980. I am not working as hard, but still showing up. Nancy and I will have been married 50 years this August. One of our two sons graduated from Wes, as well as his wife. We have four grandchildren, three girls and a boy. We have lived in Fort Lauderdale for over 45 years.”
In addition to some thoughtful comments about athletics at Wesleyan, Steve Duck shared some information about his life since our 50th Reunion: “Since that wonderful weekend, I have retired. I enjoyed the suggestions of my classmates to ‘wait six to 12 months’ before deciding on a new direction. I am not there yet, but I know that ‘decide’ I will. I have completed an app [Apple Store] that focuses for persons with diabetes, how the state of medicine suggests they need more insulin if they consume a hearty amount of protein and fat in their diet. That felt good. I am believing that the best way to avoid despair regarding the current political environment is to get active in working for a progressive candidate for Illinois governor. I am also still growing and learning how to parent my 16-year-old daughter while at the same time enjoying my two grandchildren! I am grateful for my life and its journey. Hope to see you soon.”
Seems like good sentiments to end with (“grateful for my life and its journey”).
Richie Zweigenhaft | firstname.lastname@example.org
Classmates, I have some sad news to report. Our classmate, Alan Thorndike, passed away. Here is the email that a few of us received from Karl Furstenberg a few days after Alan died: “I am writing with sad news. Our classmate, my roommate and brother-in-law, died on Jan. 8. I know we were all delighted to see Alan at our 50th Reunion which he very much enjoyed. Alan was a brilliant student, distinguished scientist, and exemplary teacher. He was devoted to Wesleyan, Alpha Delt and particularly to the track and cross-country teams. Alan had a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and other maladies which he fought valiantly. He was very active in his workshop and on his bike until the last few months. In the end, complications from pneumonia took his life. I am enclosing a full obituary.”
The full obituary can be read at fhnfuneralhome.com. As you can see if you read it, Alan lived a full and accomplished life.
More next time.
Richie Zweigenhaft | email@example.com
Peter C. Reed, a corporate executive, died Aug. 10, 2017. He was 72. After receiving his degree cum laude, he received an MBA from the University of Rochester in operations research. A two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Wesleyan, he worked summers as a road construction foreman on the I-87 Northway. As a CFO and CEO, he had a diverse career spanning computers, military equipment, and aerospace. He is survived by his wife, Brona Barnes Reed, two sons, three brothers and sisters, and an extended family.
Classmates, many of you attended Reunion in late May, and all of you should have received both the Reunion book and the supplement, so you know most of what I know about what’s been going on with our classmates. Therefore, I’m mostly going to take a break from writing the usual column this time around.
However, I would like to celebrate Brian Frosh ’68 who has been in the news. As far as I know, during my four years at Wesleyan Brian was the only other person who also had gone to the same high school that I did (Walter Johnson High School in Rockville, Md., at the time the only high school in the country named after a major league baseball player. The Big Train. You could look him up. Now there is a high school named after Roberto Clemente in Chicago, and a charter high school named after Jackie Robinson in Los Angeles. Who knows, maybe there is a Duke Snider high school, a Ted Kluszewski High School, or a Jose Valdivielso High School).
After Wesleyan, Brian earned a law degree from Columbia (come to think of it, he followed me to Columbia, also) and subsequently went into private practice in Maryland. He was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, twice, and then five times to the Maryland Senate (winning in 2006 with 75 percent of the vote, and in 2010 with 70 percent of the vote). In 2014, he was elected attorney general of Maryland.
Over the years, Brian has received lots of good press. The Washington Post called him “one of the most admired, intelligent, civil and hardworking lawmakers in Annapolis.” These are very much adjectives that capture what I remember about Brian.
In June, I became aware of some of the current work he is doing, as did many people around the country, when he and the attorney general for D.C. sued Donald Trump for violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The two attorneys general asserted that Trump’s holdings not only affected businesses in the Washington area, but raise broader, more important issues. In an interview with the Associated Press, Brian asserted that: “We have economic interests that are impacted, but the most salient factor is that when the president is subject to foreign influence, we have to be concerned about whether the actions he’s taking—both at home and abroad—are the result of payments that he is receiving at the Trump Hotel, payments that he is receiving at Mar-a-Lago, payments that he is receiving at Trump Tower, payments that he is receiving in all of his other far-flung enterprises, and he brags about it.”
I got a number of e-mails and phone calls from high school classmates and from my sister telling me, “Hey, Brian was on the front page of the New York Times” or “Brian was on national television.”
I know that many of you are aware of the many stars produced by Wesleyan’s film and theatre program, such as Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 (if you have not seen it, check out his performance of Hair on the streets of Los Angeles with James Corden online), and various other alumni political luminaries like Michael Bennet ’87, a senator from Colorado, and John Hickenlooper ’74, governor of Colorado. Now you also know a bit about Brian Frosh.
More about our class next time.
Richie Zweigenhaft | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kudos to Mike Feagley, Rick Nicita, the Reunion committee, and Wesleyan’s Reunion and Commencement machine for so effectively putting together our 50th Reunion. For me, both the planned events and the unplanned events combined to allow for many memorable moments and meaningful encounters.
The planned events included, especially, Friday morning’s innocuous sounding “continental breakfast.” At that event, in a room on the second floor of Olin Library, Howie Foster (that rare quarterback who becomes a psychoanalyst) proposed to the group of 20-25 that we collectively address one of four questions. I don’t remember all four questions, but it doesn’t matter, as we didn’t really address them. We did, however, have a lively and engaging discussion about the meaning of a Wesleyan education, about whether Wesleyan had become too left and far out to attract students it should be attracting, about whether Wesleyan was no longer as committed to real diversity as it should be, about why Amherst and Williams and even Bowdoin and Trinity have done better than Wesleyan on various ratings, and much more, until we were kicked out of the room so they could set up for the next event (I am sure conversations about these issues continued throughout the weekend).
The planned events also included a memorial service for those of our classmates who have died, a session conceived and planned by Brooks Smith, Peter Kovach, and Ted Smith. Peter opened the gathering with a poem. Ted read each of the 37 names on the college’s list of those of our classmates who have died. For about half the names, one classmate or another had prepared to speak for a minute or two and did, and then he or Peter dropped a piece of glass into a large glass bowl (a Kovach-inspired eastern ritual). For the other names, there was either a moment of silence, followed by Peter dropping a piece of glass into the large bowl, or someone spontaneously rose to speak about that person (as the Quakers say, moved by the inner spirit). So there we went, alphabetically, remembering those who died long ago, a while ago, or more recently. Andy Ackemann…Jim Branigan…Myron Kinberg…Henry Regnery…Andy Ullrick… The remembrances were moving, thoughtful, and sometimes funny (he set a chair on fire and threw it out the second floor window of Clark Hall?).
There were many seminars taking place on campus. One of my favorites was given by former faculty member, Leslie Gelb, who went on to work in various high-profile jobs, including writing for the New York Times and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, about why those who conduct our foreign policy continuously make mistakes (Gelb was introduced by Professor Emeritus Karl Scheibe). Another was a panel on political dysfunction with three knowledgeable and impressive Wesleyan alumni, one of whom was Senator Michael Bennet ’87. Yet another was a panel discussion about Hollywood featuring (our own) Rick Nicita and Professor Jeanine Basinger.
The planned events also included three dinners, all set in choice locations—the Thursday night dinner in the Patricelli ’92 Theatre, the Friday night dinner with the president (“Dinner with the President! Dinner with the President”—see Woody Allen’s Bananas for the reference) in Beckham Hall, Fayerweather, and the Saturday night dinner in Olin, overlooking the football field.
But it was the unplanned events that led to many memorable encounters. I was a bit late to one of the seminars, and by the time I arrived it was so packed that I couldn’t get in. I got a cup of coffee and sat down at a table in the Usdan Center, and over the next hour, old (and getting older) friends wandered by, stopped and sat down, and we caught up—John Neff ’66, Dave McNally ’66, Dave Garrison (there was one that got away—I saw across the room, but did not get to talk with, Harry Shallcross). It was like sitting in Downey House in 1965 or 1966, killing an hour in a most enjoyable way, talking with whomever walked by after they got their mail.
My favorite comment? “I climb trees for a living” (but, Jerry Smith went on to say, even though he climbs trees for a living, his Wesleyan education has enriched his life in many ways).
My favorite outfit? At the Saturday night dinner, blue seersucker jacket, bow tie, shorts, leather shoes, black socks (Sandy Van Kennen ’66).
As those of you reading carefully have noted, there was a crew of guys from ’66 hanging around. They had such a good time last year at their Reunion that they came back this year for more (the three I have mentioned, and, also, Larry Carver ’66 and Rick Crootof ’66). It was great having them there. Also floating around the periphery on Saturday were Sandy See ’68, and Rick Voigt ’68, in part to attend the annual meeting of the Mystical Seven, but also to do some preliminary planning for their 50th next year.
It is quite a production, preparing all these Reunions AND Commencement on the same weekend. I always leave these events in awe of Wesleyan, a class act, in awe of Wesleyan alumni in general (who give such good seminars, and ask such interesting and informed questions in such an articulate way), and in awe of my classmates for all kinds of reasons.
Richie Zweigenhaft | email@example.com
Classmates, you should be reading these notes in April, a month or so before our 50th Reunion.
Rick Nicita and Mike Feagley generously agreed to chair the Reunion committee that has been planning events for many months, and a crew of about 15 others also have agreed to serve on the committee. Mostly, the committee has participated in conference phone calls every month since the fall. Those who are on the committee are planning to be at the Reunion, so, just in case you still have not yet decided whether or not to attend, I’ll list their names here in order to entice you to come to Middletown. They are (in addition to Feagley and Nicita), alphabetically, Len Bergstein, Wayne Diesel, John Dooley, Karl Furstenberg, Dave Garrison, Arthur Gingrande, Reuben Johnson, Aidan Jones, Jim Kates, Peter Kovach, Bob Pawlowski, Gar Richlin, Ted Smith, Paul Stowe, Bob vom Eigen, Andy Witt, and your humble class secretary, almost always last in alphabetical order (well, there was a guy in the class ahead of us named John Zywvna ’66).
Numerous others had, as of late December, indicated that they, too, will attend. They are: Peter Bell, Tony Caprio, Jim Cawse, Muggsy Corr, Steve Duck, Pat Dwyer, Robert Elliott, Howie Foster, George Hicks, Bob Kesner, Bill Klaber, Jeff Oram-Smith, Steve Pfeif, Ned Preble, Joel Rottner, Bill Rowe, Steve Sellers, Dennis Smith, Paul Stowe, Jim Sugar, Alan Thorndike, and Peter Waasdorp.
And then there are bunch of classmates who had said “maybe,” or “50/50,” “possibly,” “unsure,” or “probably.” They are: John Arnault, Frederick Davies, Fred Freije, Tony Gaeta, Jeff Galloway, Gary Johnson, Chris Livesay, Bill Macoy, Jeff Marshall, George McKechnie, David Miller, Bruce Morningstar, John Murdock, Alan Neebe, Paul Nibur, Mark Scarlett, Harry Shallcross, Chris Sidoli, Ed Simmons, and Joe Smith.
And, just in case you need slightly more enticement, a crew of guys from the class of 1966 had such a good time at their Reunion, and tell me that they remember some of us so fondly, that they are planning to come back to “our” Reunion to hang with each other again and to see us. They include Larry Carver ’66, John Neff ’66, Dave McNally ’66, Rick Crootof ’66, maybe Hardy Spoehr ’66, and maybe some others.
I am working with Bob vom Eigen and Bob Pawlowski (“the Bobs”) on a Reunion book that hopefully you have contributed to, but even if you haven’t, is fun to read and is scheduled to be mailed to you around the end of April or early May. In addition to the contributions that you submitted, it includes some recollections about favorite faculty members, some remembrances that some of you have written about classmates who have died, and some articles and photos from The Argus and the yearbook.
I will try to take good notes when I am there, and share some of what I learn during the weekend in subsequent sets of class notes. But hey, why depend on me—come see for yourself. Check out all those above who said “yes,” and whichever of the “maybes” show up. For now, I hope to see you in late May. I won’t say this will be your last chance to attend a Reunion, but you won’t be surprised to learn that attendance is highest at the 50th. After that, olds grads still stagger back for Reunions, but there are fewer who do so. In the words of Janis Joplin (mentioned in a recent set of 1968 class notes—apparently she gave a concert at Wesleyan in the spring of 1968, and then she partied all night with the brothers at DKE), “get it while you can.”
Richie Zweigenhaft | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the words of singer-songwriter James McMurtry, “It’s a damn short movie—how’d we ever get here?” Right, our 50th Reunion is this spring, May 25 to 28. Hope you can be there. You should have received an e-mail from Mike Feagley and Rick Nicita, and maybe some other e-mails about the Reunion, asking, among other things, for you to write something for the class book that will be published prior to Reunion. A block of rooms has been reserved for our class at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. I encourage you to reserve a room soon if you have not already done so (860/635-2000).
I’ve heard from many of you over the last few months, and here are some bits and pieces of what I have learned.
First, the writers. Jim Kates received a 2017 translation fellowship grant ($25K) from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the translation from the Russian of An Astounded World: Selected Poems by poet Aigerim Tazhi. Jim, a poet, literary translator, past president of the American Literary Translators Association, and current president and co-director of Zephyr Press, most recently translated Muddy River: Selected Poems of Sergey Stratanovsky (Carcanet Press, 2016).
Dave Garrison, also a poet, wrote to say that he is in a poetry-writing group at his local library and one of the other members is Thomas J. Donnelly ’83. Dave and his wife, Suzanne, spend most of each year in Dayton, Ohio, where she still teaches. Dave retired from teaching in 2009, but they also spend time at a condo they bought in Prairie Village, Kan., because they have family there. They now have discovered that Jim Ruhlen, a physician, and his wife, Leigh, live about two miles away from their Kansas condo. Although Dave and Jim didn’t know each other at Wesleyan, they now get together when Dave and Suzanne are in Kansas.
And Bill Klaber (whose specialty is prose, not poetry) wrote to say that he was preparing to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with his son in June. He explained, “I’ve climbed to 19,000 feet before on Denali (12 days on the mountain, -20°F), but that was 30 years ago when I was 40. So these days I’m walking the roads with 20 lbs. of cat litter in my knapsack.” Come to the Reunion to see if he did it.
Two of our classmates have turned to the performing arts as extras in films. Steve Pfeif retired after a 14-year part-time gig as a career consultant at DBM/Lee Hecht Harrison. He still runs a small business writing résumés for military veterans who are transitioning out of military service. Steve has been working as a “background artist/extra” for TV shows and movies shot in Atlanta. As he put it, “think of a deep background, out of focus, white-haired guy.” He and Devon have been married 44 years, and have two children and four grandchildren.
Also to be found on the silver screen, if you look carefully, is Bruce Morningstar. Bruce and Katie still live in Rosarito, Baja, Mexico. He writes that he, too, has worked as an extra in two films. The first was titled Little Boy and the other titled Compadres. “Both were fun…I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
And a few classmates sent word that they had retired. Jeff Hicks retired in May, after 26 years as chairman of cardiac surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Here’s his take on his career at Rochester as a medical student, resident, and then staff member there:
“I have watched over the 49 years the progress of change in our medical profession as well as the vise-like grip the insurance companies and government have on health care today. My greatest reward was the teaching of more than 150 residents, both in general and cardiac surgery, and watching them as they blossomed into great surgeons in their own right. Serving nationally on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, the president of the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association, and multiple other professional committees has been icing on the cake. Forty years at the operating table has provided me with a bad right knee, three back operations, and lots of memories.”
An e-mail from Alan Neebe revealed less about his career, but did report that he retired as professor of quantitative methods at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC at Chapel Hill, and that he is “still happily married to Eloise (Weejy) Cole, Smith ’69.”
As of May, Pat Weinstein was still working as the owner of Weinstein Beverage, the franchisee for Pepsi-Cola in north central Washington (the business was started by his father in 1937). He and his wife, Susan, were running the company as a family business, which included the full participation of two of their children, one of whom, the company’s general manager (daughter Eileen) was living in Paris, France (the wonders of modern technology!). Pat still plays hoops, and travels around the world to do so. At the time he wrote, his team had won the World Masters Championships in Italy, and they were gearing up for the American Masters Championships in Vancouver.
Ned Preble moved about three years ago from New Hampshire to Oregon to be closer to his five kids in California (“Three have left since I got here?!”). He teaches business courses at Capella University, is trying to drink up his wines from France before it is too late, and is trying to decide what to do with his baseball cards from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. (“No, I do not have Mickey Mantle’s 1952 rookie card.”)
Ned provided info on what he called “a Delt Cluster.” Here is some of it: Phil Corkill, a retired superintendent of public schools, now lives in Tucson; Dave Reynolds is a doctor in Springfield, Mass.; Dave Butler retired from a career as an international lawyer at a big insurance company in Newark; and Jim Guard is an architect living in the San Juan Islands.
I have a new book out, co-edited with Gene Borgida ’71, and titled Collaboration in Psychological Science: Behind the Scenes (Worth, 2016). One of the chapters was co-authored by Phil Shaver ’66. We dedicated the book to Professor Karl Scheibe and to my mother, Irene Zweigenhaft, who hired Gene not long after he graduated from Wesleyan: “To Irene Zweigenhaft and Karl Scheibe, both of whom saw the best in us, even when we were young and foolish.”
Richie Zweigenhaft | email@example.com
Classmates: It turns out that some of you keep running into each other, or arrange to meet with one another, or start what turn into e-mail chains with one another. Nice to know that you don’t have to rely on these Class Notes, which only appear three times a year, and are skewed by who does and does not communicate with me.
Random meeting #1. Tom Drew wrote to tell me that he and his wife were playing tennis in Florida, and only after the second set did they learned that the guy on the other side of the net was a classmate: Bob Kesner. Here’s Tom’s account: “This e-mail was prompted by a fortuitous meeting at the tennis courts a couple of days ago. We had a game with a couple from Vermont, found to be Bob Kesner and his wife, Andrea Torell, after a set or two. What fun. Last night we had dinner with Gar Richlin and Migs, who are in Longboat Key, possibly the biggest Wes ’67 reunion since our 45th.” Tom and Carolyn had sailed their boat from Rhode Island to Sarasota, Fla., and, presumably by the time you read this, have sailed it back to Rhode Island.
Planned meeting #1. Dave Sweet wrote to tell me that he and some Commons Club pals have been gathering almost annually in or near Portland, Maine. Here’s his account: “I had the pleasure of sharing a couple of meals last summer with several classmates/Commons Clubbers through the continuation of an almost-annual summer gathering in northern New England. The idea of assembling those within reasonable distance of Portland, Maine, for an extended lunch originated with Tom Bertocci and Punch Elliott. Last Sept., it yielded two get-togethers. Lunch on the Portland waterfront included Cindy Bertocci, Toby Astley, Tom Elliman ’65 and his wife, Betsy, and my wife, Glen, and me. Several days later, Toby and I met up with Punch and David Patterson in Concord, N.H. It can be reliably reported that all are doing well.” Dave and Glen live in West Chester, Pa., where he is self-employed as a consultant to local governments on matters of zoning, land use planning, and open space protection.
E-mail chain #1. After reading a New York Times story about Amherst College’s struggle with how to deal with the very bad behavior of its namesake (Lord Jeffrey Amherst), and whether or not the school should keep the nickname “Lord Jeffs,” Ted Smith sent an e-mail to a bunch of us (“This may help to explain why I never liked Amherst!”) and asking what we thought. This elicited a range of responses, including one from Peter Kovach (“The question we need to ask is why Wesleyan has fallen so consistently behind Amherst [Williams, Pomona, etc.] in all the ratings in the last decade or more.”), Bob Dyer, Bob Pawlowski, Howie Foster, Ned Preble, Aidan Jones (“Maybe David Foster Wallace would still be alive and writing today if he’d gone to Wes rather than Amherst”), and yours truly ( “I, too, have been following this Amherst story with interest, especially because Amherst has, in fact, become a much more diverse place than it used to be. Under its former President, Tony Marx, Amherst went from one of the least diverse of the elite schools to one of the most. In one of my classes, I use a book by a social psychologist at Amherst called Speaking of Race and Class that is based on a study of Amherst students.”). Oh, yeah, one more (late) participant: Jim McEnteer (“We’ll drink the wine tonight, drink the wine that makes hearts light”).
In addition to these random meetings, arranged gatherings, and e-mail chains, other classmates, when they write to catch me up, mention Wesleyan friends with whom they are in touch. In the past few months this has included Dave Garrison (in touch with Dick Clemmer, Jim Ruhlen), and Ned Preble (in touch with Phil Corkill, Dave Reynolds, Dave Butler, Jim Guard, Jim McEnteer and Ted Smith). I’ll provide more about these guys next time.
Meanwhile, I hope you will keep on running into each other, keep arranging meetings with your old (and getting older) friends, and keep e-mailing them (with copies to many other classmates). And let me know so I can share these things with the rest of the class, and, it turns out, share these things with other readers from other classes—you 1967 guys are not the only ones who read this column. Some from the class of 1966 read it, too. Just today I got a wonderful e-mail from my old (and getting older) friend, Larry Carver ’66, from whom I last heard decades ago, in response to something I wrote in my last column about the poet Richard Wilbur. Larry has been teaching English at the University of Texas since 1973. He is currently the Doyle Professor of Western Civilization, and is the director of the Liberal Arts Honors Programs. (He took two classes from Richard Wilbur, one on Milton and one on modern American poetry; he also participated in the now-legendary faculty-student charades competition).”
Richie Zweigenhaft | firstname.lastname@example.org
Classmates: I head from Karl Furstenberg, who had this to report: “Charlotte and I are still in Lyme, N.H.. Great place to live after many years as dean of admissions and financial aid at Dartmouth. Retired several years ago, as did Charlotte, from research at Dartmouth Medical School. Now busy with granddaughters (Lizzie and Alice), who also live in Lyme. Daughter-in-law Emily teaches at Tuck School at Dartmouth and Eric does kid care and furniture building, as well as part time teaching at Dartmouth in econ. Great to have the entire family so close by. I’m plenty busy with some educational consulting, maintaining our old farm, coaching youth XC skiing, hiking and running, and an informal role at Dartmouth. Life is good in northern New England, if we ever get winter. Look forward to seeing folks at our 50th!”
Some of you responded to my e-mail, asking what courses you wish you had taken at Wesleyan. Bob Runk (after assuring me that it is not too late for me to take an economics class, but cautioning me to make sure that Paul Krugman is not the teacher) said there were many courses he wishes he had taken, especially more history. Bob continues to make music, including a music video that he describes as “a hip-hop/rap thing called La Playa Walk.”
Michael McCord wrote “I wish I had taken the Shakespeare survey course and maybe a course in music or art, though I certainly valued everything I did select.” Michael and his wife, Elisabeth, have lived in the same house on Beacon Hill in Boston since 1974. He is the headmaster of The Learning Project, a K–6 independent elementary school with about 120 students. Elisabeth is the business manager at the school. Retirement? “We anticipate retiring at some point, but there’s still satisfying work to do and, fortunately, we are in good health.”
Walter Beh wrote that he “retired from the practice of law in Hawaii after 45 years of fun and sun.” He now spends his time “going to the beach, watching the youngest of my nine grandchildren, and taking naps with said grandchild.” He did not identify a class he wishes he had taken, but he did remember one that he was glad he took: “I always remember with fondness my time at Wes, especially my freshman year in French class.”
A few people remembered (quite clearly!) classes they did take that they wish they had not taken. Jim Vaughan, for example, wrote this: “I’ll tell you what I wished I hadn’t taken….calculus. Got pneumonia the first semester of sophomore year, missed a lot of classes, and drew a blank on the final. Big “F”!! Put me in the academic doghouse, and the dean made me move out of the Psi U house (thankfully, in hindsight, because I eventually made up the lost ground and graduated on time). Should’ve taken an incomplete.” After Wesleyan, Jim was the supply officer on a U.S. Navy destroyer, went to Columbia Business School, and then worked as an investment banker, concentrating on the healthcare sector for the last 20 years. He now lives in NYC and Oyster Bay, N.Y.
William Vetter still regrets that he was not allowed to take calculus (maybe the same class Jim Vaughan was in) because he had previously taken a calculus class in high school. Instead, he was placed in a physics class he didn’t like, and then a linear algebra class, and then a multidimensional calculus class….all of which convinced him to drop out of science and math and go into the COL. After Wesleyan, he went to Stanford Law School, and then to Vietnam, and then back to Stanford Law, graduating in 1972. Over the next 35 years, he worked as an attorney, first with a small firm, and then in house for some large corporations (mostly for Martin Marietta and Rockwell International). He and his wife, Agi, who grew up in eastern Hungary (as Bill explains, “she escaped, got asylum in Germany, and eventually got refugee status in the U.S.”) have two children, both of whom live in Denver. Bill and Agi now live in Greenville, S.C., but their house is up for sale and they are planning to move to Denver (“If we’re successful, a place in Denver will be our seventh home in 38 years”).
I also heard from Dave Garrison. He and his wife, Suzanne, live in Dayton, Ohio, where Suzanne teaches commercial law at Wright State University. Dave taught Spanish and Portuguese there for 30 years but retired in 2009, and now spends his time “writing poetry, reading, playing golf and tennis, and sailing in the summer.” As for which classes he wishes he had taken, he had this to say: “I wish like everything I had taken a class with Richard Wilbur. Here was one of the most famous poets in America and I never signed up to work with him. A great opportunity lost.” [Note from your class secretary: I did not take a class with Richard Wilbur. However, thanks to Joe Reed, who put Richard Wilbur on his team in a student-faculty charade match we had in the fall of 1966, I did play charades with him once. He was quite charming. Their team also included Paul Horgan, so they were a tad more literate than we were.]
As Karl Furstenberg mentioned in his e-mail at the top of these notes, our 50th Reunion is coming—2017. Weird but true (seems like we just had the 45th). I hope you’ll be able to come back to Wesleyan for it. For those of you who have not been on campus for a while, there is a lot of new stuff to see, and, hopefully, a lot of old (and getting older) classmates…
Richie Zweigenhaft | email@example.com