It was the Reunion that never was and the Reunion that never happened before for anyone, all rolled into one. I think we always knew that our 50th class Reunion would be different because, well, because we’re different, but this was markedly different. True, we didn’t get together physically, but we did get together virtually, with classmates participating from Japan to the East Coast.
The Reunion book probably has arrived in your mailbox just by now. It’s a masterful work. Despite writing class notes for 35 or 40 years now, I still have found all sorts of interesting biographical information that somehow never was shared with me for the column all these years. Super job John Griffin, Ted Reed, Jeff Sarles, John Sheffield, Maurice Hakim, Jeremy Serwer, Prince Chambliss, Diana Diamond, Kate Lynch ’82, and Elizabeth Watrous MALS ’02 (the latter two of the Wesleyan staff). An addendum with more classmate bios will be forthcoming.
The first part of our virtual Reunion was the president’s toast on Friday evening that I missed somehow, but I was able to Zoom in on the social hour that followed and on a group discussion about business on Saturday. The former was hosted by John Alschuler and Diana Diamond, and the latter hosted by John Griffin, Jeremy Serwer, and John Alschuler. The social hour involved about 35 attendees chatting in rotating break-out rooms. The Saturday business discussion was interesting but concerning. The element of uncertainty hung over both events. The virtual commencement occurred on Sunday. Check the Wesleyan website for video, for films by Bill Jefferson and Steve Talbot, draft board stories, and more.
Aside from the Reunion itself, I had several emails with news. Go to magazine.wesleyan.edu for the full notes.
Rob Baker and Sandy remain in Park City, Utah, but visiting with kids elsewhere. Rob’s retired, active in several sports, intellectual pursuits, and in the community.
Gerald Everett Jones has won four book awards this year. Gerald’s most recent awards were for How to Lie with Charts, a business book, and Preacher Finds a Corpse in the mystery/crime category.
Steve Talbot is active both in broadcasting and politically. He wrote, “North Carolina public radio just posted two new videos from the series of shorts I senior produced with a local filmmaker, one about the first African American woman elected sheriff in the state’s history.” Steve is busy with another Vietnam documentary called The Movement and the “Madman.”
Congratulations to husband-and-wife team Diana Diamond and John Alschuler, who were honored during Reunion weekend with the Outstanding Service Award, given to alumni, parents, or other members of the Wesleyan community for their outstanding volunteer service to the University, their community, or the nation. They co-hosted the virtual social hour on Friday.
Tony Balis sent out a beautiful email entitled “A Marshall Plan for America.” “Let’s create a 2020 Marshall Plan, involving every aspect of our national life, by recommitting private wealth towards public good. Let’s invent a humanistic capitalism that works in partnership with federal and local government yet without fealty to it, that provides security, safety, and dignity for all of us, helping rescue our only home in the process.” Contact Tony at email@example.com.
In New Zealand, Peter Ratner wrote: “I do not have much to report except that my decision to move to New Zealand looks better every day.” He and Carol truly retired and are living in Greytown, a small community about an hour-and-a-half from downtown Wellington. “We live in a lovely old villa built around 1887 with enough land for some chickens, a very small orchard, and some vegetable beds.”
John Sheffield wrote, “Patiently waiting for safe reentry opportunity here in NYC, post-COVID-19. Getting to do many homebound projects formerly shelved as low priority (e.g., digitizing several thousand Kodachrome slides).”
We haven’t heard from Stuart Frank in a while, and now I know why. He’s been busy writing books.
Steve Ossad wrote regarding a large number of posters a friend created for the 50th Commemoration of the War in Vietnam [which the Vietnamese call the American War]. See them at vietnamwar50th.com.
Peter Kalischer is still in Japan, lying low in Tokyo but participating in our Zoom events. His daughter, Dani, resides in Brooklyn but has been holed up in New Zealand, a good place to be.
Steve Ching, MD is a part-time Kaua’i resident. “I have an emeritus appointment at the University of Rochester and do some occasional teaching with residents and medical students.”
Elbridge Smith and Bill Tam, both O’ahu attorneys (Elbridge focused on employee rights law and Tam, a retired water law expert) have been emailing recently with me and Peter Kalischer, who (like me) spent a semester in Hawaii during our Wesleyan years. Elbridge expressed what may be a common view of this reunion: “All our [senior year] finals were canceled as I recall. Maybe apropos that so is Reunion? Too bad; it would have been my first.”
Kalishcher, meanwhile, wrote a lengthy remembrance as a warm-up for the bio book, with an interesting perspective of 1966 Wesleyan and full of interesting stories. One example, some horticulture in Lawn Avenue. Maybe ask him for a copy.
Reunion dates next year are May 27-30. Let’s plan on a reunion then, whether in person or virtually. Stay tuned for more virtual class events. As always, send news. Meanwhile, stay well.
Russ Josephson | firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 1151, Kilauea, HI 96754