CLASS OF 1956 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

From my old roommate Whit Rusk: “Pat and I moved to St. Simons Island, Ga., in 2003 after 24 years in Houston, working for banks that no longer exist. We are both still in pretty good health, supported by a few pills. Our two children gave us five grands—four now in college (Lafayette, RPI, Tufts, and Bowdoin) and one 2018 Amherst graduate.” At the time of writing, they were anticipating Hurricane Dorian, which was making its way up the Florida coast.

John Foster: “We Fosters are fortunate, all together in the lovely town of Marblehead, Mass., where Lila and I have lived virtually all of our married life. Our sons and spouses have returned with our four grandchildren. Our lovely daughter, Emily, died in her mid-20s as the result of a water-borne disease in Nepal, but she is with us too, in spirit.

“Our one-plus acre home and grounds, large for this rockbound coast, have given us great joy since the 1970s. For many years, Lila brought her Southern charm and hard work to create naturally landscaped grounds, while I slashed and hacked back the yearly overgrowth. Now, at 85 years young, with energy at a lower tide, I’ve given in and hired a stronger man to help me out for a couple of hours each week.

“Our hovering sons pushed us to retire our much-loved 2004 and 2005 autos (plus our 1967 Olds convertible) to get new-fangled ones with all that safety stuff. We acquiesced with Lila’s car and ultimately sold my Highlander and ’67 Olds convertible. Although my 2005 Toyota Highlander was the best car I’ve ever owned, I’ve never ridden in something as comfortable as the 2001 Lexus LS430 inherited by my two high-spirited, 20-ish granddaughters from their other grandfather. It’s a bit too old-fogey for them, so there may be a deal.”

Loni and Al Haas “have six teenage grandchildren, all of whom are successfully carving their own trails in life. We enjoy driving to the Boston area to visit and stand in once in a while. We passed our 51st wedding anniversary in August, and we still visit Denmark regularly, usually with a grandchild in tow to expose them to a wonderful piece of their heritage. As for health, seven stents in my heart, a bout with a rare form of cancer (Merkel cell carcinoma) and 50 extra pounds have not interfered with my life or relationships. I don’t swing a club very well anymore, and my love of body surfing on Nantucket has diminished as I become less steady on my feet in raging surf.”

Al still heads Educational Futures, whose mission is to find college destinations for young people from around the world. Now, he writes, “I am working with my two oldest grandchildren on college planning, which is a cozy capstone for my career.”

Jay Kaplan, having published two well-received books, Secrets and Suspense and In Search of Beauty, is now “working on creating a Museum of Jewish Civilization. We have found a site at L’Enfant Plaza in downtown D.C. next door to the new and quite spectacular Spy Museum. Our museum is being designed by the world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, whose works include the popular Jewish Museum in Berlin and Ground Zero in New York.”

Walter Ebmeyer will “get my first walker this week in preparation for the World Climate Change Week protests here in Washington on Sept. 20-27. It will provide me with a place to sit down from time to time (Parkinson’s). Good e-mails from my old indefatigable roomie, Phil Crombie.”

Bob Calvin writes: “My wife, Jane, an art photographer, is having an exhibit at the University of Missouri art museum in St. Louis. Her video project on Chicago cottages will be featured.”

Jim Gramentine’s “granddaughter, Polly Durant, who still calls [him] DanDan, is scheduled to marry one Michael Kellner next October. Our grandson, Nathanial, a graduate of St. Andrew’s School, Florida, has jumped his way into the Ivy League (Columbia). It takes more than good scores and grades these days, and in his case high jumping 6’10” to win the Florida Relays last April may have been decisive.”

Ann and I were on the move all summer: Chile with our family (the eclipse, of course); Tanglewood with granddaughter Jeannette (Verdi’s Requiem); the Adirondacks (Ann’s high school reunion); Burlington (Jeannette’s freshman digs at the University of Vermont); Cobleskill—look it up—(brunch with high school chums, meeting in person a long-lost cousin found through, plus our 59th anniversary); and the Catskills (the annual Chien family gathering—where taking the ritual photo was enlivened when a grandnephew presented The Ring to his unsuspecting fiancée-to-be; she said “Yes!”)

Back home we are traveling vicariously with Sheila and Bob Runyon via his newly published Seven Continents Before Incontinence: A Memoir of Travel & Togetherness. Fascinating stuff. Try it. (It’s available from Amazon.) Way to go, Bob!

George Chien |