CLASS OF 1959 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

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“It’s weird being the same age as old people!”

     Al Brooks signifies just this separation from our “age group.” The virus eliminated all his 2020 track meets, but Brooksie is determined to keep competing with the youngsters. Though a dislocated shoulder forced him to give up the discus, he is fully focused on the shot put. Closure of his regular gym led him to resurrect his old gym equipment in the basement and he has been preparing for the 2021 season, at 85!

     Dick Cadigan reports something incredibly unusual: “King Berlew ’51 died recently. He was married to my sister Jean. It reminded me that King’s father, Herman Berlew ’21, was captain of the Wesleyan football team in that year, now 100 years ago! My father Charlie was the captain of the Amherst football team in 1927. In 1921, Wesleyan beat Amherst 7–0. In 1927, Amherst won by 20–0. Both men became ministers, one Methodist, one Episcopalian.” Fun special note: John Spurdle’s father-in-law Dick Stauffer played halfback then with Charlie at Amherst! The only game they lost that year was to Princeton, 14–6!

     Staying on the course of athletics, Herb and Ellen Steiner are back for their 14th year in Delray Beach. The weather has been beautiful, says Herb, and they are playing “pickle ball” three to four times a week, and walking a lot. Herb is still playing in two string quartets. They are looking forward to welcoming their 11th grandchild in June . . . wow. That might be a 1959 record! Also finally getting the vaccinations for COVID-19.

     Joe Mallory writes: “Last summer I chose a half dozen areas in which I would like to become reasonably expert. I picked my own sources (books, courses, articles, friends), designed my own exams, administered my own grades, allowing do-overs where needed. No deadlines! Courses were birds (a longtime interest since age 12), botany, cosmology (the very big), quantum theory (the very small), concert music, and philosophy (inspired by Louis Mink’s Wesleyan course, which a number of us took and a teaching company course by Dan Robinson). It was a great experience learning this way, and with my own grading system I have a shot at Phi Beta Kappa!”

     Weg Thomas received a significant honor and was named conservation champion by the McHenry County Conservation Board for his “tireless and unwavering leadership in protecting the environment in McHenry County over many years.” He is known for his distinctive landscape photographs spanning a period of almost 50 years. Hired in 1972 to get the word out about the conservation area, he used his marketing, tracking, and mapping skills to bring the place alive. “We the people, plants, and animals in McHenry County and all the areas you touch with your personal passion are forever grateful. Thank you for standing out and standing up for conservation and the protection of our water, wildlife, and way of life in McHenry County.” Go Weg, Go ’59!

     Ed Murphy reports on his old pal and Wesleyan Fund agent Bert Edwards with an interesting story. Washington, DC was spun off by Congress some years ago. All funding for existing and new pensions was cut off, perhaps inadvertently, but cut off. Bert, as the independent auditor of DC, made such a fuss that Congress came around and sorted out the problem! Good training for his years as our co-class agent!

     Josiah Carberry, our mysterious honorary classmate, former professor of psychoceramics at Brown (per his last note in Issue 4, 2019 of this magazine), has surfaced in Brazil, where he seems to have fled after retirement from Brown: “Though no one in the class has asked for my help lately, highly unusual, in case of any uncertainty, I should definitely use Pfizer.”

     Molly and Skip Silloway are now settled in their new retirement home in Northern California. Skip says the only way to downsize is to do it early. Too much stuff! I think we ought to have a 1959 show of hands on the number of storage bins we have . . . put Spurdle down for five!

     We end on happy and sad notes:

    Dick Cadigan gets double billing. He reports causing some “discomfort” while getting his second COVID-19 shot. He was reading a book given to him by Katie, his Episcopal minister daughter, The Lost Art of Dying, during his post-shot recovery period. Cads, nervous that fellow patients had noted the title, covered it up! Main message from The Lost Art: Be patient!

     On a sad note, John Keeler passed away in February 2021. Our deep sympathy and prayers go out to his wife and best friend Catherine Blunt. We hope Catherine will be part of our class going forward.

SKIP SILLOWAY |; 801/532-4311

JOHN SPURDLE |; 212/644-4858