CLASS OF 1972 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

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As I write this I just heard a news bulletin that the former president of France was found guilty of corruption, and sentenced to a year’s confinement in his home. Sounds like the sentence that all of us are just finishing. I would like to salute Elisa Serling Davis ’76 as the rightful winner of the title Best Person With Whom To Be Locked Down.

     I sent out a request to the whole class for “good news.” Many wrote that they had been or shortly would be vaccinated. Pardon me for not enumerating them, but that is indeed good news. Jean Christensen wrote “We have a real president now.  That’s the best news in four years.” 

     Less than good news is the passing of Rob Hilton in January.  Rob had a very successful career in finance, then gave it up to become executive director of the A.M. McGregor Foundation, focusing on the needs of the elderly in Cleveland. Many will remember him speaking about his career change at a panel on “giving back” at one of our reunions. Many classmates have fond memories of Rob, and I am among them. He lived next door to me freshman year. Dale, his wife of 44 years, survives him.

     Paul Vidich has published another marvelous spy novel—The Mercenary.  Read it—and his previous ones—if you haven’t already. Paul and Steve Schiff had a particularly enlightening online discussion of the book, spy fiction, and writing in general, hosted by the Wesleyan bookstore. The conjunction of two such perceptive, articulate, and creative individuals was a truly exciting event, and I am blessed to know each of them. If only it could have been in person.

     Rachel Klein, who teaches U.S. cultural history at UC San Diego, recently published Art Wars: The Politics of Taste in Nineteenth-Century New York (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). It deals with the early history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other things.  Since the 1980s Rachel has been living in San Diego with her husband, Robert Westman, a recently retired history professor at UCSD. They have two sons. The youngest is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles. The eldest (actually Rachel’s stepson) is a musician in Northern California. He and his wife just had a baby, so the most interesting thing in Rachel’s life at the moment is being a step-grandmother to a sweet little baby girl.

     John Hagel’s eighth (yes, eighth) book, The Journey Beyond Fear, is about to be published by McGraw Hill. This volume is, according to John, “a pretty significant departure from my previous books which were largely business books.” The blurb on amazon.com modestly claims that the book “provides everything you need to identify your fears, face your fears, move beyond your fears and cultivate emotions that motivate you to pursue valuable business opportunities, realize your full potential, and create opportunities that benefit all.” He has “at least” two more books in the pipeline.

     Nat Warren-White’s book about his circumnavigation, that he and his wife Betsy began in 2006 and completed in 2011 aboard their 43′ cutter, Bahati, is also about to be released. It’s called In Slocum’s Wake, in honor of Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail solo around the world alone in the late 1800s. They followed much the same route he took and competed with him on several legs. Sometimes he won, sometimes they did. He did it all by himself; they had more than 50 family and friends join them on various legs. His voyage took two years less time overall than theirs, mostly due to their long visits to a number of wonderful countries, including a year in New Zealand and four months in South Africa. Nat is glad they decided to do it when they did—taking it on now at our age is a daunting proposition. Me?  All I’ve written is this column.

     Bonnie Krueger is retiring from teaching French at Hamilton College at the end of the spring semester. Going out via virtual teaching is not what she imagined—she last taught in person a year ago.  Bonnie and husband Thomas Bass have not seen their children in Texas, Belgium, and Austria since the pandemic started, and have missed a whole year of their young grandson’s life. They plan to spend long summers and extended falls in Truro, Massachusetts.     Bruce Throne is now on the “glide path to full retirement” after 44 years of law practice. He recently went skiing in Santa Fe and met a (masked) young man on the chairlift who said he’d just moved from Middletown to teach fourth graders. “Wes Tech?” Bruce asked. “Yes,” he said, class of 2020 that graduated without any ceremony.  “Class of ’72,” Bruce replied. “He looked at me somewhat incredulously, as if surprised I was still alive let alone still skiing. So good to learn Wesleyan is still producing some teachers.”

SETH A. DAVIS | sethdavis@post.harvard.edu
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