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Hello, classmates!

Here’s some exciting news you’ve shared with me recently.

Eileen Deignan reports that she has two kids at Wesleyan now. Her son, Evan, is a senior, and her son, Andrew, is a frosh. They are having a great time experiencing Wes together.

            Around Thanksgiving, Eileen returned from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She went on a month-long expedition to Antarctica with an international group of 85 women leaders in STEM fields. The sponsoring organization is Homeward Bound Projects. She is “still wrapping my head around all that we learned and saw there.” What an experience!

Chuck Taylor reports that he and his wife, Liz Martin Taylor, got together with Jay Valley recently. Jay remains a step ahead of the rest of us, having already mastered the snowbird routine between Massachusetts and Florida despite not being retired from his job as product development manager at Greenlee Diamond Tool Co. Jay and Chuck saw Elvis Costello and the Imposters in concert the first day of his visit, and on the next day they went to Wesleyan.

            It was Jay’s first time on campus this century, so as they wandered, Liz resumed her former role of Cardinal Key tour guide and pointed out the changes for him. And while they decided to skip the Freeman Athletic Center, which sits where the senior year house where Jay and Chuck lived once stood, they managed to get into all but one of the places they wanted to revisit. They were only caught when Jay decided he wanted to see whether the Language Lab was still where he left it. It wasn’t, but the employee who Jay and Chuck surprised when they barged in kindly tolerated them rather than contact Public Safety. As a former Language Lab employee, I can say that I went looking for that place during reunion, too. Who wouldn’t want to see the place where people studying Japanese or French would record their dictations aloud?

Johanna Maaghul writes in to give us a lot of news! First, she and her husband, Rich, spent the bulk of the pandemic in Switzerland working on their education platform, ODEM.IO. They split their time between there and traveling the U.S. by car, where they had the opportunity to see many different perspectives on what the COVID crisis has brought to our country and the health and economic challenges many are now facing. They are excited to have their education platform be part of the solution of rebuilding.

            Johanna is also continuing an almost 10-year career as a literary agent with a focus on nonfiction health and healing. She still thanks Julia Druskin for teaching her the role and value of literary agents!

            She is currently agenting a screenplay that she is very excited about. She is eager to be in touch with Heather Rae ’83, and she is happy to review any nonfiction projects with big aspirations from any of us. Finally, Johanna enjoyed having dinner recently with Sara Walpert Foster. 

From left to right: Mitchie, Naomi, and Amanda, November 2023

Amanda Jacobs Wolf spent five wonderful days in Washington, D.C., this past November, staying with Matt Paul and Naomi Mezey. They cooked a lot and laughed a lot, and Naomi even let Amanda braid the challah she so skillfully made. And then to “top” the long weekend off, Mitchie Topper joined the group for dinner one night, as she was also in town. Such a fun Wes reunion. Everyone is thrilled Matt and Naomi’s daughter will start Wes next fall, keeping the dream alive for some future Foss Hill hangouts.

From left to right: Matt, Naomi, Mitchie, and Amanda

Grier Mendel has successfully moved from Seattle, Washington, to Longmont, Colorado, and is beginning her retirement. Grier is volunteering at a farm rescue and getting to know her new surroundings. Great new adventures ahead for Grier!

Pauline Frommer ’88 is getting a lot of our classmates into the music scene as her daughter’s band, Melt, tours the country. Jim Witz saw them in Denver, Trish Dorsey saw them in Boston, and Bruno Oliver ’88 was disappointed that the Los Angeles show was canceled.

Finally, I have the sad job of reporting that Brad Vogt died unexpectedly this fall, and so many of his classmates have fond memories of him. Frank Barrett wrote that Brad was a terrific and decent family-first person and sports enthusiast. Brad was an admired friend of friends who Frank ran into in the best ways at many parties and establishments. Beth Pitcher also said that Brad often traveled with her between D.C. and Wesleyan and felt that she couldn’t have asked for a better companion for the numbers of times her car broke down on the journey. Sending love to his family and those who knew him at Wesleyan.

Wishing everyone well as I wrote a message in December that you will read in the new year!