Hello all! The common denominator in your news this winter was how many of us have connected with classmates in virtual ways. A true benefit of the pandemic which offers so few bright spots! We’ve got a lot of boldfaced names in our column this time around!
While at home, I’ve been zooming with Grier Mendel, Liz Rabineau, Amy and Eric Mortimer-Lotke, Allegra Burton, Wendy Banner, Barbara Becker ’86, Randi Levinson ’86, Michael Clancy ’88, Chris Roellke, and Dave Robinson for some great Butterfield memories. I’ve also spent some time paring back collected souvenirs and memories, and I’ve found some truly Wesleyan artifacts! Picture the poster built off this text: This is Howard. Howard lives at the Bayit. Howard lives with seven women. Howard’s grandmother is very happy, but How’s Howard? This ad for the “first-annual How’s Howard party at the Bayit” led me to reach out to Howard Bochner, who says he’s hanging in there, and was happy for the memory.
After six years as a disability rights lawyer with the ACLU, Claudia Center became the Legal Director with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund where she focuses on the rights of people with disabilities during COVID-19. She writes snail mail postcards as a pandemic activity. Recipients have included Cal Coolidge, Anthea Charles, Becca Gallager, Natasha Kirsten Kraus, Jack Levinson, and Laura Thomas.
John Katz reports from the Katz/Dipko household. John works with the Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco, focused on sustainability standards for electronics and other products, and supporting efforts to promote business sustainability. His wife, Lisa Dipko ’86, is a social worker at the Veterans Administration nursing home in San Francisco where families have not been able to visit for nearly a year. In November, the family enjoyed a virtual trip to Wes with their high school junior son, where they enjoyed “chatting” with Doug Koplow and George Cabrera ’86. John keeps in touch with Michael Foster, who chairs the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at UC Davis. They took a three-day backpacking trip together last summer in the Sierras. COVID has given John the opportunity to connect online with Wes folks including Pauline Frommer ’88, Sumana Rangachar (Chandrasekhar), Matt Pollack, Michele Ahern, Jessica Miller, Lael Lowenthal, Lucille Renwick, and Bruno Oliver (Weinburg).
Darya Mead is a longtime reader, rare participant in our class notes, but she wrote in to report on her activities. She is juggling content creation, strategy and media jobs, jumping through a lot of hoops to work at home. Like most of us, she’s been finding new ways to keep up fitness and enhance mood: hula hooping, Zoom yoga, hikes, kayaking, boogie boarding, camping, Netflix, watercolor projects, and plenty of walks. Darya works mostly for HairToStay, an organization that provides subsidies to low-income cancer patients. She also writes for various outlets including Roam Family Travel and the San Mateo Daily Journal. Her current passion project is a podcast called Hippie Docs 2.0 Re-Humanizing Medicine. Her boys are 21 and 17 and both are history/social science, satire, and soccer buffs. Before COVID, Darya traveled with family in five trips together all over the world as her cousin covered UN Climate Conferences while Darya provided Mary Poppins–level care to her young cousins and wrote about their adventures. Darya’s husband’s job as an event designer has evaporated in the pandemic, so a return to life might be a huge pivot for them. She’s feeling a bit better since January 20th and continuing her bag-of-tricks approach to reality.
Michael Bennett published his debut novel, Young Donald, with Inkshares (a Wesleyan alumni–run publisher) in October. It’s an imagined biography of Donald Trump in high school.
Daniel Rauch published Challenging Cases in Pediatric Hospital Medicine (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2021), his second medical book.
Chris Lotspeich sent greetings and good wishes. In 2016 Chris was diagnosed with ALS, an incurable fatal motor neuron disease. He says that fortunately his progression is very slow and he remains mostly independent. He says otherwise, his life is pretty much perfect with his wonderful wife Amy Dunn and their 12- and 16-year-old daughters in Connecticut. Chris works part-time as the director of sustainability services at NV5 Energy Efficiency Services (formerly Celtic Energy), focusing on resilience, renewable power, and efficiency. He is hoping to complete long-deferred nonfiction books and novels in the years to come. Chris stays in touch with classmates including Rob Campbell, Clarinda Mac Low, Scott Pryce, Dan Sharp, Jason Stell, and Adam Willner.
Finally, I recently heard from Ira Skolnik who relayed some sad news from his buddy, Dan Levy ’88. Sadly, Dan lost his 22-year-old son last year. Alex Levy was an avid organic farmer and Dan is setting up an endowed fellowship to support a Wesleyan student to work on Wesleyan’s farm each summer. Please contact me for details if you would like to support this memorial fellowship.
You are reading this many months after I write it, so my close is a little wish for good things for us now. Sending love.
REBECCA ZIMBLER GRAZIANO | email@example.com