CLASS OF 1998 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

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1998     Hi classmates: It’s hard to know what to say these days. I don’t know if the time since our last notes has gone by quickly or not moved at all. Or as a good friend always says, “Why can’t it be both, Abby?” As of this writing, the COVID vaccine is slowly making its way into more and more arms and immune systems—but not with the equity so desperately needed—while we all continue to try and figure out what is safe enough or not, each of us balancing our own risk-benefit calculation as best we can. There are joyous moments and heart-breaking ones, and a whole lot of the in-between. I hope you are all as well as can be, and finding lights at the ends of all the little and big tunnels.

     Here is the news from our fellow ’98ers.

     Jesse Vincent is living in Oakland with his wife Kaia and four-year- old son Ira. For most of the past month, he’s been neglecting his day job running keyboard.io to serve as one of the volunteer coordinators of cinateca.com.

     Adam Borden’s family decided to decamp for a month with remote learning and work to Stowe, Vermont. They were able to ski every day during winter break and then for a couple of weeks each day after Emma and Ian finished remote school. It was such a welcome relief to have a change of scenery and get in some great skiing. Before they left, Adam and Ann Bakun surprised them with a holiday muffeletta shipment from NOLA’s Central Grocery which definitely took care of any muffeletta hankering they might have had for years! The Bordens returned in mid-January in time for Adam to start a new job as the VP of digital advertising for Live Casino and Hotels, a Maryland gaming company with properties near Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and in Philadelphia. He has much to learn about the gaming industry but is learning quickly!

     Laura Kirk enjoyed a New York snowstorm in Central Park with her son Theo and sent an adorable happy snowy masked picture that I wish I could include!

    Brendan Armm, DAOM, LAc, Dipl OM, lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two kids, practicing as a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine at Lotus Integrative Medicine in Santa Monica (lotussm.com), which he founded in 2007 and serves as director. He hosts the weekly integrative holistic health and wellness talk show The Well with four other doctors and health care practitioners, to tackle all things body, mind and spirit, which is also on YouTube. Back in 2015, Dr. Armm received a U.S. patent for the BackInBand, a lower back pain relief acupressure device (BackInBand.com), after completing a six-month study showing the device’s medical efficacy. Brendan continues to play drums like he did back in the days of Wesleyan when he majored in world music (and pre-med, too), and used to play with campus bands Neptune, 2:10 Train, and others, with his schoolmates Kevin Strait ’97, Dan Gilbert, Eric Werner ’99 and others. He now enjoys watching his daughter (River) learn the guitar, and his son (Leaf) learn the drums, carrying on the spirit and pulse of music. Brendan’s also been playing tennis weekly, again like in his days back at Wesleyan, when he was on the school’s team his freshman year. Some things change, some things remain unchanged, and always each day is a present.

     Finally, as many of you know, on December 13, 2020, we lost Catie Lazarus ’98, MA ’99 to breast cancer. Catie was a comedian, writer, and producer­—well-known as the longtime host of the talk show and podcast Employee of the Month—and a friend and a light of optimism to so many. She switched from a doctorate in psychology into comedy after prompting from Tina Fey, and no doubt used skills she learned at Wes in psychology/sociology in her interviews with celebrities and laypeople alike, including a series in The Atlantic interviewing people who had lost their jobs. She brought both depth of feeling and humor to all her work, and it is clear from even the most random candid photo or interview moment that there is no more infectious smile than hers. You can find much of her work as well as wonderful tributes to her online, including one (at jta.org) written by a friend she made doing that most Wesleyan of post-grad experiences, an immersion experience in Israel. She is survived by her parents Simon and Rosalind, and two brothers Ned ’95 and Ben and their wives Nahanni and Katherine. She will be missed by so many.

ABBY ELBOW | aelbow@gmail.com