CLASS OF 1982 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

I’m still kind of in a glow about our Class Notes Live in June. So nice to see you all. Make sure you watch it if you haven’t or you missed it. We somehow have to turn to each other during what for most of us has been the difficult year of turning 60—hard enough on top of all else, pandemic and political. And if you are out here in California, like Laura Fraser and me, apocalyptic. 

Kathryn Benjamin agrees. “The Class Notes Live to celebrate our 60th birthdays was a great idea and I’m glad I joined in. Other than that, as is everyone, we’re hunkering down and getting through the pandemic. I put in an 8’x4’ raised garden bed this spring and have enjoyed fresh picked tomatoes, zucchinis and butternut squashes! Already planning what to plant next year.” I feel calmer already, Kathryn.

But still apocalyptic, too, for Lavinia Ross, who writes, “My area was placed on evacuation Level 1 status for a little over a week. The Holiday Farm fire to the south was up moving this way, and was the closest threat. I’ve been out here in rural western Oregon for almost 17 years now, and never had fire that close before, or smoke so thick and poisonous, a toxic brew of formerly living and non-living materials, including plastics, metal, construction materials, and chemicals. A fine layer of ash coated everything. We were lucky this time, we never had to evacuate, firefighters made some progress containing the blaze, and the rains finally came. It’s clear and sunny out here today, and the air is clear. Life doesn’t get much better than that.”

Even from the apocalypse, some sweet news from Rachael Adler, who happened to (literally) write to us through the haze of the fires: “Got married to a man I adore, whom I dated twice 28 years ago and finally “grew into”—a COVID-19 wedding . . . After decades as an acting coach, I am retiring the acting conservatory and theatre in Berkeley I founded years ago. Woke up this morning with a voice inside telling me that despite all this insanity going on around us that ‘everything’s going to be ok’.” Nice thoughts.

Some other 60th birthday notes: Jackie Roberts writes, “Rachel Hines and I met the first day on the top floor of Foss 10 and celebrated our 60th birthdays together on safari in Kruger National Park.” 

Mark Sirotta is reminiscing about Joe Barrett’s 60th in Chicago in Fall 2019, and the pandemic dashed plans for another get-together this year, but they reconnected during some virtual cocktail parties with Anthony Pahigian, John Brautigam, Bob Russo, Mike Levine, Tom Davis, Mike Greenstein, and Steve Davies ’83. “Reconnecting with old friends was a high point in a rough year.”

Various and sundry:

Jeannie Gagne’s mother died in June (at 94) and she held her memorial on Zoom, including live music. Jeannie, sorry for your loss (there’s a lot of that going around), but I’m sure it was beautiful.

Larry Seltzer is “Still working for The Conservation Fund. Focused right now on conserving large forests nationwide and buying land to prevent the Pebble Mine in Alaska. We had two of our three kids home for a while during the early days of the pandemic, but all are back on their own now. We are in line for an outdoor patio heater so we can continue to have outdoor dinners through the fall and into the winter.”

John Brautigam writes, “I’m living in Falmouth, Maine, driving distance to the cosmopolitan attractions of Portland and Boston, but also close enough to the ocean, mountains and forest of northern New England.”  His oldest son is working on a political campaign in Maine while his younger son is starting his sophomore year in college. “My legal practice focuses on elections and the mechanics of democracy, and it has been an eventful and challenging year work-wise. Overall, the awfulness of 2020 has not diminished the joys of family, friends, and community.”

Really, this is an up note from Patty Smith (who will always be P to me): “I’m teaching American Lit and creative writing remotely, via Zoom (I teach at a public high school for the arts in Petersburg, Virginia). So far, classes seem to be going ok . . . I spend a lot of time on Zoom­—including a Wesleyan-oriented book club with Stephanie Rosenfeld, Terry Cowdrey, and Laura Warren, when we met with Jan Eliasberg ’74, P’19 and discussed her terrific debut novel Hannah’s War.”

And even more up, with some next generation stuff from Ellen (Friedman) Bender and Sam Bender, who dropped off their daughter, Eliza ’24, at Wesleyan in late August. “Because of Wesleyan’s COVID-19 restrictions, we weren’t able to enter her dorm (Butt C), let alone her room, but that didn’t stop us from pointing out Sam’s freshman hall, the window of the room that Fred Pelzman lived in freshman year, or the Butterfield courtyard where we used to go to dance parties. Looking forward to the time when we can drive up to Middletown to take her out to brunch at one of the many restaurants that have opened up in recent years.”

We’re all looking forward to better times, Ellen. It’s really important, though, that we be present with the time we do have.

Laura Fraser |

Michael Ostacher |

CLASS OF 1982 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Dear classmates, thanks to all of you who joined Michael and me at our first Class Notes Live. Special thanks to talented performers Bill Anschell, Steve Budd, Ron Mendelsohn, Jeannie Gagné, Beck Lee, Ginny Pye, and Danielle Rudess’s husband, Jordan Rudess. Happy 60th, all!

Not surprisingly, news has been a little scant. We’re all Zooming with friends, watching the roots of our hair grow, cooking, drinking too much, and maybe reading that pile of books by the bed.

But a few updates: Suzanne Kay has been in New York. “Many of my friends are working on the front lines helping the black and brown communities of this city, which are hardest hit, the epicenter of the epicenter.” Last October, Suzanne’s mother, Diahann Carroll died. “She was a pioneer in the entertainment industry as a black woman. I held a beautiful memorial for her at the Helen Hayes Theater with dear friends like Lenny Kravitz, Cicely Tyson, and Laurence Fishburne.” Suzanne is working on a memoir, as well as a documentary of her mother’s life, “based on both her personal journey and the historical times in which she lived, from the civil rights movement through the Sexual Revolution all the way up to our first black president.”

Susan Bodnar has also been in New York and recovered from likely COVID. She and her husband have been sheltering with her daughter, a sophomore at Northwestern; their son, a rising senior at UChicago, is fresh off the Buttigieg campaign and sheltering in Iowa with campaign friends. “It feels weirdly normal, but some days I’m hit with the rush of how abnormal and crazy this all is.” She is working clinically via Zoom, trying to keep sadness and loss at bay. So glad you recovered, Susan.

Stephen Daniel responded to the pandemic by setting up the Chatham Impact Fund to help local families. Chatham is a resort town, the type turning away cars with out-of-state plates. Stephen had a different idea: Why not start an emergency relief fund to help local people, and finance it with donations from summer people? He and his wife, Mary Beth, seeded the fund, which raised over $270K in two weeks, dispensing grants to residents in need. Stephen has been having Zoomtails every Saturday night with Alex Thomson, John Mooney, Peter Frisch, Kevin Foley, Bruce Crain, Dan Hillman, Jack Taylor, and their wives and children who are all friends.

(I glimpsed Peter Frisch when I crashed a Zoomtail party with my husband, Peter Eckart’s [’86] class, and spied another ’82 lurker there, Beck Lee. Nice to see all those faces!) Meanwhile, Bob Russo has been doing the Hollywood Squares thing with John Brautigam, Joe Barrett, Nettie ’84 and Mike Greenstein, Steve Davies ’82 and Laurie McFarlane, Anthony Pahigian, Tom Davis, Mike Levine, and Mark Sirota.

Lyndon Tretter celebrated his 60th birthday via a Zoom cocktail party with Mike Plotnick, Vin Bonazzoli, and Fran Hack and their respective spouses. Lyndon’s daughter, Rachel Tretter ’12, helped curate the online party with photos of the birthday boy over time streamed to the tune of Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years.” Lyndon noted that the juxtaposition of the video montage with live, present-day images of himself and his William Street 10-man suitemates “neatly and poignantly drove home the ravages of age.” Thanks for that.

Susan Budlong Cole ’82, MALS ’97, an Etherington scholar who graduated with us at the age of 42, has been retired for 16 years, but secured a part-time position in finance (after a 25-year career in substance abuse prevention and treatment, 16 of them as a volunteer teacher with author Wally Lamb at York Correctional Institution in Niantic). “Of all the things I miss during this crisis while being ‘locked down,’ it is the women’s prison and the remarkable and talented women there with whom we have forged bonds.” She says a number of the women participating in their writers’ workshop also participate with the Wesleyan college behind bars program.

Kweku Forstall’s youngest daughter, Cailey, married Caleb Rash in Kannapolis, N.C., on Jan. 4. Joining her and her family at the celebration were members of their WESU Crew from the Class of ’82: Ron Comrie (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), John Johnson Jr. (Far Rockaway, N.Y.), Cheryl Stevens (Oakland, Calif.), and via WhatsApp, Nasser Ega-Musa, class president (Nairobi, Kenya). Nasser is the director of the United Nations Information Centre in Nairobi.

Matthew Capece is spending his time at home fulfilling a lifelong dream assembling a woodworking shop in the basement when he’s not working for the carpenters’ union from his laptop.

Weirdly, I got my first full-time job ever during the pandemic as a “wordsmith,” working with MacArthur fellow Saul Griffith, a physicist and inventor, helping him to write about climate change, so that feels useful. How great would it be if we could keep these clear skies and clean air after COVID by switching to a decarbonized economy? Meantime, Peter and I are riding electric bikes and don’t care if anyone thinks it’s cheating. They flatten the curves in San Francisco.

Cheers to all of you.

Laura Fraser |

Michael Ostacher |

CLASS OF 1982 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

So many wrote and (with apologies) I (Michael) will abbreviate your notes to fit you all within our word limit. Starting with what’s most on the communal mind right now:

David Hessekiel imagines that, like many of you, when he thinks about turning 60 next year his emotions ping-pong between a state of contentment (“It’s been a pretty decent life”) and horror (“Where the $#@! did all those years go and how did I ever get so gray?”). To deal with this: going to Oaxaca to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

Bob Russo and Carol Frueh Russo ’84 and Tom Davis wrote about meeting a crowd—Anthony Pahigian, John Brautigam, Mike Levine, Mark Sirota, Steve Davies, Laurie McFarlane ’83, and Mike and Nettie Greenstein ’84, with families—in Chicago for Joe Barrett’s 60th birthday, “touring museums, eating deep dish pizza, and wondering how we could all be on the verge turning 60 already.” Sue the T. Rex is there, so feel young.

Some big life numbers and events to mark time:

Terri Seligman celebrated 33 years of marriage in December and, in a return to her Wesleyan roots, she joined a women’s Afro-Brazilian samba reggae percussion group. Not “gig ready” yet but hoping to get there. “I see Peter Blauner, Sabrina Allan, Ellen Bender, and Kathy Moss.”

My high school and Wesleyan classmate, Michael Scharf, is now a grandpa. Michael is at Sidney Kimmel School of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, directing the Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program. He and wife Sandy enjoy biking around the Schuylkill.

Susan Cole ’82, MALS ’97 is twice retired and 79 (as of her writing), working for the past 15 years as a volunteer with author Wally Lamb at a women’s prison facilitating a writers’ class/workshop. Turning 60 was just fine, right Susan?

Diana Moller-Marino has been associate professor of theatre at the Hartt School, University of Hartford “for nigh on 20-plus years” and for over 10 years guiding the presentation of In the Company of Others, autobiographical monologues on issues of identity for Wesleyan’s incoming student orientation. In Middletown. “Yeah, I married the mayor’s son!”

Larry Selzer reconnected with Ned Goss and Pat Maguire ’83 in Boston, and Paul Barry in Arlington, Va. “I am still at The Conservation Fund, where I have been since 1990. The Conservation Fund issued the nation’s first ever green bond for conservation and it was fascinating and exciting to work with Moody’s and Goldman Sachs to get it done.” And all three children graduated from college.

More news: Emilie Attwell is again Emilie Attwell. Or Bunny, if that’s how you remember her. “All things happened at the same time—I got divorced, I became retirement eligible, and I dyed my hair purple.”

Matthew Capece and wife Alexis vacationed in Ireland for the first time in September, lodging with local celeb DJ Bubbles in Dublin. “Had a grand time. Came back to the states with 10 pounds of packaged mushy peas. Love the stuff.” Me, too.

Robert Smythe become a company member at Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, Pa., America’s oldest continuously operating repertory theater. Susan Smythe continues to work at Swarthmore College “building buildings” and recently saw John Giammatteo ’81, when he came to document murals being removed from a building prior to demolition.

Richard LeComte moved to Lexington from Alabama, writing and editing at the University of Kentucky. His short play, Redstone, based on his father’s memories of the guided missile school at Huntsville in the 1950s, was produced at a festival on Alabama history by Theatre Tuscaloosa.

Greg Murphy lives in Weston, Conn., and is a financial advisor. “I am active in local politics opposing Hartford and the governor in hopes of resolving Connecticut’s scary finances.”

Richard Klein became a partner at the real estate law firm of Romer Debbas LLP to head up their cooperative/condominium department. He also moved to Port Chester, N.Y., “which I love, great vibe and restaurants.”

Paul Meltzer is “fighting the good fight serving as an at-large council member on Denton City Council in Denton, Texas.”

Greg Lewis is still in Berkeley, still inventing/designing/building air sampling/monitoring instruments (one scheduled to fly on the International Space Station) and still rowing, winning his sixth rowing full marathon. “They are actually the easiest rowing race to win because almost everyone just tries to survive.” Sure, Greg.

David Loucky and his wife, Nancy, have been keeping bees (“tending” bees if you’re from California) since 2013.

Nancy Danielle Kornfeld lives in Nyack, N.Y., and Palo Alto, Calif., running the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre and managing the solo career of her husband Jordan Rudess, keyboardist in the progressive metal band, Dream Theater. It was great to meet up with Nancy again at Peter Eckart ’86 and Laura Fraser’s now Antepenultimate Party, “the evening before the evening before New Year’s Eve.” Soon, Laura, it will conflict with Thanksgiving!

Laura Fraser |

Michael Ostacher |

CLASS OF 1982 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

Yikes! It seems like I was just writing about how surreal it was to hit 50, now 60 . . . Elizabeth Feigelson is one who is doing it with grace: “I just turned 60 and am finding a convergence of gratitude for so much, including the great luck and privilege of my years at Wesleyan. At the core are all the amazing people, friends, and teachers. I revisited our history of protesting for Divestment in South Africa as well as drafting the first template for a women’s studies program with Heather Baker-Sullivan, Beth Ross ’83, Laurie Trupin, Mary Freeman, Alice Aplen, Kay MacCabe ’83, Marion Wilson ’83, Andrea Smith ’83, and George Snee ’80 at the inspiring wedding of Denise Joseph. Then celebrated with Heather and Pearl Raz ’81, my first housemates and still soul sisters. Also in regular contact with Mary Purpura ’84 (check out her All Her Flavors blog at I’ve also reconnected with one of my former guitar teachers, Tom Ross ’67, PhD’85 (then a Wes grad student) who is still one of the most inspiring I’ve encountered. And still working as a child and adult psychiatrist, promoting mental health in schools and being a mom. Looking forward to less work and more play. Forever grateful for David McAllester, who helped me stay in school by introducing me to his Navajo family. Savoring it all.”

It seems like this is a time of reinvention for many of us. Rachael Adler married Danny Newbrun, a man she dated 25 years ago; he’s a Kaiser doc who has inspired her daughter to aim at med school when she heads to college this year. Rachael’s acting students’ classes are so successful she’s been batting away job offers from the top theatre companies in the Bay Area.

Michele Dow writes, “I used to be Joseph Dow, so that’s probably news.” She earned her PhD from Lesley University in Cambridge in May and her book on transgender educators is coming out from Rowman & Littlefield next summer.

Kathryn Moody Benjamin downsized after 27 years in one house. “It took two years of mental preparation and one year of active decluttering (thanks to Marie Kondo).” Both her daughters relocated, and in the midst of major change, she started a new job at Simmons University in Boston.

Mary Downs lives in Washington, D.C., and works in funding and policy for preservation of global cultural heritage. She gets up to NYC regularly for music and theater and had coffee with Gail Marowitz ’81 on the eve of her Grammy appearance last January. She’s caught up with Traies Roe and Amy Anson in D.C., Kate Cooper in London, and Deirdre Finney Boylan in Maine. Another reunion was had by the authors and followers of Kaylie Jones Books at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill: Patti Smith, Kaylie Jones ’81, Kathy Prager Conrad ’81, Joanne Godin Audretsch ’81, and Jeff Tsu.

Stephen Daniel writes—for the first time!—that all is well in Chatham, on Cape Cod, where his family moved full-time: “The 40th annual gathering (seriously) of the Stupid Dogs (Jack Taylor, John Mooney, Peter Frisch, Kevin Foley, Dan Hillman, Bruce Crain) will take place here at the end of the month. One of the SDs observed a few years ago that we’ve been getting together for so long we’ve replaced acid with Advil.” He says his daughter, India ’22, just moved into Eclectic and has a higher GPA in her first year than he achieved in four. India’s twin, Harding, is at Kenyon. Stephen is working informally as a private investor/public servant, serving on a range of scientific and educational boards, including those of Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which he chairs. He also chairs the Chatham Finance Committee which, effectively, represents the legislative branch of municipal government in Massachusetts—Town Meeting (a direct gift of the Pilgrims).

Laura Fraser |

Michael Ostacher |

CLASS OF 1982 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Michael Ostacher writes: Thanks to fellow Clark Hall resident Laura Fraser for sharing her class secretary duties—I can only hope to do half as lovely a job. We got a lot of notes and hellos, more than our 800- words worth, and it’s wonderful to hear from classmates. We age and it is mostly about people, no?

Liz Keyishian is in LA writing (mostly) for children’s TV animation and teaching TV writing at USC. “I’m married to an Australian and have two daughters. I hang out primarily with Wesleyanites: Cary Bickley, Sasha Alpert, Dan Greenberger ’81, and Elyse Klaidman. When I get to NYC, with Susan Kim, Diane Kolyer, Jane Rosenberg, Deedee Finney, and Jane Hammerslough Palmer. I’ve left out a lot of people . . .”

Speaking of, Diane Kolyer and Phil Abraham are in NYC, where she is a producer at HBO Documentaries and Phil is directing, most recently for the second season of Amazon’s Jack Ryan. Their eldest son graduated from Northeastern and the younger is at Wes, class of 2020. “We are loving that he is loving it.”

Bob Russo and Carol Frueh Russo ’84 are looking forward to their younger son Dan graduating from Oberlin this spring. Bob reports, “The last tuition payment has been made! Yay!”

Tricia Beard Mosher is a consultant to child welfare and family service systems, spending time in two of her favorite places, Maine and California, and living with her spouse Doug in Orlando. “Yes,” she says, “He works at Disney and no, we can’t get you a private audience with Mickey.” Her eldest (newlywed) daughter is in California, her son graduated from Earlham College, and youngest daughter finished her first year at Loyola Chicago. She is happy to tell you privately about her youngest’s wild tour of Wesleyan.

Rachael Adler shares, “I’m thoroughly enjoying the last year-and-a-half raising my daughter before she leaves for college. I’m in script development with a colleague writing a television series. I’m coaching actors all over the Bay Area—at my own studio, at Berkeley Rep. A.C.T., and Mills College. I’ve had a daily meditation practice for going on 30 years. Loving life immensely!”

In an inspiring second act, Shelby Haverson finished a master’s degree in restorative practices, and after a legal career, took the final leap and started as an academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University. Her youngest graduated from Wesleyan in 2018.

Anne Hietbrink, now living on beautiful Lopez Island in Washington State with her spouse Beth Shirk, writes about her own second act. “I am mostly retired from a unique career of legal social work where I learned immense respect for human resilience and creativity . . . the philosopher poet in me is getting a chance to stretch while I build multimedia art pieces that I sell here on the island.”

Chris Garson also has a second career, as a writer, and most recently has released nine short story anthologies on Amazon titled Two-Bit Stories. “Each volume contains four stories of 1,000 words. They’re meant for people who love to read but can’t find the time.”

John Brautigam, an election lawyer in the U.S. and working on democracy reforms in his home state of Maine, served on U.S. delegation as an observer for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election and reports, “The election was another step toward democracy in an area that has faltered.”

Many of you (because of my inexperience with the class secretary portal) already know that Lawrence Comras is living in the Los Cabos region of Mexico and is involved in a bioregeneration and water reclamation project. He says to get in touch!

From Joe Fins: “I was invited to give a talk at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at a meeting on the ethics of personalized medicine and stayed at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a hotel residence inside Vatican City where the Pope himself resides. It was otherworldly!”

Jeannie Gagné, professor of voice at Berklee College of Music, was on a panel at the last Wes Reunion with Dar Williams ’89, Randy Frisch ’84, and Brian McKenna ’04 on the music industry, then performed at the tent party.

John Mooney’s news startup, NJ Spotlight, was acquired by WNET Public Television to lead their digital presence in New Jersey. “It has been a fascinating exercise in melding cultures and journalism.” John, your father would have been proud. He goes on: “I have stayed close with the boys from Wes (Peter Frisch, Stephen Daniel, Kevin Foley, Dan Hillman, Jack Taylor, and Bruce Crain), all of us recently attending Alex Thomson’s daughter Sloane’s wedding in Vermont. A fabulous weekend full of family and laughs, and that was just the Wesleyan crew. These are my most cherished friendships to this day.”

See, I told you it was about people.

Laura Fraser |

Michael Ostacher |

CLASS OF 1982 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1982 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship
Matthew Frishkoff ’21, Philadelphia, PA

First off, thanks to Michael Ostacher, whom I was pleased to see after 25 years (yes, we both look exactly the same), for volunteering to share the class secretary job. Michael is at Stanford doing psychiatric research, treating veterans, and teaching undergraduate courses on addictions and the opiate epidemic; he and his wife have a daughter in high school and a son at American University. Which explains why he has all that spare time to do the notes, i.e. the goodness of his heart.

Thanks also to Ginny Pye (check out her lovely new book of stories, The Shelf Life of Happiness), Walter Massefski (a nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopist working as core manager at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), and Danielle Rudess (neé Nancy Kornbluth) for offering to share the job. I caught up with Danielle after her keyboardist/composer husband Jordan’s world tour, and persuaded her to come salsa dancing.

Jeannie Gagné has had a busy year, completing her 19th season as voice professor at Berklee College of Music, teaching a course online (check it out if you’d like to improve your pipes), as well as teaching and performing in Kenya, China, Hong Kong, and Santa Fe. She sang at the Urban Renewal reunion party with musicians Rob Levin ’81, Joel Kreisberg ’81, Bryant Urban ’81, Joe Galeota ’85 (also a Berklee prof), and many others. Her family renovated the top of their barn in eastern Massachusetts, once a hay loft, into a recording and workshop space, where her son, Dylan Wolff, is recording an album, and Jeannie is writing new songs.

David Loucky, professor of trombone and euphonium at Middle Tennessee State University, performed at the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Igor Stravinksy’s A Soldier’s Tale with Nashville’s new music ensemble, Intersection, along with Wynton Marsalis’ companion piece of the same instrumentation, A Fiddler’s Tale.

After 25 years in magazines, Janet Wickenhaver Allon has a new gig working for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, as associate commissioner of marketing and communications of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (perhaps she will use her editing skills on that title, formerly known as the Film Office, but now encompassing film, TV, music, publishing, advertising, digital content—and, get this, the Office of Nightlife). Janet lives in Dumbo and just sent her youngest off to college.

Sabina Brukner is the literary manager of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, now in its 104th consecutive year bringing Yiddish theater to audiences in New York and beyond. She served as a Yiddish coach and script supervisor for Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, directed by Joel Grey.

Suzanne Kay is producing a documentary about Ed Sullivan’s little known support of racial justice and the impact of his show on American culture. She is also part of Daughters of the Movement, working with others whose mothers were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement (in her case, mom Diahann Carroll) to put together a podcast and speaker series.

Matthew Capece has been admitted to the DC bar and honored with the Samuel Gompers Award from the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions.

Clara Silverstein published her fifth book and first novel, Secrets in a House Divided (Mercer University Press), about the complicated relationship between two women, one white and one African-American, in Civil War Richmond. Clara and her architect husband George Schnee ’80 are living in the Boston area and traveled to Indonesia last year to meet their son, who was studying gamelan and linguistics—bringing them full circle, as they met in the gamelan group at Wes.

Denise Joseph married Jonathan Watson in Newton, Mass., on July 14. Alice Apley, Beth Ross ’83, Laurie Trupin, Heather Baker, Liz Feigelson, Kay McCabe ’83, Marion Wilson ’83, Andrea Smith ’83, Deborah Schneider ’78, Clara Silverstein, and George Schnee ’80 attended, providing a wonderful song/dance rendition of “I’ll Be There.”

Finally, we end with sad news. Ed Goss wrote, “I am very sorry to say that Bob Marraffa died on Dec. 6 of pancreatic cancer. He was truly grateful for his tremendous life, which included a great four years at Wesleyan, where he was a government major, captain of the football team, played two years on the hockey team, an assistant coach of the women’s hockey team, and president of DKE. He leaves his wife, Jackie ’84, whom he married 34 years ago in the Wesleyan Chapel; three sons; Bob Jr., Jack, and Nick ’18; and a grandson named Robert (for him). Bobby started his own very successful business 30 years ago, and his oldest son, Bob Jr., will continue as president. Many Wesleyan friends were present at the memorial service, including Dr. Mike Rosenblatt ’80, who coincidentally oversaw Bob’s medical care at the Lahey Clinic outside of Boston, where Mike is the chief medical officer.”

And, we were sorry to hear that longtime newspaperman Alvin Morris, who was an older classmate of ours—he was a 39-year-old freshman—has passed away. He is survived by his family including his wife, Mary ’77.

Laura Fraser |

CLASS OF 1982 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

Greetings, classmates! For those of you who have pondered what you can do with a degree in philosophy, Jonathan Weber has been named global industry editor, technology for Reuters—based in Singapore. To recap, Weber has had a string of tech journo jobs, including stints at the LA Times, editor of the Industry Standard, founder of New West Publishing in Montana when San Francisco’s first dot-com balloon burst (we’re waiting on the second), and founder of the nonprofit news startup, The Bay Citizen, in San Francisco. He joined Reuters in 2011 as West Coast bureau chief and then technology editor. Through all this, he has kept returning to San Francisco, which his friends there hope happens after this Singapore gig . . . but meantime, prepare the guest room; there’s a lot of Southeast Asia to explore.

Literary news: Peter Blauner has a new crime novel coming in September, Sunrise Highway, hard on the heels of his last book, Proving Ground, which came out last year and was the first novel he’d published after more than a decade of focusing on TV writing. Patty Smith’s novel, The Year of Needy Girls, is a LAMBDA finalist. She and her partner and are excited to become grandmothers in October; Patty teaches American lit and creative writing at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg, Va. Chris Garson retired a few years back from Progressive Insurance and now writes fiction; his novel, Perk Noir, a cozy mystery, is about a retired NFL lineman who writes trashy spy novels but covets a Pulitzer. Virginia Pye’s collection of short stories, Shelf Life of Happiness, was published this fall. Suzanne Kay wrote “Not Talking About Race is Not Helping Any of Us” for the Huffington Post. Maya Sonenberg published a chapbook of fiction, nonfiction, and photos, After the Death of Shostakovich Père, with PANK Books this year. She is surviving her second stint as director of the creative writing program at the University of Washington and will be associate chair of the English department next. She and John Robinson are proud that their son has completed his first year at USC’s film school.

Josh Fischman wrote that in the midst of writing and editing about hurricanes and earthquakes (senior editor, Scientific American), he and his wife, Huichong, took in a dog that was displaced by the storms. Josh is in a cooking club with intrepid reporter, Tom Frank ’84, who is now on the investigative beat for Buzzfeed.

Anne Wise has been a staff physician at Neighborhood Family Practice, a community health center in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1995. They’re the designated refugee arrival provider for their county for families from Nepal, Somalia, Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, among others, and provide sliding scale coverage to patients without adequate insurance. She says her converted factory loft overlooking Lake Erie is so hip she should grow a beard.

Various tidbits of news: Bob Russo has become a certified archery instructor and teaches at his local Y. Carson Milgroom celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary and is still playing lots of amateur adult baseball in Newton, Mass., albeit on a shiny new titanium hip. Richard Klein celebrated his one-year anniversary as partner at the law firm Romer Debbas LLP, heading up its co-op/condo department. Jim Dray is chief information officer at an engineering firm called Thornton Tomasetti, based in NYC. Terri Seligman is a partner at the Frankfurt Kurnit law firm, practicing advertising and marketing law. She’s been married for over 30 years and she and husband, George Hagen have three kids—30, 27, and 17. Terri plays squash, does volunteer work, frets about the state of world, and occasionally sees Wesfolk: Sabrina Allan, Ellen (Friedman) and Sam Bender, Kathy Grunes, Elissa Jablons ’83, and Peter Blauner. Tricia Beard Mosher’s three children are launched, and she continues to have her own company consulting on child abuse and neglect systems in the U.S. Her empty-nest family (husband and two dogs) is happily enjoying Orlando without any snow in the forecast, but perhaps rising oceans. Susan Read is VP, portfolio administration, with an equipment leasing company, where she was the first employee when it started up in 1995 . . . which shows what you can do with a degree in social and cultural anthropology!

As for me, I recently danced in the Latin Dance Grooves contingent in San Francisco’s Carnaval parade. Studies show that dance is the best thing to keep you young, both mentally and physically, so I’m putting Intro to Dance with Cheryl Cutler MA’71 and a lot of African drumming and dancing to good use.

Laura Fraser |

CLASS OF 1982 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1982 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship

Matthew Aidan Frishkoff ’21, Philadelphia, PA

Greetings, classmates! I sent out my plea for notes right after the Women’s March and it was cool to hear that so many of you participated. Taking things a step further is Diane Kolyer, a founding director of NY4US, fundraising for progressive candidates running for state legislatures in battleground states …if you’d like to pitch in, visit

Beck Lee is having a resurgent playwriting career; his Subprime will premiere at the Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis in May. Like his son, the play was born in Minneapolis and co-created with his ex-wife Andrea Iten Lee. Another classmate in theatre is Steve Budd, whose award-winning solo show, What They Said About Love, played at The Marsh in Berkeley last February and will be part of the Ottawa Fringe Festival in June. To put this in perspective, Steve turned down a role in a play at Wes at Theatre ’92 —Private Wars—because he was too nervous to perform. And, Sabina Brukner is the literary manager at the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene.

Naomi Fuchs is CEO of Santa Rosa Community Health in Sonoma County, serving low-income people with primary care, mental health, and dental services. Last October, when fire storms devastated the city, her organization lost its largest health center, which meant 24,000 people lost their medical home and 180 lost their place of work. “It has been a challenging time, to say the least,” she says. But they’ve made tremendous progress since rebuilding.

After spending his career working in refugee camps for the U.N., Steven Ablondi is now busy transforming Zamani, a town in post-apartheid South Africa. Memel.Global is helping neighbors build comfortable housing for the elders, and offering everyone access to organic, locally-grown foods, among other projects. Both Susan Sutherland and Michael Toohey ’81 will be visiting the project this year.

Karen Wise retired after 25 years from her position as vice president, education and exhibits, at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and now enjoys being a consultant. She went with Elizabeth Sands Petty to the new Museum of African American Culture and History in D.C., and caught up with Sheila Gaffney in NYC. She volunteers at Santa Monica High School and spends time supporting the congressional Climate Solutions Caucus, universal health insurance, and civil rights. “Relief comes from reading,” she says, “especially works by our classmates Suzy Berne, Peter Blauner, and now Patty Smith!”

Speaking of books, I sold my company, Shebooks, to SheWrites Press (no relation), which will keep the 75 e-books we published in print, including those by Ginny Pye, Jennifer Finney Boylan ’80, Bonnie Friedman ’79, and moi.

Jim Friedlander and wife Liz are busy with her U.N. work advocating for women’s rights and teaching yoga when she is not serving as general counsel for their firm, Arrangements Abroad. They travel extensively, frequently to Cuba for the Havana Heritage Foundation, trying to preserve the architecture of the city. Their oldest son is in his last year of med school.

Lavinia Ross is living and working on a small farm in western Oregon with her husband, Rick Ross, and nine cats. She’s still playing music, performing at the Spokane Fall Folk Festival in November. Those of you who are not allergic to cats can visit their farm at

Michele Navazio is playing music, along with his wife, Rachel Ulanet, a Broadway diva he met when they were both in Les Miserables. Miki is a lawyer (running the buy-side derivatives practice for Sidley’s investment funds group), but most important, he says, they’re raising their daughters, Chiara and Alessia (12 and 9, respectively) to be “awesome, powerful (and kind and generous and brilliant) women.”

Also raising that kind of girl (he sent pix from the march) is Michael Ostacher, who had dinner in the Village with wife Laurie Ketter Ostacher, and Ellen Friedman Bender and Sam Bender, Michael Lucey and husband Gerry Gomez, “Everyone is older and nicer, which is lovely, don’t you think?”

Susan Peabody’s book Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies has won the Society for French Historical Studies’ David Pinkney Prize for the best book on French history by a U.S. or Canadian author published in 2017.

More from the rest of you who wrote (thank you!) next time.

Finally, I’m so sad to report that our classmate, journalist Lisa Chedekel, passed away Jan. 12. The Hartford Courant, where she worked for several years, quoted colleague John Ferraro saying, “She searched for truth wherever it led. She was an advocate for the powerless and a thorn in the side of the powerful.” Lisa was a member of the team of Courant reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news covering a deadly shooting rampage. Several classmates attended her funeral. Among them, Catharine Arnold said, “She was an incredibly talented writer who wrote powerful articles that precipitated meaningful changes.” Mary Beth Bruno, who spend her first years out of college with Lisa at the New Haven Advocate, said, “She took to reporting like a reincarnated Nellie Bly. Fearless…”

I hope we can all strive to be fearless, in our own ways, in her honor.


Laura Fraser |