Nancy Avery Pressler and Ann Weldon Perce met while Nancy was visiting her sister-in-law Lyn Donaldson ’60 in Chicago recently.
In early July, our new class secretary, Nancy Reynolds Bartlit, her husband, and their daughter were in a bad car accident en route to a wedding. They had serious injuries but survived and hopefully with rest and rehabilitation, they will regain their health. Ellie Briggs who was going to be co-secretary has had to resign because of family responsibilities. She too had an accident, being rear-ended at a stop light. Fortunately, Helen Heron Heinrich has volunteered to be class co-secretary.
Recently Nancy saw Nancy Cook Steeper ’59 who was guest speaker for Legacy Members of the Los Alamos Historical Society at the famous Hans Bethe House, owned by the Society. Nancy Steeper retired as the Director of the Smith Alumnae Association and has moved to Los Alamos, NM. After her retirement from Smith, she wrote about Dorothy McKibbin, a Smithie who was so important to the Manhattan Project during WWII. How Nancy came to write this biography is a fascinating story. When Nancy Steeper was doing research at the Neilson Library, the archivist suggested she call me. We talked for several hours as I had sent newspaper clippings to Smith in 1963 when Dorothy retired and the archives had kept them. Steeper’s book is Gatekeeper to Los Alamos. When her book was published by the Historical Society, she came to Santa Fe and Los Alamos for book signings, etc. The NM Smith Club had a great reception for her.
I’m still working on my the revision of my book Silent Voices of WWII and have been a publisher for a year. Pajarito Press LLC has several other authors we are publishing as we focus on WWII and books that relate to Los Alamos history.
Kay Hindle Poten writes: Widow for 5+ years…have lived in Ft. Myers FL for the past 13 years after living for 14 years on Hilton Head Island SC…lots of singing with award-winning Spirit of the Gulf(Sweet Adeline Barbershop Chorus…International Competitors scoring in the top 10)…play golf, bridge, and bocce…Volunteer at Gollisano Children’s Hospital and New Horizons after-school programs…am very thankful for good health.
Marcia Flaster Volpert writes: My husband and I will celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary in June with our extended family — all 19 of us. It is a rare occasion when we can get everyone together at the same time and place. Dick and I are both well, keeping busy as we want and enjoying life and one another. Life is good, somewhat slower with time to smell the roses and grow tomatoes!!! The grandchildren, all 10 of them, are on their way, with 8 out of college and in the work force. Time flies. We spend time in the winter in Palm Desert where my sister and Smith roommate, Ann Loeb and her husband, Jim, who live in the east, also have a home.
From Dinny Stevens Wolff: Last winter saw me trying to dodge the ambushing health problems, due to old age, I guess. Cataracts, hearing, and creeping arthritis are the main concerns! I’m not complaining–just stating the facts.
Last summer I had hoped to spend 2 weeks in Nantucket starting July 1. It’s now an effort getting through the Paris airport because there is practically no service and you have to go through all these machines just to get on the plane. The last time none of those machines worked for me, so frustrating. It will be so nice to see my niece and her son who live in Australia.I did get to Reykjavik for a lovely cruise around Iceland and it was most satisfying. So many interesting spots to see plus being in the middle of a calm sea with five orcas around us-fabulous!
Does anyone sew with a quilting group? I do most of my work on the machine and in September will spend a week in Michigan with my niece at an appliqué retreat, which is always too short. So that means another trek through Paris airport again but after that it’ll be through Geneva.
I do notice that it’s always “nice” news from classmates. Does anyone ever feel like talking about the old age problems and how to cope with them? My Dad always said he’d rather end up in Hades because all his friends would be there! I hope you don’t consider this too dreary, but get tired of that cheery stuff and wonder how people get through this period with no untoward conditions.
From Mary Biggs Stevenson: I traveled to Cuba in January. Billed as a Smith Alumnae trip, there were only two of us, Julia Meese ’63?, and was filled out with National Trust members from all over the US. (Some Smithsonians were to come too but were not allowed as Smithsonian gets money from the US, or is somehow allied.)
Anyway the trip was so interesting. Three days in Havana to start, a Luxury Spanish hotel, lots of walking and a picture taken of us getting a ride in the famous old cars. I think Julia sent a photo of the two of us to the Alumnae Association. Then a week on a beautiful three-masted sailing vessel on the south coast of Cuba, stopping every day but one to get on our busses to tour the countryside, stopping along the way to meet the people and see the sights.
It was a “people to people “ tour. Americans are not allowed to go to Cuba independently because of Trump reinstating the blockade that Obama had removed and tried to restore friendship between the US and Cuba.
Since it was January, I was in no hurry to return to New York, so I padded my time in the south with a visit to my sister in Palm Beach.
Lucy Emerson Kistler had hoped to attend grandson’s high school graduation in Pleasant View, Utah and the come to our reunion, but I have had some cardiac health issues with new meds and think it best to stay put for a while. Along with helping my daughter unpack after moving from Kansas to Utah last fall, I planned to move to an apartment in the independent part of a CCRC here in Hudson, Ohio. The opportunity came up much quicker than I expected, so selling my condo and moving myself into it made last fall a very active and physically demanding time. My sons came up from Kentucky to help move the process along; and my daughter even came out later. What a blessing to have their help. Now that I’m settled, I can get more involved with the many activities here and continue volunteering weekly in my church office, their flower guild, and hosting receptions. The local quilt guild, garden club (for tips on handling my tiny balcony), Cleveland SC book club and 5 grandchildren continue to be my interests as well. I send greetings to all of you and will be thinking of you!
Jean Nielsen Berry and son Dana will visit Denmark in June 2018. They will visit Jean’s parents’ birthplaces (Faaborg and Fredericia) plus many other splendid Danish locations, including Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Skagen. What a joy to show a son his “roots.” I also plan to go to Oxford UK in August for the St. Hilda’s Mystery and Crime Fiction Conference.
From Augusta (Penny) Henderson Petrone: I’m finding the 80’sa fascinating and fulfilling time of life, with gratitude for 58 years ofa fulfilling and happy marriage, with lots of foreign adventures. I’m still active in politics, am on a Board in DC, writing a fun memoir– mostly during rides on AMTRAK to DC or NYC with my sister–and currently working on a speech for a Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner in NH.
From Rosalie Horne Franks: I am busy planning programs for the Smith College Club of the Palm Beaches for 2019 and working on behalf of Facing History and Ourselves and the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews. As Education Chair of the Fellowship, I collaborate closely with the Palm Beach County Schools to help train teachers about issues involving social justice, democratic principles, and the Holocaust. I also oversee a Palm Beach County-wide arts and essay contest for students in public and private middle and high schools.
Most important of all, my children and grandchildren are pursuing what they love to do, John is enjoying retirement, and I am still teaching. I just celebrated my 80th birthday, and my daughter and son-in-law surprised me with the gift of a new computer. What a blessing it is to be busy and part of the digital revolution.
From Cornelia Thompson Emery: I have been doing artsy stuff in Carmel-by-the-Sea since we moved here from the big city in 1993. I mostly paint in oils but also do pastel and watercolor. Currently, you can find my masterpieces in the Carmel Art Association (carmelart.org) and in the Nancy Dodds Gallery (nancydoddsgallery.com) in town or on my website, www.corneliaemery.com.
I have a fabulous husband, Jim, who, after retiring from his job as professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, moved here to spend more professorial time at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Now that he is truly retired, he is on every board and committee in a 50-mile radius.
We go to France every year and I always wish I had studied the subjunctive more devotedly at Smith! My oldest daugher, Elizabeth Emery (elizabethemery.com) found that what you can do with a liberal arts education is to become a professional cyclist, sculptor, and podcaster. (look for HearHerSports on your podcast app.)
Daughter #2 is currently Director of Experience Design at Salesforce in San Francisco and the proud mother of Griffin,12, a keen musician, cartoonist, and all around fabulous kid. Look for Toria on Linkedin. (too many links!!!)
Have I mentioned our awesome li’l white hairy dog, Molly? Please ADOPT your pets!
From Priscilla Cunningham: As I was looking at the 100thAnniversary book written by J.Van Voris (I was one of 37,000 alums who was asked to write), I realize how much has happened since 1975/6. At our 25th reunion my Smith Museum pals planned a surprise exhibition of my families’ and my gifts to the collections. I served on the Visiting Committee of the Museum from 1968-88, and at our last reunion was shocked when Aprile Gallant, the Cunningham Print Room Curator, xeroxed 27 pages of all these gifts I had given to the museum. Since then, I have given more works and am planning to give something wonderful in honor of our class at 60th reunion. There are many in our class who have been equally generous!
My wonderful late husband was ill for 17 of the 20 years we were married, and I was caregiver, nurse, Rx manager, and Doctor co-ordinator. He was with me for the 50th reunion at Smith. I am glad he lived to see the LickDyke-Cunningham Print Room at the Quick Museum at St. Bonaventure Univ., his alma pater. I also was on the committee of the St. Bonaventure Quick Art Museum and eventually became Chair. Two years later the Committee was dismantled, and most of the people we recruited became out of the loop. Very sad.
When my friend the artist and designer Peter Todd Mitchell died suddenly in 1988, he had left most of his art in my LI garage. For the next 20 years, I gave most of his decorative designs to over 30 museums, general like the Met in NYC and specialized like the Cooper-Hewitt Museum also in NYC. His work has been in many catalogues and exhibitions. I even did a live program on the BBC radio for the Manchester City Art Museum(Great Britain)
After my husband died, my son Alexander, who is an aspergers person, decided to move back to NYC and we have enjoyed each other and Italian classes together very much. I have also kept in touch with many classmates, especially Gail Solomon, MD and her wonderful hubby Harvey Hecht.
I attend concerts at Carnegie Hall and at the YMHA nearby where I live. I sold my house in “the Hamptons” and now have an apartment in Riverhead on the north fork, where my pals, the Hargraves, started the first vineyard. Fifty have followed, and LI wines have gotten a good reputation in the USA.
Sophy Doub Burnham thought our reunion was very special, including meeting people she wish she had known in college. “What fascinating women we have become. The reunion was warm, welcoming and boy! isn’t Smith beautiful.” 60 years! I was recently flown to Los Angeles to participate in a TV show about Angels and the Afterlife. (Who would imagine I’d become an authority on the Afterlife?) I’ve spent my whole life as a writer, and have 15 books under my belt, both fiction & nonfiction, three New York Times bestsellers, awards and even celebrity, and now I’ve retired. I have written children’s radio plays for NPR, and 8 theater plays, poetry, short stories, investigative reporting, and I have even received awards, my favorite being “Daughter of Mark Twain.” My work is collected in several anthologies, one by Smith College, and it pleases and humbles me to know my work has touched the minds and hearts of people around the world.
Oh, it’s been a grand life! Two years ago, unable to find a publisher (after all that!), I self-published my fifth novel, (Love Alba) and the following year a book of poetry came out (Falling: Love-Struck, the God Poems). I keep telling myself I’ve finished, though I notice I can’t stop writing. Meanwhile, I’m trying to learn watercolor in an effort to teach myself to SEE.
The joy of my life is my Arab mare, who loves to fox-hunt (she thinks the whole thing is so much fun!), although having just watched the serious accidents of two friends on their horses, the heart has gone a bit out of that sport for me now. Maybe in future I’ll only do pleasure riding, trail riding.
I am fortunate to have my health. What has surprised me most about being over 80 is how happy you get, how curious you feel about the world, once you don’t have to accomplish or achieve. Years ago my marriage ended in divorce, but my ex and his wife are friends; we share two daughters, each married and each with two daughters, who all live about five miles from Northampton. At some point I will let go of Washington DC and move permanently to Northampton to be with them, and meanwhile I’m too busy.
All of this sounds oh-so-Pollyanna-ish ignorantly naive. But no one gets away without suffering. And I have too, disappointments and disillusionments and even some health issues. The point, I think, is not to give it much attention, just as you don’t pay much attention to compliments and especially not to celebrity. Things happen: good or bad, no matter: you remain quiet in your own silent ringing joy. This has taken me a lifetime to learn.
From Ravelle Silberman Brickman…Sorry to miss Reunion, but I have an abundance of family events this spring; will be traveling to Copenhagen and Florida to see grandchildren and great nephews and nieces, plus history tours to Croatia, Jordan and Israel. Still keeping busy reviewing theater in Washington, DC. And still reeling from the sudden death of my brother, Myron Silberman (known to some of you as ‘Mickey’) earlier this year. My best to all. ”
Kathy Hennessy Stoll had a wonderful time at reunion, and they were happy to have their granddaughter with them, a new graduate of Smith.
Marlene Futterman is spending a good summer in Washington DC and is hoping to have fall visits from Judy Davidoff Fresco and Ruth Haslam Wolfe.
After 54 years in her old Toronto house, Betty Cadman Calvin moved to a rental apartment just five minutes away – smoothly done but “a lot of work.”
Marcia Flaster Volpert was unable to attend reunion as that weekend all 19 of her immediate family gathered to celebrate her 60th wedding anniversary.
Cynthia Nathan Salzhauer’s children have whisked her around the globe to prevent her from getting depressed after recently being widowed – Richmond, Lake Tahoe, Los Gatos and soon to New Zealand. She also just adopted a 3-year-old dog.
In answer to the question of what one would tell a senior in high school about Smith, Peggy Foxall Smith commented that “hopefully kids still choose college by the people that go there, went there and how far away the nearest ski mountain and interesting mens colleges are.”
Barbara Ellson Lacey’s family hosted a gathering in August to celebrate Jim and her 60th wedding anniversary. A great joy for her is the art of quilting as she creates works of her own design for family and friends.
Sharon Abley Gould and Judy Olin Higgins took a great 10- day trip to Japan, visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima.
Ann Weldon Perce thinks the 80s are good so far, bringing new research projects for local historical societies, new outreach opportunities through Impact Grants Chicago, continued pleasure with children, grandchildren, piano, church choir, tennis and the League of Women Voters. Hyde and Ann celebrated 60 years of marriage with a trip to the Italian Lakes in September.
Gina Laun Janotta lost Joe last April, a month before his 90th birthday and a day before their 58th anniversary but feels fortunate to have had many years together with three children and nine grands. She continues to live in Santa Barbara, is active in art museums, serves as a trustee of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and does lots of flower arranging around town.
Sukey Barber Grousbeck says they are blessed with good health. Irv still teaches at Stanford Business School. They opened a homeless housing unit in Wolfeboro, NH where they spend the summer; it took four years of legal work and construction in a former factory but has filled a huge need. They have nine grandchildren.
Annis Vilas Pratt is in good health at Camp Grandma in northern MI where thankfully daughters do more financially and the heavier chores. She is writing short form articles for a European online magazine as well as blogs and nature writing. She believes that now, more than ever, same sex colleges are enormously empowering for young women.
Carol Stevens Kner lost her husband in 2016 which in the end was a blessing as he was so wounded and changed by Parkinson’s. In July she and her whole family went to Budapest where he was born, to see relatives and to scatter his ashes in the Danube. She loves living in NYC but happy to escape to western MA to an old farmhouse with a beautiful view.
Caroline Atsuko Yang was about to be 82 but feels 62. She golfs and swims; she began hiking with friends who protect her from rocks, roots, and her own feet! She is warding off senility by learning Mandarin and playing mah-jongg. Charles is 91 and healthy. Taiwan has been ideal for their golden years.
Glenn Shannon Whipple is active in her church–treasurer, choir, occasional preacher, teacher of Bible study. She works with a personal trainer in addition to all the body maintenance needed at our age! They enjoy life in the mountains of New Mexico and five grandchildren are thriving. She reports that Edna Brown Tibbitts and husband Mac are doing well.
And from Linda Stone Kaplan “What a heartwarming reunion we attended. We were so proud to carry our signs, sing Tinka’s songs, listen to good presenters, and and enjoy camaraderie that started in 1954. Audrey and Mims did a wonderful job.” And indeed, they did!
Susan and Tinka were glad to fill in for this column. We thank you for sharing your news with us the past five years and keep sending it in to Nancy and Helen.
From Julie Davis Jewett: Though I remember Tinka most for her beautiful voice, I thank her for reaching out just once more! Yes, I have been a silent one over these recent years. Eleven years of family caregiving involvement and responsibilities took real focus.
Special travel ‘breaks’ during this time included returns to India and Spain to visit many family members, both with my son, and Italy for a photography workshop. Regular mini-trips to high-season Saratoga Springs visiting my artist daughter have always been gala celebrations. My Lincoln MA family home and land finally had to be sold. I am now enjoying living 6 miles North of Concord, NH, on a riverside piece of land that offers both all season adventures and lots of lively land work.
Over all these years I have continued to garden as a major delight, exercise, therapy etc, sharing plants and blossoms where I can.
Here is home for birds, bees, butterflies and bugs, and I love it.
I have have long chronicled my times with cameras in hand. Now there is the phone, Lightroom, Adobe etc. etc. and I struggle to slowly learn–with help!
Do I have time yet to make albums, do little books, do fascinating Ancestry work, be hands on creative in new ways, trail walk,
more, get to National Parks I always dreamt of experiencing, revisit favorite most meaningful places in my life, honor the many
very wonderful people in my life past and present, find new ways to be of service??? What freedoms do I still have at this ripe moment? Who knows! I don’t have endless energy; I do need to pace my self every day. I have loved being on my own these past couple of years, but it’s also a challenge. I’m not quite ready to ‘divest’ and live very simply and yet? I am looking forward to this reunion. It once took huge, mighty persuading to get me to either high school or Smith reunions. But I’m now so grateful for those insistent, serious nudges. I thank all those who have worked hard to organize these moments.
I was very much a loner in my college years, but I loved my professors and the courses I chose, and I loved the choir and chorus
experiences. Now, I read my Smith e-mails and news updates and feel more of the depth of both my experience there and also excitement about all that’s going on there now. How about that, I find myself saying. Its a welcome and nice feeling!
In coming to reunion I’m especially interested in yes, the library adventure—I lived there in the old stacks! But I also will be
seriously spending time in the museum- museums, arts in education being a life theme, re-visiting my favorite botanical garden, also the Women’s library where Spanish-family-related material is housed. I want to pause in the chapel. I also want to just want to quietly listen and absorb conversations all around, perhaps learn a bit how others have been living and ‘doing’ over these years. Hopefully the many meal times shared together will offer good chances for that. Right now I’m rather in awe of the many
decades we all have lived in incredibly varied ways. A lot to celebrate.
From Judy Robbins Herrigel: I’ve been in Seattle since 1961. My husband Howard died in 2008, and I moved to a retirement home in October, 2016. My son lives in Oakland, CA with his wife but comes to Seattle frequently to visit. My daughter was living in Seattle but sadly passed away at age 48 in July, 2017, leaving behind her husband and two children, now 10 and 6. It has been a difficult year. I try to see my two grandchildren on most weekends and I’m looking forward to taking the older one on a Road Scholar intergenerational trip to the Grand Canyon in July. I love to walk, birdwatch, read, knit, and get together with old and new friends. Music is a big part of my life, and I attend wonderful concerts and am attempting to play my Steinway. I’m in close contact with Mary Damiano Pinney and stay with her when I come east about once a year. We meet with two other Clark House classmates, Sue Lubowitz Cohen and Sue Reimer Sacks enjoying a long lunch at the Harvard Club.
From Annis Vilas Pratt: As we get older, the internet becomes a real blessing in keeping active in the causes we cherish. I have joined the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and write Letters to the Editor on their behalf, and I am able to keep in touch with a mailing list of folks advocating for Clean Water in Michigan. I also “Facebook” and “Tweet” to keep in touch with family and friends and follow what goes on in all sorts of interesting Nature Reserves in both England and America. My other blessings are my daughter Lorien, who manages my web and my blog sites, and my daughter Faith, who lives nearby and provides me with academic gossip.
From Caroline Densmore Banks: Since our last reunion, my retirement life in Brunswick, Georgia, on the coast, continues with few changes. I may miss the sight of new snow falling, but not the shoveling, the slipping and sliding, or the cold of Cambridge winters. My granddaughter, Carolina, lives nearby in Savannah, and we have a great time when we’re together. I’m busy here playing the organ and directing the choir at church, reading with youngsters at the Boys and Girls Club, and keeping up with friends and neighbors. I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to see friends in Italy and France. I’m in touch with Sue Welsh Reed and Despine Coulis on a regular basis. I hope to see many more classmates at Reunion in May.
From Betty Weisbuch Stone: I will give a course this Spring for members of the Harvard Institute for Learning in retirement at the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University, on German Artists from 1943-1955. We will study the upcoming exhibit Aventur: German artists from 1943-1955 and other German artists in the museum’s collection. This will include a discussion of WWII atrocities, the Holocaust, allied occupation, the cold war, the rise of German industry.
From Helen Herron Heinrich: I’m enjoying being responsible for only one thing: my body! I have made going to the Y for swimming and a meeting with a trainer my only job and find it’s hard enough, especially with all the bad weather, to make myself go! But if I don’t, I pay for it like the TinMan from The Wizard of Oz–except there doesn’t seem to be anything in an oilcan to make my joints loosen up!
From Cynthia Nathan Salzhauer: Not much to report. We’re stuck in the same spot with Charlie’s Parkinson’s/dementia. Fallen into a routine with caregivers 24/7. I have promised myself to take a break once a month, just to keep my sanity, and our Reunion is probably going to be my break.
From Gay Siccardi: I live at a retirement community in Bucks County PA. I treasure the thoughts of our 60th, but, unfortunately won”t be able to attend; instead I send you wonderful memories. I’m reading Barbara Ehrlich’s latest book, , and recommend it. Have fun! I’ll miss the parade!
From Jennifer Grant Rawson: I have just returned from a trip to Haiti. I am involved with two projects in rural Deschapelles. One is Hôpital Albert Schweitzer founded by my mother Gwen Grant Mellon (Smith 34?) and Larimer Mellon: opened in 1956 and has continued to give life-giving health care to the people of the area and surrounding 610 sq miles. The other is Sister Cities Essex Haiti, founded after the 2010 earthquake by myself and friends from Essex CT. Working with an all volunteer group on the ground in Deschapelles, we have built a 3000-sq ft library with over 4,000 books in French and Kreyol, some internet access and digital servers with academic information in French and Kreyol, a competitive tennis program, a flourishing music program, and an early education teacher training program. My long time “non” husband Ron Noe and I moved this past fall from a house on the CT River with more land and rooms than we needed, to Essex Meadows, a retirement community with lots of activities, beautiful grounds, and all the health care anyone might need. Our aggregate 5 children and multi grandchildren all live in AZ, CO, and CA, so we have given them the gift of knowing that we are in a wonderful place which we enjoy and where any urgent medical needs will be attended to. I feel lucky to be able to participate in such positive activities in rural Deschapelles, Haiti and enjoy Ron’s company, good health, and a wonderful community in Essex.
From Helen Brown Konz: Fortunately I am in quite good health, a few arthritic issues, but who our age doesn’t have something? Dick plays tennis a couple of times a week and still participates in his Pistol team’s competition, our kids (and grandkids) are scattered around the country and we are finding traveling more difficult—not MY bed, not MY pillow, etc. I continue to run a tutoring program in a Rochester city school, we have 26 tutors working in kindergarden to third grade; this is our 6th year in this school and it is a delight to have the older kids we worked with greet us warmly when they see us in the halls. This group also puts on a “new to you” sale in the school the week before the holiday break that enables the youngsters to purchase gifts for their family and friends at very reasonable prices. The money raised is used to provide activities they would otherwise never get to experience (like roller skating, costume parties, trip to the zoo). We are also very active in the Reserve Officers Association, I serve as secretary to our local chapter, our purpose is to have a visible positive presence in our community and to support necessary legislation to protect veterans who were not regular military commissioned (as opposed to reserve commissioned) —Congress seems to need reminders about these soldiers who, especially in today’s military, are often overlooked and over utilized.
From Helen Lyman Robinson: I’m having a few health challenges and some home renovation issues, interspersed with some treasured times with kids and grandkids – JOY! Life is good, full of God’s loving blessings!
From Nancy Reynolds Bartlit: Am very busy revising my book on World War II and gave lectures on it to an adult education center in Santa Fe this March. Also preparing a new talk on women during WWII for a March talk for the DAR chapter (women’s month). John and I are doing pretty well. My droopy eyelids are no more as they had surgery in October and now I can see over my right shoulder when driving! Hope all operations are finished for both of us for a while. Am fighting slight arthritis, but finally got the right prescription for thyroid. What a difference! Started a new company in 2017: Pajarito Press LLC, to provide a publishing firm for WWII books and local history. Am in partnership with an art designer and web site, etc., friend who has many years in publishing field. Pajarito means “Little Bird” in Spanish and I live in Pajarito Acres on the Pajarito Plateau!
From Jane McCurrach Tallcott: Hooker and I are happily ensconced in Fox Hill, a retirement community near to our Brookline world. I am enjoying a Foreign Policy discussion group and a “New Yorker” discussion group here. Although I did end up eventually graduating from Simmons College, I seem to be psychologically committed to continue my education! We took a Holland American boat trip around Nova Scotia, Gaspe Peninsula , Maritime Islands and on to Quebec and Montreal. I
From Jane Wilson King: Visited Cuba in March with Road Scholar, my favorite travel company. Otherwise summers in Marboro Vermont with music and swimming, and here near NYC, still some theater and opera.
From Nancy Crockett Rhodes: Our latest challenge occurred during the freeze on Jan 2 when our pipes on the second floor gave up the ghost. We slept peacefully while the firemen were trying to break in to alert us to shut off the main water line, which was spewing water down the hill to the river! We have been trying to bail out and repair since–it’s a good thing we like adventure but even this doesn’t convince us to move. We love it here, and the politics are not boring. Still trying to redesign the world! Our three families and seven grands live close by, too. We are all together in Chatham on the Cape all summer.
From Helen Stokes Greven: I am planning to attend our 60th reunion. I have had no end of complicated health issues in the last few months( no surprise). I think my husband will learn a lot about how bravely we women are aging. My gratitude and appreciation in advance to all my classmates who will make this our best ever reunion!
From Mary Burt Holmes Blume: I live in a beautiful retirement community overlooking the San Antonio Open Space Preserve in Cupertino, CA. I continue to be a docent at the Stanford Museum and the Anderson Collection also at Stanford and have enjoyed beautiful trips with Stanford Alumnae as well as one with Smith in recent years. I also am in charge of art exhibits by local artists that we show here at the Forum where I live. Three daughters, Elizabeth in Carmel CA, Kate a professor in American Literature at Northwestern, Pamela Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs at Harvard Design School. Six grandchildren, four in Evanston, twins in MA, all just great! Oldest grandson now a freshman at Amherst, just down the road!
From Mary Strekalovsky Kelsey: I will be unable to attend our 60th Reunion, and it is with regret that I must miss the gathering, share memories, compare notes, and look ahead together to the future. My disability, a foot drop that has left my with decreased mobility over the years, makes such events difficult to attend. I also have a conflict with fun family matters. John and I will visit our son Dan in London, then go on to Devon and Cornwall. Dan and Christi, his wife who is with UK-based Glaxo, Smith, Kline, will only be together in London in mid-May, and we’re thrilled at the chance to share a piece of their successful and exciting life abroad. I will have a walker so as to move at their speed, and it’s waiting in the mudroom for an opportunity such as this! Amazon to the rescue! Our 26 years on Cape Cod, following the 25 years in Chicago, had been complete with new friends, travel, sailing, and much more. I was so happy to be with you for the 55th Reunion, and I cherish that time together. I trust that the 60th will be rewarding for everyone, and I’m sorry not to be there. Fond regards to all!
From Mary Adams Loomba: My husband just turned 90 and is still teaching at CUNY Bernard Baruch College. It drives me crazy when he leaves at 5:15 AM for his drive into New York City, but he is in good health, and very active. I am able to walk our son’s dog twice each day no matter what the weather. When it is rainy I have a rain suit; when it is icy I have Yaktraks. She is a medium- sized dog with high-energy needs–thank goodness I can still do it, and enjoy her. Our six grown grandchildren and one great grand daughter are doing well. I am busy volunteering, taking classes for adults (no exams or papers!!!!), and seeing friends. I am especially grateful for my friendship with Hannah Marks and we schedule regular R & R visits to places in New York. One more thing that I am thankful for is the number of interests I have thanks to our education at Smith. What more can anyone ask for at this time in our lives?
From Sue Snyder Barthold: I remember our wonderful music adventures at Smith so long ago. I am still doing music..I am music director at a small Presybterian Church in Crofton MD: duties include organ, piano accompanist, senior choir director, handbell choir director, and overseer of various instrumental and vocal ensembles… both adults and kids. It’s been a huge serendipity in my later years. In 1997 I formed an Ecumenical Choir, which has traveled both in the US and overseas for 20 years. We revisited many of the Chamber Singers venues..it has been wonderful and the Smith education has been well used. I hope to get back to reunion in ’18. My daughter and husband are in Benicia CA; their son in 2nd year at West Point. My son and wife are in Vancouver BC with two little girls..6 and 10.
From Allison Osborn Rowe: Retirement in New Hampshire continues to be wonderful. We stay active and travel frequently, most recently to Northern Scotland, Italy, and a two-week walking and hiking trip in the Swiss Alps in September. Our grandchildren are now graduating from college and scattering as they pursue their careers, but all remain within a day’s drive. I will miss our Smith Reunion this year as our grandson graduates from Bowdoin College that week-end and our son is being married the same week-end in Maine. Choices!
From Sue Welsh Reed: John and I have several grandsons who appear quite regularly, some for a visit, and at least one who is going to college in the Boston area. We enjoy them all. Several local groups keep me occupied…a fine Mothers’ Club with a number of old friends and other new ones. We meet at a member’s home with a speaker and refreshments.
From Caroline Densmore Banks: Since our last reunion, my retirement life in Brunswick, Georgia, on the coast, continues with few changes. I may miss the sight of new snow falling, but not the shoveling, the slipping and sliding, or the cold of Cambridge winters. My granddaughter, Carolina, lives nearby in Savannah, and we have a great time when we’re together. I’m busy here playing the organ and directing the choir at church, reading with youngsters at the Boys and Girls Club, and keeping up with friends and neighbors. I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to see friends in Italy and France. I’m in touch with Sue Welsh Reed and Despine Coulis on a regular basis. With reunion coming up, I hope to see many more classmates in May.
From Kay Kinney Holt: My new digs are The Woodlands in Lebanon, NH, just south of Dartmouth in Hanover. Tony and I have landed in a wonderful world of culture, especially for musicians. Up in north-country we are NOT quite as isolated as I had thought, with Dartmouth and its wonderful Hopkins Center for the Arts, the Opera North in Lebanon, the new Northern Stage, etc, etc. Also, there is the Dartmouth Coach, a clean and comfortable bus system, that goes directly from Lebanon to NYC and Boston and Logan! Tony and I have already gone to the Met Opera from here!
I am keeping busy by arranging once-a-month concerts to be performed here at Woodlands, and twice a month I’m conducting a senior chorus at our sister facility, Harvest Hill. Woodlands is designated for independent living and Harvest Hill is an assisted living facility with a dementia wing. The chorus doesn’t make much noise, but we do sing the golden oldies and show tunes and everyone is very happy.
As for the world travelers, the parents (daughter Kyle, Smith ’86) are both teaching at the Buffalo Seminary, a private girls school in Buffalo, NY. Their two daughters went to Yale, one still there and one just graduated in June. As you may remember, our daughter Kyle was a Smiffenpoof as was I, and my two grand-daughters are/were also in singing groups at Yale. So, the musical genes are still intact, and it looks like the sailing trip around the world wasn’t such a bad idea after all!
From Anne Rittershofer-Neumann: Celebrated 81st birthday with my daughter in November. I work as a volunteer at St. Margaret Hall where I am a resident.
From Gingie Stein Greene: I am still in the same house where I have been for 26 years, with no plans to go anyplace else. Still lucky enough to be able to play tennis and paddle. Also enjoy my volunteer work at Furniture Sharehouse and gardening.
Bob and I spent an interesting week in Cuba. Very enjoyable. The people seem happy though the average income is $24/month. They can’t live on that so do anything possible to earn a bit more. Some get help from Cubans in Miami, but they are very resourceful.
In September we went on a small ship cruise from Montreal to Quebec, down the St. Lawrence River, Thousand Islands to Lake Ontario, Erie Canal and Hudson. It was really beautiful and relaxing. We went through 34 locks and ended up in front of the Statue of Liberty! Nice people and good food.
Still in touch with a number of classmates. Great memories of our days in Franklin King.
From Linda Stone Kaplan: My 80th birthday, what a memorable occasion ! We were in Key Biscayne,FL and our visiting children arranged to have The String Quartet from the New World Symphony in Miami play Happy Birthday and Mozart in our living room. What a treat ! Sadly, Ed passed away in July,2017; 59 years of marriage gives strong memories.
I enjoy walks on the beach with Irene Levy Silverman in Key Biscayne each winter.
From Susan Spoehrer Elliott: Looking forward to our big 60th!! It is hard to believe!! We moved out of our house of 44 years this past summer and into an apartment in an independent living community . All went well and now we are in Florida for the winter!! We are blessed to be down here where it is warm!
From Mary Adams Loomba: Our grandson, Alejandro del Peral, was named one of the 40 under 40 for the Albany, N.Y. area for excellent achievement for his three-year-old Nine Pin Cidery business. Alejandro is the Cider Maker and proprietor of this up-and-coming business.
From Valeria (Dinny) Stevens Wolff: It would be so nice if I had some interesting news or some philosophical thoughts. But it seems that old age has ambushed my life all at once and all I can do is try to make do. Doing that takes so much of time during the day, also. Am I condemned to becoming an arm chair traveler? My last trip to the USA was extremely trying. I was horrified to learn about the presidential election, and the Middlebury College episode. On the more positive side, I am holding up with 7 really nice grandchildren. One of the twins, aged 12, says his most interesting subject at school was “le français” (the French language); I do hope he’ll have a chance to read some of the heady stuff. One grandaughter is “into” water ballet, another is becoming an accomplished equestrian, and most are good in math,which was always a mystery. My new kitchen inspires more cooking, although I do have to make small meals. Cutting up fabric and sewing it back together again in lovely fashion is what I like the best, and my next big project is getting a fancy new sewing machine that will do everything!
From Rosalie Horne Franks: In July John and I celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary. Our three daughters, twin grandchildren, and son-in-law are thriving, and we feel blessed to have them in our lives and to witness their accomplishments. I am still teaching and was awarded a grant to study this summer at URI’s Summer Institute in Digital Literacy. I’m motivated to learn all about emerging media and technology that I can then integrate into my advanced writing course. I may be growing older, but I refuse to grow stale. I’m Vice President of the Smith College Club of the Palm Beaches in charge of programming. Next season we are focusing on preserving our environment for future generations and inviting a Smith professor to discuss the subject.
From Betsy Brigham Tarbell: Life moves along rather rapidly. My health is good but do struggle with Insulin dependent diabetes that followed my bout with AML 14 years ago. Otherwise I continue to be very active with Women of Vision, a program of World Vision. Through gifting vacation houses, I have been able to partially build secondary schools in Kenya. I took my grandchildren and youngest son to see the work there last summer. This year I am involved with a Christian Mission group with outreach to refugees in Lebanon; I hope to travel with our son to England to work and then to Lebanon. Husband Don is not well and has caregiver daily. Two granddaughters in college and doing well. I am in contact with Ann Stebbins and Dee Walker.
From Annis Vilas Pratt: This has been a very exciting year for me! I turned 80, got the last volume of my Eco-Fiction series accepted for publication in Canada (read all about it at www.annispratt.com), and had two articles about the new administration come out in Impakter, a European internet magazine. Seems my brain is just bursting with ideas – how, in ripe old age, did that happen? My daughter and grandson and I had a lovely trip to Sanibel Island in mid-April, which got us nicely out of our winter boxes. What a lark!
From Tinka Crosby Lunt: Our eldest granddaughter is at UVA law school and the youngest is finishing high school.We are still at the NW corner of the Main Street in Old Deerfield, where I hope we can stay….depends on health, of course. I love gardening, sing in our church choir, teach piano, do volunteer work at the hospital, and went skiing five times last winter.
From Bidwell Cranage Drake: I have been around the world, lived in the Far East for seven years and on a sailboat in Florida for two, raised four children, and had a 30-year-career in Information Technology.
I designed my dream house and had it built 16 years ago with a large north-facing studio, where I designed needlepoint kneelers for many churches. I have done the finishing for most of my client churches and have an industrial sewing machine and a band saw in the studio. Eyes are not so good now, but I stay busy restoring damaged kneelers and antique needlepoint.
Have survived polio, TB, and breast cancer, and am healthy, albeit rather decrepit due to herniated disks, so I’m on a walker–except when the silly thing wanders off and I have to go find it. Happy that I am still strong enough to load it into the back of my car. Alas, I no longer am able to travel, so shall not attend reunion. But I’ll be watching the live stream!
My only granddaughter graduated from Smith in 2015.
From Barbara Ellson Lacey: Jim and I send greetings to everyone. May we all be growing wiser and kinder as the years pass by.
From Roberta Wedder Huffman: I graduated from San Jose State with a BSN and from UC San Francisco with a MSN. I finally retired at 75 after 40 years of Nursing. I am now an avid quilter(new skill), play flute in the community band, and volunteer in the mental health area in Corvallis, Oregon, where Gary and I retired in 2004. My four children and 11 grandchildren are scattered in the Northwest. Life is good and very happy for us.
From Caroline Yang: Among the key transformations in my life: beginning as an 8-year-old with the bombing of Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941, which led to my Buddhist minister father being taken away by FBI agents armed with machine guns that same day and our joining him more than three years later in Crystal City, Texas; attending Smith was the most important, transforming me from a naive island-bound girl to a woman of the world, i.e. exposing me to different lifestyles and viewpoints, not only of Americans but of those beyond the U.S. Being a Smithie was a huge asset in my career with the Fulbright Program, 22 years as executive director of the program in Japan, and 7 years as a Bill Clinton appointee to the Foreign Scholarship Board in Washington D.C. that oversees the worldwide program. Our move to Taiwan in 2009 has also been serendipitous with new experiences, new friends, and new adventures.
From Florrie Gertner Fabricant: Wrote from Ferrara, Italy, where she and her husband of 56 years, Richard, were enjoying a vacation–a working vacation for her–including Bologna, Modena, Turin and Varese. Florrie did an article for the New York Times on Lambrusco wines, among other stories based on this area of Northern Italy. (FYI–Florrie is a food and wine reporter for the Times; you can read her stories every Wednesday.) She says, I am still working and busier than ever while pushing 80. Trying to figure out how to celebrate (in our family we celebrate occasions: for my 50th we had a bon voyage party on the QE2; for Richard’s 85th last spring we had a Peking duck dinner for 25 close friends and family). Richard still practices law. Both of us continue to enjoy tennis and platform tennis in East Hampton. Our kids now in early 50’s are well and teenage granddaughters a constant delight. We’re lucky that they all live near us, in Brooklyn. In June I was a leader on a New York Times journey to Provence, which I particularly appreciated since I was able to share with the small group my memories of living in Aix-en-Provence and traveling in the region during my junior year in France.
I wish everyone health and joy and happy 80’s! You do know that 80 is the new 60!
From Barbara Jenks Haack: Peter and I are still in the same house that we bought when we were young. It dates to about 1750, is a lovely home with gardens that we have maintained, drawing passers-by. Peter continues to buy and sell old books via ABEbooks. I am still a potter and have an annual November/December show and sale in the showroom of our barn–Barberry Hill Pottery. I usually invite a painter and a sculptor to join me. When not getting my hands dirty with clay or garden, I am active with two local peace and justice groups . I had a hiking accident two years ago, followed by a knee replacement, but I try to stay active and healthy and go regularly to the gym.
From Valeria (Dinny) Stevens Wolff: Is the comment “no news is good news?” I wonder! If there isn’t any news, it’s because at this age, all I can do every day is to keep all the ailments at bay. It seems to take quite a while. I visited my sister Harriet Turner, ’60, in Nebraska, had a lovely time in family restaurants, and then went with my niece from Bloomington IN to an Appliqué quilting retreat in Elk Rapids, MI. We drove 8 hours to a rustic camp for adults in a lovely setting by all those lakes. The return home was difficult due to flight problems. The Chicago airport is hard to negociate when you have just 20 minutes to go from one end of a terminal to the other end of the last terminal. And the Paris flight to Chicago had to go to Cleveland because of bad weather-what an imbroglio for 300 people. Jet lag is fierce this week but as my mother always said,”onward and upward.”
From Helen Brown Konz: We are so fortunate to be in good health (sort of). Celebrated my 80th in Massachusetts with all four of my kids and 8 of my 12 grandkids—a wonderful dinner at Seasons 52 in Newton (Chestnut Hill) and a brunch at my eldest’s home in Marblehead. Great times for talking laughing and reminiscing. Thanks to all of them for making it happen! I continue to run a tutoring program for k-3 in an inner city school in Rochester; in our fifth year we run about 26 volunteers and 60 hours a week with those students. It is relatively easy: our parish picks up the tab for background checks on our volunteers; I do the documentation—assign volunteers to teachers, keep track of what is going on, and do a little promotion. For some of these children we provide the only individual attention they ever receive. Our goal is to get the kids reading at grade level by third grade (89% of such children graduate from high school). Our volunteers give between one and six hours a week, depending on how their teacher uses them and what they would like to give. It took about six months to convince the school administration that we were serious and could make a contribution and about a year for them to believe we would be coming back.
From Helen Herron Heinrich: I have now officially retired from my work with NJ Farm Bureau, solving right-to-farm and planning issues for NJ farm families and am really enjoying having more time to do everything slowly with enjoyment! No more feeling responsible for the ups and downs of state policy. I am even trying to avoid watching campaign ads or talking heads about who to vote for. Only date on my calendar: Dec 1 when I go with my sister Lou (Smith 1960) to Honolulu for the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. We were both there as very little kids; our Dad had a destroyer in drydock that fortunately wasn’t hit. I have some good memories of that Sunday morning and hope to see others with the same. We will visit every spot where something happened, much more than what the tourists see.
From Mary Holt Cowans: Although my doings can’t compare with the exploits and accomplishments of my college peers, I will always be grateful for my time at Smith. Wish I could go back and have those four years over again! I would take much better advantage of the opportunity. As Peggy Smith once said to me on a lovely country walk near our former homes in Georgeville, PQ, we ought not to be allowed such a chance until at least the age of forty. (I do think the young are smarter now.)
From Ravelle Silberman Brickman: On a recent trip to the Southwest, I enjoyed reconnecting with Nancy Reynolds Bartlit. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up on life-after-Smith, grandchildren, economic development in Los Alamos, and Nancy’s soon-to-be-reissued book, Silent Voices of World War II. We both are glad to be in good health and still working, Ravelle as a theatre critic and Nancy as a force behind tourism in New Mexico.
From Sarah Scott Cook(aka Sally): After 38 years in Cambridge, Mass., my husband Peter and I sold our house and moved full time to my family’s old house in Chilmark, Mass.(Martha’s Vineyard Island). Here is where I lived as an eight-year-old, where my husband and I were married in Sept. 1961, where our first daughter and second granddaughter were born(1962 and 2008 respectively). We are the principal residents here in the “off season,” while summers we share the house with co-owners, Anne Scott McGhee(Smith 1955) and Jonathan Scott(Amherst College 1962). Our time is spent celebrating family special days and visiting with longtime friends, tending to property matters, gardening, reading, writing, canoeing, and meeting the responsibilities of town-elected office – he, on the Planning Board, and I, a cemetery commissioner and board member of the Council on Aging. What a way for me to be aware of my approaching eight decades milestone! You must have guessed that we are retired from earned income positions. Life is good as we still have the company of our four offspring and two granddaughters, the eldest entering her junior year at Skidmore College. The world situation is not so good – understatement. Hoping for help from Hillary and other progressives. Cheers to all, Sally.
From Ann Whitman Hackl: Life continues to be very full and I am happy to report no change as a result of turning 80 in February (this is a milestone most of us are experiencing this year!). I have been deeply involved with the preservation/restoration of the Castle in the Clouds over the last 10 years (was founding chair of the Castle Preservation Society). Much work remains to be done but we are on track to be named a National Historic Landmark! I have now maxed out my time on the Board and as an “Emeritus” member am trying hard to avoid “Founder’s Syndrome” and to refocus my energies by joining the New Hampshire Board of the Conservation Law Foundation. CLF is an environmental organization pursuing its goals through advocacy and legal action. It originated as the leading force in the clean-up of Boston Harbor and has been making a difference ever since. We try to spend as much time as possible at our house in Stonington, Maine, which we share with our youngest daughter Katherine. We bought it six years ago, along with a fancy lobster boat with which to explore Penobscot Bay, Mt. Desert, and points in between. This has been the great new adventure of our old age, a much more fun alternative to assisted living where so many we know now seem to be headed! George and I plan to meet classmate Mary Pratt Ardant (Junior Year in Paris where she met and ultimately married Patrick Ardant) and her family to go on a picnic hike in the Ossipee Mountains with a Plymouth State University geology professor. Mary lives in London but is here every August at her place on Squam Lake, not far from us. I continue to garden avidly, especially now with two places to keep up (I’ll confess to help in NH). We are so far blessed with good health and have no thought of leaving our big, rambling farmhouse even for the winter months, which we love in NH. There are a number of Smithies in the area but no classmates that I know of except for Mary. It has been ages since I have been back to Smith but they seem to be doing really great things that warrant support!
From Gingie Stein Greene: After traveling from Hanoi to Saigon, I flew to Hawaii to meet my friend Bob for a week of R and R. Also spent a week in Naples where I saw Peggy Yoelson Garson who was recovering from knee replacement. I am still in the same house where I have been for 26 years, with no plans to go anyplace else. I still play lots of tennis, swim and bicycle. Good luck and good genes are essential! Also enjoy my volunteer work at Furniture Sharehouse and gardening. Bob and I spent an interesting week in Cuba–very enjoyable. The people seem happy though the average income is $24/month. They can’t live on that so do anything possible to earn a bit more. Some get help from Cubans in Miami, but they are very resourceful. I keep in touch with Aubin Z. Ames, Jo Freyberg Blatz, Ann Stebbins Sidles, and Nancy McCaskie Lavelle. Good friends from long ago Smith days are priceless.
From Ellie Tripp November: Continuing our efforts to visit presidential museums and homes, Robert and I toured Truman sites in Independence, MO and Eisenhower sites in Abilene, KS in March 2016. We also spent a day in Omaha and a day in Lincoln, NE–new territory for us. Smith classmate, Ann Stebbins Sidles, offered helpful advice via email on highlights of Lincoln, her hometown, especially the stunning capitol. These adventures followed a fascinating five-day birding tour to watch thousands of migrating Sandhill Cranes at dusk and dawn along the Platte River in NE and watch the mating dance of Prairie Chickens in Nebraska’s tall grass. We saw scores of land and water species as we explored on foot and in vans.
Gail Solomon, M.D., received the Distinguished Alumna Clinical Practitioner Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in May, 2016. After 50 years of service at Weill Cornell Medical College–New York Presbyterian Hospital, Gail is Professor Emerita of Clinical Neurology and Pediatrics and Clinical Neurology in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. She also was the Director of the EEG Laboratory and attending physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Gail is a graduate of The Albert Einstein College of Medicine class of 1962. Since retiring from clinical practice in January 2016, she continues to teach residents and medical students and studies French and art history in her spare time.
From Glenn Shannon Whipple: Living in the southeast mountains of New Mexico (Ruidoso) with Oggie, my husband, we just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. I correspond via email with Edna Brown Hibbitts a lot; she was my roommate in Wilder and a childhood friend. Oggie and I both enjoy good health and lead very active lives: he loves working outside doing many different projects and taking our black lab, Duke to the dog park. I’m at the gym three days a week; active at my church as Treasurer and Bible Study leader; and participant of another church choir and college community choir. I downsized ages ago, so our house here in the mountains is just right for us. We kept a condo in Fort Worth, not knowing whether altitude or health concerns would necessitate moving back there at some point. But so far, we’ve lived here for 14 years and don’t have any plans to move back! Climate is fabulous and the small town size is just right for us. We are more or less in between our children and grandchildren: daughter and family in Denver, son and family in Houston, stepdaughters outside of Fort Worth and in Las Cruces with no children…just animals! :-We feel so very blessed.
From Anne Rittershofer Neumann: I moved in 2004 within Cincinnati to St. Margaret Hall: Assisted Living, residential.
I have several rooms on the first floor: I moved healthy. No difficult health problems. I am a volunteer here. Maximum safety and security and good nursing. I have telephone, radio, television, newspapers, magazines and a good cell phone. St. Margaret Hall is a good community. We are listed–check if you wish. The Cincinnati Board of Health is here every year : no deficiencies, etc. We have a good dining room and nutrition. Nursing stations on every floor. Three residential floors; the ground floor is offices, auditorium, dining room, etc. Many activities: concerts, shows, movies with good groups of people. Doctoral students from UC: The University of Cincinnati. We are in touch with the world. We have a courtyard and gardens with flowers year round. You can have a car; I did until 2005. Now I simply call Towne Taxi: easy! I can do almost everything by phone, online, smartphone, and of course U.S. Mail.
I have completed all the projects, work; wrote up a good will, etc. I have been to see my entire family. Pleasure, many friends.. nice to send a card at Christmas. Good friends are good friends!
This is a good time in life: here is a chance to get it all done, all together! Mellow, let’s hope, wiser! We are rebuilding this house/home! Attractive, and good, and clean! It is called: Revitalization! New words!
From Betsy Brigham Tarbell: Life has been good with minimal pain on joints. I’ve taken up water aerobics along with golf. This summer taking my family to Kenya to see secondary schools that were built from a donated house through World Vision. My three granddaughters are in college. Still see my Smith buddies Ann Stebbins Sidles in desert and Dee Walker Davis in Pasadena. We’re all turning young 80s!
From Gingie Stein Greene: Life is good. I go to California twice a year to visit my daughter and family in Santa Cruz, usually go to Florida for a week or so in winter (where I visit with Peggy Yoelson Garson for catching up and dinner) and travel someplace else in winter. This year I am going to Thailand in January for almost three weeks and then stopping in Hawaii for a week on the way home. I am very lucky, I know. I still play tennis and paddle (in winter) though not as well as I once did. I volunteer at Furniture Sharehouse where case managers bring their clients who have gotten an apartment, but no furniture, and help them pick out furniture for their home. It is the most rewarding volunteer work I’ve ever done. And tell Mitt Romney that these are good people who are not lazy and are trying hard to make a life for their children!! My children and seven grands are all fine too. We rent a house in the Adirondacks for a week each summer and all enjoy being together on the lake. My grands are the 6th generation in my family to do so.
From Ravelle Silberman Brickman: Demonstrating that new careers are possible even at age 79, I am now a theatre critic for DC Metro Theater Arts, a daily online magazine for news and reviews of the stage.
From Fran Beekley Ames: family visits, some foreign travels, lots of doctor appointments, appreciating and valuing friends more than ever, moving toward downsizing and trying to decide what to do when we’ve shrunk.
From Marcia Flaster Volpert: Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. In March we were in Scottsdale, AZ for a business conference and Dick suffered a ruptured disk, leaving him, after emergency surgery, unable to stand or walk. While this was not life threatening, it was life changing for us both. He spent nearly six weeks in hospitals in Scottsdale and back in Los Angeles before coming home. Our kids have been fabulous, calling and visiting regularly and generally being helpful. We have lots of professional help working with Dick to learn to stand and walk again. His spirits are terrific and we are hopeful for a good outcome. I do believe he will walk again. Friends and family and therapists are most helpful as we deal with this change in our lives. Despite this set back, all our children and grandchildren – 19 strong – went to Lake Placid, Dick’s childhood home, Memorial Day weekend to celebrate his 80th birthday. It was a terrific celebration and a reminder that life goes on and can still be very good. In winter we get to see my sister Ann Loeb and her husband Jim at their winter home in Palm Desert every other weekend. They are fine and enjoying their desert living. We commute to see them–it is only 2 hours from our Encino home.
From Golda Marks Kagan: I have not downsized, but about 15 years ago moved from a 2000 sq ft house to an apartment of similar size. Retaining the space has made us lazy about parting with things. We did, however, gain a wonderful location and a social setting. We moved into the Jamaica Plain section of Boston from the suburb of Newton, MA. We are located across the street from Jamaica Pond which is part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace (small bodies of water interconnected with park land like the Arnold Arboretum, and the Muddy River and Fenway areas of the city).
We found a number of friendly people who, like us, were empty nesters or retired. My sister, Esther Marks Schleifer, ’55 also moved to a townhouse in our complex. Some other neighbors are young couples, some with young children. We are a 20-minute bus ride from Copley Square or on a nice spring day we can walk downtown via Fenway and Esplanade. At a later date when we are less mobile, we may consider moving to a less independent setting, but we have no immediate plans to do so.
My husband and I were invited by our 3 sons and their families to spend Thanksgiving in Napa, winetasting and sightseeing and celebrating my husband’s 8oth birthday. Since we went to California, we attended one grandson’s Eagle Scout award presentation and saw some old friends and family members. We saw cousin Martha Greenberg Dennis (’65?) as well as classmates Marcia Flaster Volpert and Carol Connell Thurston. It was a wonderful trip.
From Kathleen Hennessy Stoll: My son, Vincent S. Stoll PhD and X-ray crystalographer, was part of a team of drug development at Abbvie that developed a cure for Hepatitis C. His oldest child, Claudia, is now a freshman at Smith (Northrop House) and she received 4 A’s in her first semester! In the meantime, Myron, my husband for more than 50 years, has completed a book, to be published on Smashwords, entitiled “‘Ukraine: Starting a Wireless Phone System by Two Guys from Cleveland.” I am still working on my book about mental health in Cleveland.
From Harriet Basseches: The only “news” is my denial of the realities of the aging process. I work full time, have a big job in my professional organization, and am doing book launches with my two fellow editors for our book, Battling the Life and Death Forces of Sadomasochism: Clinical Perspectives. My husband, Bob, has cut back but continues in his law practice. No time yet for retirement. My best regards to classmates.
From Carol Stevens Kner: My husband and I sold our New York City 1840 brownstone in June and moved to a two-bedroom/two-bath apartment. Although it lacks the charm of our lovely old house, it offers many amenities such as doormen, a staff to fix things that go wrong, and elevators. In addition we have a view of a piece of the East River; our building also houses a Starbucks and a Duane Reade, and we are right across the street from a 15-plex movie theater. We made this move in the nick of time as my husband has increasingly worsening Parkinson’s disease and often has to use a wheelchair. Three flights of stairs were no longer possible. Wanting to stay in New York City within reach of old friends, we never even considered a retirement community or assisted living, and luckily because there are many home health agencies here, we are able to get help—so far an aide from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM five days a week.
It’s not easy to travel these days, but since NYC is a “destination city,” we try to take advantage of its many concerts, plays, and museums with, luckily, the help of “Accessible Taxi Dispatch,” a service that wheels my husband’s chair right into the back of the taxi, as well as “Access-a-Ride,” a less expensive van service.
What more can I tell you? We keep our fingers crossed, both for us and for our friends, and are grateful for visits and help from our children.
From Allison Osborn Rowe: I rarely think about contributing to the Alumnae Quarterly as my life, like many others from our class, has been one of quiet achievements with the usual bumps in the road. Perhaps those of us who have travelled such a road fail to see the value in what we as a group have contributed when compared to others who find themselves in the headlines. My husband, Nick, and I have devoted our lives to mostly public school teaching, our family, caring for the environment, and travel. Whether working with Follow Through Headstart ’s 5- and 6-year olds, teaching Dartmouth students in the education department, supervising UNH students in their MED program, working with Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools to improve public high schools, or designing a new public high school in Amherst, NH, my greatest satisfaction has always come from improving education for everyone. I am especially proud of our offspring who have chosen education as a career ranging from a college professor at Husson College, a supervisor in the first on line high school in NH, a science teacher at Proctor Academy, a grandson at Bowdoin preparing to teach mathematics and coach, and a grandson teaching in the religion department at Philips Exeter. We now can claim four generations of teachers and coaches. As an extended family unit, we are not much interested in making lots of money. Our love is improving life through better education for those from all walks of life, both here and abroad.
From Rosa Balfe Babcock: Bill and I have been retired from our Dallas life to our former summer home on Cape Cod for ten years: involved in civic organizations and cultural activities / institutions. I tutor (with flexibility) twice a week at local community college. We travel several times a year, both to visit family and on various university and museum trips. Our son and his wife continue to live in England; our daughter is infectious disease/infection control specialist and medical school faculty member in the midwest. Her boy/girl twins are 17; younger brother is 9–we see them fairly often. All three grandchildren spend the summer with us on the Cape–where the local sailing program begins at age 8; the twins are on the race team and were instructors this past summer.
From Lilot Schueller Moorman: This past summer, my husband Jeff and I were caught in the middle of the worst wildfire in state of Washington’s history–two minutes to evacuate our cabin, and eight days with no power or communication of any kind. Hundreds of homes lost, 550 square miles burned. We sustained some damage but it was nothing compared to the losses suffered by so many others. We are rebuilding and will return to the Methow Valley in May. Here in Georgia I am making progress in organizing a Village (support network for aging in place) in our historic district neighborhood. It’s early days, and I am not sure we will ever graduate to full Village Network status, but initial response has been good.
From Priscilla Cunningham: After 2 1/2 years caring for my dear husband Jay at home, he died in May, 3 days after our 20th anniversary. Three days later I drove 3 Westover Classmates to our 60th reunion. In June, a Westover classmate treated me to a Danube River cruise. The rest of the summer and fall I was looking for an apt. for my son Alex, who moved to NYC. The second move involved the sale of my LI house, where I had been for 35 years. I am currently renting an apt. in NYC and one in Riverhead, NY. The moves involved sorting out both Jay’s and my late “ex’s” things, which my son had brought from St. Louis. To say nothing of things going to 4 archives, including Smith’s, The result of all the work is 4 herniated discs!. I see Gail Solomon and Hannah Marx from time to time. Most of the time I am packing boxes of books and going to the PO, which in NYC is in our bldg. Also, taking advanced Italian classes. Also glued to the tv for Downton Abbey!
From Jean Nielsen Berry: I am still savoring memories of a trip to England last August with my son, Dana to attend a Crime Fiction conference at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. But Dana and I went to York for several days before the conference and to London after the conference. (He opted out of the conference and went to ParIs instead!) York was absolutely wonderful, and we really enjoyed London. The conference was terrific, with the opportunity to meet some of my favorite authors. I am planning to go again this August. A group of Smithies went to a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert in January, a nearly 30-year tradition, to brighten up winter days and have fun.
Downsizing is not in my immediate future (maybe never!). But I am trying to get rid of stuff that has accumulated in my house for almost 43 years. So, although not actually downsizing, I am trying to minimize what I have to make it easier to move if that happens. I have been living alone in my Birmingham, Michigan house since Henry died in 2000. I have projects going in every room and enjoy my quirky alone life style. There is room for big family visits and I do Christmas here for my two daughters and their families. The two downstairs studies could become bedrooms, so I won’t “have” to leave until I am really in bad shape.
There are some attractive senior residences in the area but they have the big drawback for me of insisting on your eating one or two meals a day in their dining rooms and it doesn’t look like they would adjust for my food allergies. Besides, I still enjoy cooking for myself from scratch most days. I have two other good elder blessings going for me – long term care insurance and a gerontologist daughter with an “end of life” specialty (!) So, here I stay for the time being, as happy as I have ever been.
From Rosalie Horne Franks: I was honored by the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews on February 24, 2015 with the John C. Randolph Award, which is awarded to individuals who exemplify the mission of the Fellowship and who give of themselves to others and to the community at large. Recently my work interviewing Holocaust survivors was acknowledged by the USC Shoah Foundation: The Institute for Visual History and Education on their website. The feature article was headlined “Impact in Profile: Rosalie Franks.” It describes how I integrate two of the interviews I conducted with survivors, now on the Internet, with teaching students how to produce their own videos using survivor testimony and USC IWitness software.
From Ellin Sadowsky Saltzman: I hate it (retirement). My children are grown, their children are grown–so no play time. After 50 years of working in the fashion business and, quite frankly having been a big wheel in that world, I find myself without an office to go to. I am a widow; I have a son in the not-for-profit world. He is a saint and does a great job for Robin Hood, but they don’t need me.
Do I want to play bridge or canasta? Not on a daily basis…most of my friends do it daily…they have been practicing while I was working….good for them but not for me. Am I sounding sour? Do not mean to…there are courses to take, there is tennis to play, and golf, and spin class and lots of movies! And thank god a twice-a-year job covering the New York fashion collections daily for 8 days and writing my views for New York Social Diary.com
I am very very fortunate but would like to be working more.
Editor’s note: Robin Givhan mentions Ellin in an interview with “My Little Bird” of May 2015 ” . . . to go back and realize the whole American fashion industry was built on the notion of copying [with American manufacturers taking their cues from the Paris couture]. ..And the importance of the stores, that was huge. . . Joan Kaner, who had been the fashion director of Neiman Marcus, explained how it was all about categories, not designers. ..You didn’t go looking for a specific designer, you went for the item. You also talk about how the merchants were king.
RG: Yes, the designers came out into the spotlight and it was all about the designer brand. And I remember that [long-time Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director] Ellin Saltzman told great stories. She had these knock-down, drag-out fights [with management] because, “We were carrying Halston and nobody really knows it because it’s all about Saks.” …She couldn’t publicize it (his name).
From Minkie Goodman Hinson (email@example.com) My vacation/week-end home is in the Berkshires. We have moved from 3 small houses in South county to a large one in Pittsfield. In a way it is downsizing since it is easier to care for one place. We do have 8 bedrooms and room for friends and family. The move was triggered by my involvement with BARRINGTON STAGE COMPANY. I am the Board Chair of the company, which I joined 21 years ago. Our most exciting news is the transfer of our 2013 show ON THE TOWN to Broadway.
From Peggy Foxall Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org): Peter and I observed his mother flourish in the life she chose in one of the first CCRCs (continuing care retirement communities) in Bridgeport, CT, a non-profit project of the Council of Churches. Then we saw my parents make some bad choices in a retirement community that did not offer graduated continuing care, only independent living.
We started early aiming for accredited non-profit CCRCs. One in VT was just south of the the border from our beloved cottage in Quebec. Sophisticated in our evaluations, we favored Wake Robin because they would welcome dogs and had nice woods to run in and Lake Champlain just down hill 🙂 Finally we remembered that VT has winter, which had long since lost its appeal.
We spent a few years wandering in our RV and ended in AZ which does not have winter and is dog-friendly. It is however an embarrassment politically–true perfection is tough to come by.
Green Valley, our home for 19 years, is also home to La Posada, the only CCRC in AZ. We now live in La Posada independently in a “garden home” but are comforted to know assisted living awaits us or “memory care” if need be. We are secure in our “Life Lease,” some of which will be returned to our kids. The bottom line is that our kids will not be taking care of us or making decisions for us. We have seen way too many tragedies among friends who refuse to make long range decisions or feel it is “too soon” to move into the old folks home.
We lead very (too) busy lives. Have wonderful friends in this close community of over 700. We have six dining rooms and many eager chefs creating country club-style meals. Much is made of the socialization provided along with superior dining, which determinedly avoids the “institutional” label. The pizza however is a disappointment.
From Anne Gillette Briggin (email@example.com): I JUST moved but only 4 blocks from where our 2 BR condo (both upstairs) was. My husband (85) and I decided it was time to have at least one BR downstairs. We had already downsized 25 years ago but still the Goodwill and the local Thrift Shop got boxes and boxes from us.
It is tough to HAVE to move in case one of us couldn’t do the stairs. We also decided it was time to rent and not own. This means we don’t have to get out the ladder, mow the grass, or paint the walls. Our Belvedere Land Company does it all with just one phone call. This area is very expensive for rentals but we decided the quality of life was more important than leaving lots of money to the family. It is village living where we can walk to the library, stores, park, movies and friends’ homes. The actual moving is brutal and you feel as if your brain/body have been trampled. But in our case, it is worth it and we love our new place on the water and hope to be able to stay here for the last years of our life.
From Anne Rittershoffer-Neumann (firstname.lastname@example.org): How to go about the latter part of our lives?! Good question ! I practically wrote a book recently! It seems to be a very personal matter. With the recession since 2008, many people may not want to move. Consult with the family. And it is a tremendous help to have good doctors and lawyers. It is quite a job. However for me, with my parents going over everything, we really had a marvelous time just being together: Leaving our family home was not easy; however we did it. What to keep, and what to part with. Good Luck!!
Be sure to have good doctors.
Stay well, be well.
Try for good health!
Slow down, having been in the fast track.
See your dentist, and all your doctors for
annual checkups. A shot of B12 (?) monthly
helped me a lot.
Be sure to have a good lawyer.
Be sure to have a good will;
and all your documents in order.
See your family: I went to see
the entire family: aunts, uncles and cousins.
We are all friends.
I have family on both coasts and in the middle!
And friends overseas.
Finish your book!
Try to finish the work: place your art work where
you really do want it, (and it is understood.)
Keep good accounts: be good and honest with your
Clean out the closets: hard to decide what to keep,
and what to part with… it can be done! Might be a
surprise… all kinds of things can go to the Public Library!
… and the Good Will, etc. as you know!
We divided everything up among the family: cousins….:
furniture, books, etc.
Love your children! Stay in touch with them
in the nicest ways. Don’t put them on the Guilt Trip.
I send mine Texts with the smartphone, and leave a message
on the answering machine.
My daughter comes ( all expenses paid !) here to Cincinnati
recently in the fall: we go to the Symphony: the CSO;
and we go out for meals: the best most attractive places.
She can shop, relax, and do whatever she wants! Time off from
her incredible schedule!
Smile! Love one another. Be kind!
From Cynthia Nathan Salzhauer (email@example.com): For us, downsizing actually turned into upsizing, as my husband and I had spent several years hunting big game all over the world and wanted to house our sizable collection of hunting trophies as well as our antique furniture that had filled two houses. Giving our children some of our excess pieces of furniture (after all, who needs two dining room sets?) helped a bit, but the house we designed to contain all of our collections turned out a bit larger than the home we’d been occupying for the past 25 years. Selling that home and moving to our farm, we proceeded to live on the farm for two years while the house in North Carolina was planned and built.
When it was time to move, we discovered that we’d given ourselves the move from hell, needing separate and specialized moving for our horses, our carriage collection, our farm tractors and vehicles, our hunting trophies, the contents of our Long Island home (which had been stored in the barn for two years) and the contents of our Dutchess County farm home, as well as various clothing and personal items. Finally occupying our new home, just before the tax deadline for turning over our primary residence, we found that we had not been “cruel” enough while paring down our personal possessions and clothing, so we ended up filling all the dressers and closets and the attic.
The area we settled in seemed extremely rural and we were worried that we wouldn’t find enough like-minded people to befriend, but over the years we have built up a strong community of friends who watch out for each other, cook in times of need and get together regularly, sharing the distinct abilities of each member. Bunny gives us art lessons, Lucy has us over to ride with her, Fann bakes special cakes for special occasions, Nancy walks with me, Scott helps my husband with reloading ammunition, Ellen runs exercise classes, I lead some shooting classes, etc., etc. All of these neighbors and friends had distinct and important lives before their retirement and now each gives of his talents to the rest of us, probably no different from the experience of a retirement home.
Almost twenty years have passed, and we still love our home, large though it may be. We’ve met many interesting people in the larger community, as our travels and hunts make us somewhat famous, and I give many tours to individuals and groups through our “museum,” which, by the way, has more animals than the Museum of Natural History in Raleigh. Our only regret is that we didn’t follow our first instinct to allow for a future elevator in this four-story house (including full basement and finished attic), as my husband now has Parkinson’s and his developing disabilities make it imperative to either move to a more disability-friendly environment (which we won’t do) or to alter this house. We are in the process of installing an elevator in an outside silo in anticipation of Charlie’s needing it and to avoid his stumbling and tumbling down one of our long stairways, which has given many older people a painful and shorter life. Our doorways, thank goodness, are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and our shower already has grab bars.
From Bidwell Cranage Drake (firstname.lastname@example.org): I didn’t downsize – I designed my dream house and had it built in the pasture facing my daughter’s kitchen. She and her husband are both ER nurses, so I expect to stay right here until I go to hospice. this house is much larger than the one I owned before. I designed the house myself and found a builder. My daughter will inherit it – she’s running the risk of having to care for me, and I’ve paid my dues by being the “old ranch hand” when they travel.
We can wave kitchen window to kitchen window and my bed, bath, and dressing room are on the side towards them so they can see the lights. Also – no door knobs, all levers; a wheelchair can go into my shower; the washer and drier are hidden in the master bathroom with a chute from the upstairs bath; the garage floor is sloped so there is no step to climb; the stairs to the upper bedrooms and bath are extra wide so a chair lift can be installed if needed later; the space under the stairs is reinforced to be a tornado shelter; I bought an electric-start generator because I’m not strong enough to fire one up with a pull cord; and I have a lovely big studio with six north windows. The doggie door is in my bedroom so the girls can be isolated when clients come – they have a big fenced yard, and can come in and get a drink from the bowl by my bathroom.
From Anne Flaster Loeb (email@example.com): Jim and I gave up our home 12 years ago and moved into a much smaller condo. It is easy when you make the decision jointly. One major thought – don’t save things for the children. They rarely want anything. Especially those beautiful things that need care, silver polish, etc. Lightening the load and not counting on “things” is freeing and rather emancipating. I ditched the boxes and boxes of pictures – I know sacrilegious, but no one wanted them and I no longer need pictures to keep those dear in my heart. I was asked what I would grab when there was a fire or earthquake – my answer, just Jim. All else is unimportant. And I really mean it.
From Sandy Smith (SandyBuell@POBox.com): I know that I should downsize. I can’t. I started all the gardens and planted some trees, how can I leave them? And what would my dog do. i call him Mr. energy and he runs all over the place. I wouldn’t have any trouble getting rid of furniture, etc. My children and grandchildren are happy to help with that. But I’m going to wait awhile. I figure pulling weeds, raking leaves and cutting flowers is not bad exercise. That keeps me limber enough to hit a golf ball now and then. One thing about waiting to abandon your house, you have friends that have done that ahead of you and you can check where they are now living to see if that is somewhere you want to be.
From Nancy Reynolds Bartlitt (NBARTLIT@aol.com): I haven’t had to face moving into a retirement community yet (cross-fingers). But, after years of living in the same house we have done some renovations and more to be done for an enjoyable next decade in this house (determined by ability to drive). Here in Los Alamos, we live in large acreage among tall pinon trees. Fire is always a worry. Have trouble letting go of “stuff” as my house is my office of historic research. I have boxes of books and papers–not all which can be scanned. Need a library separate from the house to organize all these items. One tip is recommended: scan all photos into a computer and be backed up by some “in the clouds” software, such as Carbonite, in case of fire or theft of the machine.
From Peggy McNeil Boyer (firstname.lastname@example.org): I am right in the midst of trying to decide what to do and where to go. As I am a widow and have no children, the big question is where to go? I prefer to stay away from retirement homes, but only want to make one move. Already a contradiction. So I have made a decision and would appreciate hearing about how others made a decision.
From Caroline Brady (email@example.com): I myself am actively looking for a very nice place that has assisted living and continuing care. I have no family…but I DO have Parkinson’s Disease ! So! Who is going to push my wheelchair.?? I would love ideas from other people.As for getting rid of “stuff”. I have given my grandfathers French etching collection to the Smith Museum. They were happy to receive ALL of it (75) because the poorer or lesser known works can be used for teaching purposes while not good enough to be hung. Coincidentally, Our classmate PriscillaCunninham gave Smith Museum a wing, called the Cunningham Print Center where they will be housed.
I discovered that my best friend’s initials are that same as my grandmothers. CHB. So she has the silver and monogrammed linens to pass on to her daughters-in-law. I couldn’t bear the thought of giving the silver to a thrift shop where someone might melt it down. I have given other family artifacts to a small community museum in Indiana, home of my father’s family. They were thrilled. No one else would want those things.