Mini-Reunions before 50th Reunion

A series of mini-reunions were held across the country in the year leading up to our 50th

NORTHERN CA: The first Mini Reunion was held on September 8th hosted by Julie Conger in Sonoma, CA. The attendees included: Ann Freeman, Debbie Levine, Bev Huckman, Mary-Kay Gamel, Susan Weisberg, Susan Lampman Hill, Carole Hall Whitehill, Susana Charm, Sylvia Cohen Mason, Jan Van der Water Hufford, Wendy Caesar, Kate Funk, Laura Sternberg, Lorinda Knight, and Julie.  Here is what Julie Conger wrote:

Thoughts On The Northern California Mini Reunion

On the afternoon of September 8, 2012, fourteen 1963 classmates gathered for a mini-reunion in the warm Sonoma sun. We carpooled from San Francisco, Berkeley and the central valley of California; what we thought would be just coffee and lunch turned into an afternoon that we all have described as “unforgettable”.

After laughing over nametags with our graduation photos and with hugs of recognition, we swiftly settled into a “story circle” and each told of her life. We talked of marriages and divorces, graduate degree struggles, career achievements and disappointments, and transitions in locations and directions of our lives. We learned of shared experiences in the South, some growing up there and some participating in the Civil Rights Movement.

We shared experiences abroad: Peace Corps volunteer work, European travel and living in foreign lands. We told of our lives today, with our emphasis on using the fortune of our education and skills to better the world around us and enjoying ourselves while doing it. We learned that Kate’s organic farmer son provided the grass-fed chickens for the highly-rated restaurant run by Mary-Kay’s son. And, despite painful personal memories, we discovered that many of us maintained fondness, indeed even close friendship, with past loves and partners, ensuring continuity and tranquility in our lives and the lives of our children.

My own thoughts on the afternoon can be summarized as wonder and delight at the gathering of so many women of accomplishment, intelligence and grace. The short lunch stretched to late afternoon and we were reluctant to break up as a group, promising another similar reunion soon. And this reconnection, which brought such joy into our lives for one sunny Sonoma afternoon, reinforced a commitment to attend our 50th Reunion next May in Northampton.


NEW YORK CITY: This Mini Reunion was a dinner hosted by Susan Weshler Rose Monday, October 15 at her home on E. 88th Street.  These were the attendees:   Peggy Kerry, Linda Arking, Judy Ayelott, Toni Goodale, Carole Hodgdon Goodfriend, Julie Horner, Barbara Massey, Linda Rose, Estelle Rosen, Clair Stein Rosenfeld, Elizabeth Rosenthal, Susan August Rubinstein, Talia (Thelma) Schenkel, Lucy Schmolka, Sarah O’Bryan Snow, Gillian Sorenson, Bickley Smith Townsend (visiting from CA). Susan Rose said warmth and support filled the room and that it was a safe space to talk about our varied lives at Smith.  Below are photos taken during the dinner…

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.  On October 26, 2013 the Northern California Smith ’63 group had a post 50th mini-reunion at Kate Funk’s spectacular mid-century modern house filled with handsome mid-century furniture in the Berkeley Hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay.  Attending were Jane Stein Viator, Jan Vander Poel Hubbard, Julie Conger, Carole Whitehill, Sylvia Mason, Debbie Browning LeVeen, Ann Freeman, Susan Lampman Hill, Kate Earle Funk, and Eleanor Cook Nolan (a fortuitous visitor from Seale). Kate provided a convivial atmosphere and delicious dishes.  There was much good conversation.  We all recommend that these mini reunions continue.  In this age of cell phones that we have so embraced, not a one of us took a picture…not even a selfie.  Next time we will!


WASHINGTON, DC METRO AREA: On Monday, October 22, Abigail Bayles Wiebenson hosted a dinner in her Washington, DC home.  Attendees included: Mary Oaks Skinner Smith, Ginnie Dann Luster, Sally Quinn, Allison Taylor Freehling, Jane Sullivan Reese, Barbara Selfridge, Diana Clark, Joan Brosius Corbett, Claire Goldberg Moses, Anne Sherk Morrison, Ann Sheffield, Rebecca Kushnir Cofman, Claire McIlvain, Tasmin Griffeth Taylor, and Abigail.  Everyone fell into instant conversation with people talking about their lives.  Sally Quinn talked about the religion discussion for our upcoming reunion and how this has evolved in her professional life.  Dinner was served in two rooms of Abigail’s home and everyone seemed to enjoy their time immensely.  The curious thing was how few knew one another before they came and how that did not deter conversation one iota. People were pretty clear about either coming or not coming back to reunion.  More than a few of these women have been in the foreign service…often true in the DC area.  Several stayed on for the Presidential debate and one even stayed for the night.

NOTE: I(Ellen) was unable to get all the DC pictures to work with this web page so several are missing.  They will be available at Reunion in the Reunion Headquarters.

Jane Colman LaMotte held a luncheon on Saturday, November 10th at her home in Devon, PA.  The attendees included: Barbara Watson Rawls, Anne Weinstein Cantor, Elizabeth Griffith-Smith, Toni Trobe Kestenbaum, Betsy Ball Hamilton, and Caroline Weisblood Meline. Several of the guests sent e-mails thanking Jane and saying such things as: Smith affirming…wonderful gathering…terrific food and conversation…it reminded me of what was special about going to Smith…I hope to attend our 50th Reunion now, even though I’ve only been to one other reunion( the 20th)…a beautiful fall day, delicious food, an intimate, delightful setting, and an opportunity to renew friendships as well as initiate some new ones.  Here is the group picture:


Boston Area Mini ReunionGinny Pitkin Bride hosted a luncheon on Saturday, November 10th at her Dedham, MA home. Sixteen attended and everyone had a great time reconnecting and engaging in interesting conversations. List of attendees: Pat Rathbone, Madelyn Armstrong, Sue Burrowes Stason, Peggy Wacks, Gillian Shaw, Weezie Johnson, Cathy Melhorn, Di Phillips, Penny Randolph, Georgia Pugh, Jane Phipps, Caroline Dixwell Cabot, Jennifer Lloyd Rogers, Nancy Rosenberry Hoit, Kathy Theobald, and Ginny Bride!  Pictures are below:


NORTHERN NEW JERSEY MINI REUNIONSusan Brown Hilgendorff hosted a mini-reunion for the Northern New Jersey classmates on Saturday, November 15th at her Madison, NJ home.  Here is who attended shown in the picture below: Front Row: Pam Gosner, Jane McCarthy Rosenblum, Sarah O’Bryan Snow; Back Row: Cindy Barlow MacGonagle, Julie Bowers Coale, Sue Brown Hilgendorff, Pat Herbert Hilgendorff, Joy Judelson Rodino, Dena Fern Lowenbach, Mary Trexler Funsch.


FAIRFIELD, CT AND WESTCHESTER, NY MINI REUNION: Gale Barton Hartch and Libby Carroll Cryer co-hosted what they are pleased to report as a very successful mini-reunion luncheon on Saturday, November 28th held at Gale’s home in Greenwich. Attendees included the following: Gale Barton Hartch, Libby Carroll Cryer, Betsy Robbins Rosenthal, Judy Shenker Gediman, Bunny Morris Clark, Jacqui Bishop, Ginny Condon, Gayle Jones Baring, Jacqui Engel Irwin, Pam Sheeley Niner, Kay Ferguson Maxwell, Liz Raisbeck, Judy Agor Aydelotte, Mary Schager Waldron, and Susan Bagg Todd.

Most of us did not know one another in our undergraduate days, but there was never a dull moment during our very pleasant lunch.  We shared stories about where we have been and where we are now, both figuratively and literally. We talked about travel experiences, discussed professions, religion, politics, and so much more.

Libby commented that she was struck by how diverse our classmates have become: ” I pondered that, in June 1963, we very well might not have been this diverse, politically, philosophically, personally.  We were new college graduates all and products of the sixties all.  Today, however, we run the gamut…liberal and conservative, agnostic and of deep faith, married and single, parents and not, active and more sedentary.  While sharing a more or less common Smith experience, we have now become a rainbow coalition.  Looking ahead, it is most likely we will become even more individually distinct in the years remaining.  We are independent, open minded, free spirited women, so this is no surprise.”

Most everyone who attended the luncheon was planning to come back to Smith in May 2013!