Winter 2018 Smith Alumnae Quarterly
PATRICIA (PATTI) BRAWER reports that she turned 73 and has decided to redefine what that number means. She is still working at Morgan Stanley and continues to find it exciting to share 51 years of experience with the younger, millennial and “digital” population of new hires. (It also feels good to know her energy exceeds theirs!) After her sister died six years ago, Patti “inherited” her sister’s daughter as her own, as well as two wonderful grandchildren; she visits them as often as possible. Patti enjoyed a recent visit to Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, where she tried adventuresome new experiences, including an “incredibly difficult” high ropes challenge course.
ELLEN ROOP FISHER moved to a continuing care retirement community in Fairfield, CA, in 2017. She is adjusting to living in a 2,000-square-foot house with an attached garage after living in a huge house on the Hayward Fault. She says the move was a good one overall. Unfortunately, in Jan. ’18 her annual mammogram was abnormal, and she was diagnosed as having invasive ductal carcinoma of the left breast. It was diagnosed early and had not spread to the lymph nodes. After a lumpectomy she had aggressive treatment—chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy—and is optimistic about a good outcome. Ellen has been surprised by how many of her friends have experienced breast cancer without her knowing about it, and imagines the same is true within the Smith community.
JANICE (JAN) REED McNEILL, an enthusiastic traveler, reports that 2018 was a fabulous travel year. She and her husband went on a four-month world cruise on Holland America’s Amsterdam, checking off bucket list items of seeing Angkor Wat and taking a four-day safari in Kruger National Park. She loved the experience of being in a community of travelers for four months. Unfortunately, they found out near the end of the trip that their eldest son had been diagnosed with a serious illness, so they immediately returned to San Diego to get him proper care. He was doing well as of July ’18, and Janice and her husband have signed up for another world cruise in 2020.
Finally, ANN GORDON sends a note reminding us of the importance of women’s voting rights: “With 2020 and the centennial of woman’s suffrage on the horizon, visions of retirement disappear when the history of women’s voting rights is your thing. Busier than ever! Keep an eye out for events in your state and in federal agencies like the National Archives. And remember, voting rights are still not guaranteed to anyone.”
Fall 2018 Smith Alumnae Quarterly
SUSAN DUNN published her 13th book earlier this year. Titled A Blueprint for War: FDR and the Hundred Days that Mobilized America (Yale University Press), the book is an analysis of FDR’s foreign policy during the critical period between Dec. ’40 and March ’41.
SUZANNE PERKINS MAT reports that the University of California, Berkeley, Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive recently purchased Phosphene, an acrylic spray painting that is one in a series of spray paintings she created in her Berkeley studio in the 1970s. The work was recently on view in the Way Bay 2 exhibition at the museum. Suzanne is currently working on a book, Radiant Circles, about these paintings, which were influenced by Josef Albers, as well as Elliot Offner, her art professor at Smith. “In my paintings, interactions of colors give a hint of immaterial phenomena,” she says.
Summer 2018 Smith Alumnae Quarterly
ELIZABETH YANGINSKI VON PIER writes that she has gone way beyond her comfort zone in retirement and, as a result, it has been one of the most rewarding times of her life. She majored in math at Smith and following graduation worked with numbers in the areas of finance, accounting and business research and analysis. Elizabeth says she chose her coursework carefully so that she did not have to do a lot of writing assignments because she did not feel that writing was her strong suit. She admired the writing of her friend CONSTANCE (CONNIE) ZACK, who was an English major. Now, she finds herself writing, and getting compliments from Connie. Since retiring five years ago, Elizabeth has been traveling worldwide. When she returns from her trips, she writes articles about the wonderful places she visited. She has been published more than 30 times in various travel publications, including the travel section of the Los Angeles Times. Last year she wrote her first book, Where to Find Peace & Quiet in London, and self-published it using the publishing arm of Amazon. Elizabeth reports that the project was very satisfying, and the reception to her book has been wonderful. So, retirement has been an adventure and a journey into formerly fearful territory.
GAIL KERN PASTER reports that she and “the wonderful guy” in her life went to Myanmar in Oct. ‘17 for two weeks. They chose Myanmar as their destination in spring 2017 before the genocide against the Rohingyas had started, but by October going there seemed morally complicated. They decided to talk to the people they met in Myanmar to see how they felt about their government’s actions and get to know the culture better. Gail writes that the trip was a fascinating experience—because it was hard to reconcile the gentleness of the Buddhists they met with the ruthlessness of the slaughter. Their guides entirely blamed the military regime—which they hate—and absolved Aung San Sui Kyi, whom they call “the Lady” and revere. Gail writes: “I’d never been to a deeply Buddhist society: we visited many pagodas and temples in Yangon, Mandalay, and archeological zone of Bagan. We witnessed daily acts of piety and worship of the Buddha and the complete integration of the Buddha into their lives. Homes have altars with tiny Buddhas to whom they give flowers and other gifts. So, the sense of contradiction remained even as we came to like the people of Myanmar. They are a quite beautiful people, especially the children. … I am very glad we went, and so it is very painful to keep reading about the depredations of the government.”
DIANA GOULD WHITE retired as executive director of LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago) on July1’17. In September, she and ZENA DORFMAN ZUMETA hosted a mini-reunion in Chicago for class members who lived in Baldwin House. Eleven people came, from as far away as Moscow, New Brunswick and California. Diana says she loves retirement, which for her includes travel, some volunteer work, practicing the piano, cooking as many Ottolenghi recipes as she can and “reading up a storm” (see mini-reunion photo).
PAT FULKERSON LARRABEE also is enjoying retirement and is busy with one volunteer activity after another. Last summer, she and her husband travelled to Bulgaria, Greece, Germany and the Netherlands. In October, Pat went on a photo shoot to the Blue Ridge Mountains with her sister, J.KAY FULKERSON HUEY ’64. Pat’s big news is that she has published a book about the last 50 years in the history of her church, which celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2015. The book is titled, Honor the Past: A History of the First Congregational Church of Greenwich, 1965-2015. Pat became the church historian in 2011, and says learning the world of self-publishing was quite an experience.
In January, LAURIE MIDDLETON BOHLKE posted a thoughtful statement on the Smith College Class of 1966 Facebook page. In case you didn’t see it, it reads, in part: “I am an ordinary American and want the world to know that the vast majority of us believe in the universal values of freedom and equality for all, paying our blessings forward by helping others in need, deep love for family and friends and working hard at our jobs to support our families.” The full statement can be found on Facebook.
Our class president, SARAH CROSS MILLS, shares some important information about a variety of ways to access news from Smith:
“Do you get news from Smith, our class or your club by email? Would you like to be better informed about campus, class and local happenings? Many of you at one time indicated that you didn’t want to receive any emails from Smith and may have forgotten making that request. Now, you can select what categories of email you would like to get. You can also indicate your interest in getting news from more than one club. Our class and many clubs have their newsletters sent by Smith rather than by an individual maintaining an independent mailing list, so keeping your contact information updated in the online alumnae community is the best way to keep in touch with Smith. Here’s how: Go to the Office of Alumnae Relations website at www.alumnae.smith.edu and click on the ‘Online Alumnae Community’ in the upper right-hand corner of the home page. Log in if you’ve signed in previously, or sign up with your username and password. Once logged in, click on ‘Profile’ on the top blue line. Update your contact information here. Then click on ‘Preferences’ (same page) to select a number of news choices. At the very top, it will show your primary club. Below that, you can select additional clubs from the list. At the very bottom, you can select what categories of email you want to opt out of, if any. Be sure to click ‘Save All’ when you are finished. You can change any of this at any time in the future.”