The following story was featured in a recent Alumnae Association mailing on planned giving:
When Diane Hashim Glynn '68 read a recent Mount Holyoke publication from the Office of Advancement, she was so inspired that she penned her own story to share with other alumnae.
I have credited Mount Holyoke, all my life, with my success and happiness. From the beginning of my career, I didn't question my ability to figure things out, to survive — and to thrive.
I was in the first class of February Freshmen. I remember my interview: I had just read Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and I was very excited about it. My paperback copy was filled with notes in the margins. I suspect my enthusiasm for it helped secure my acceptance to Mount Holyoke.
My favorite classes were in philosophy, sociology and a beginning course in education that I took because everyone was talking about how great the professor was, John Fraser. I loved an interdisciplinary course on the study of time. I was the only sociology major in that class — everyone else was a physics major. When I ran into that professor years later and he remembered my paper, imagine how thrilled I was.
Since I loved books, I decided to begin a career in book publishing, which I did for 15 years. I quickly rose to leadership positions. My last position was as vice president, director of advertising, publicity, promotion and public relations. I served as president or chair of several trade associations and even founded one of them. I was on the board of the American Book Awards.
I wrote a book with my husband that took me as a guest to The Phil Donahue Show and Good Morning America — twice each — and The Mike Douglas Show, plus countless other radio and television shows. It was a great experience for a book publicist and handy when it came to coaching authors about promoting their books.
Eventually I quit my corporate executive job and opened my own public relations company for 30 years — to the day, it turned out! What gives someone the confidence to leave a very well paying job to launch their own business? To hire staff, acquire clients and pay health insurance, worker's comp, office space rent, corporate taxes, employee taxes? Somehow you have to believe in yourself.
And I credit Mount Holyoke for that. I absorbed every lesson from my professors and our president that we were "uncommon women." I believed I could figure out how to do things. I believed that I would succeed. I like people and I love helping them fulfill their dreams. It is my vocation and my mission. But being nice doesn't mean people can walk over you or that you can be taken advantage of. People who mistake my niceness for weakness learn otherwise very quickly.
And I am not unique. I believe most of us who graduate from Mount Holyoke also have this experience. We are nice. We are strong. We are often very independent and we are also team players. We are uncommon women.
Would I have had this life without Mount Holyoke? I don't believe so. I am so very grateful that Mount Holyoke saw something in that shy young woman and gave her a place in that February class.
Of course Mount Holyoke is in my will. I would not have had this life without Mount Holyoke College.
By Diane Hashim Glynn '68
FROM ELIZABETH REEKE
The following is verbatim from a letter sent to Eloise, the class scribe. She has given her permission to post the contents in their entirety on our website.
"Most importantly, I am grateful for your [Eloise's] time and effort to keep all of our class thoughtfully and sensitively informed over these years. Through much darkness, I have been engaged only at a distance, but very appreciative.
"Perhaps I might update one thing that has been important to me always-continuing to write, and my musical interest. Several new poems were published last spring in "The Poetry Porch." If of interest, go to www.poetryporch.com, open, go to the Contents page/Morning Classes (name of the new issue) scroll down to "Including" and click on my name. As I was once a featured poet, it opens to a short bio plus a list of my poems they have published. The two newest poems are listed first (for all that darkness, you might read "Resurrection").
"I also hope MHC realizes some alums can't do much physically/financially now, but the "Quarterly" is so appreciated and I have instructed a gift to be made in the future. Hope I may meet you!"
Eloise's reply to Elizabeth elicited a second letter:
[I commented on the photo on the first note card, of an Irish harp fixed in the ground before a rocky stream in the woods. That photo can be found at www.Stockdell.com; click on "Shop" then "Harp and Art."] She replied:
"That photo in fact was close to my heart...I almost crave the stillness and beauty of the forest, of simple melodies, the sound of the harp...I looked where you are on my atlas-I have friends not so far, Millbrook and Accord in the Hudson Valley...I wonder if I could find a way...
"I'm not sure how many class members would be interested enough to look at poetry but it is my way, I suppose, of trying to touch another with open and honest heart...I think of all the difficulties and pain of our times...you might look at "Song for the Earth" from after [sic.] a short visit in the Hudson Valley...You have given so much, and much time-you have buoyed my spirit...whatever guided me to write to you, I am deeply grateful.
"Yes, I was very close to Judy (Cerveny) Lynch [Eloise noted that she thought Elizabeth and Judy were friends; Eloise was as well] until I moved to Arizona-and then was in touch through her friend Regina through[out] her [Judy's] illness.
"Thank you for your time and writing. Of course I am happy with whatever you might share..."
FROM MARTHA COWEN CUTTS
"Some of us who became friends freshman year when we were in North and South Rocky had such a good time at our 50th reunion that we decided to get together this fall [September 2019]. I invited folks to come to Washington, DC [where Martha lives] so last week, the following were here for three days: Ginny Lockwood Brewer (from Bainbridge, Washington); Linda Ackerman (from San Francisco, California); Christine (Chris) Beeble Telischak, from Belvedere, California; Linda Renasco Cadigan, from DeSoto, Texas; Linda Holton, from West Barnstable, Massachusetts; and Toni Sailer Eisenhauer, from Hollywood, Florida and Ocean City, New Jersey.
Susan Clark Iverson, who lives in DC, joined us for one day of outings and hosted two classmates at her home. Jamie Gardner Vernon was unable to join us as she was in Europe [at the time].
We were blessed with spectacularly beautiful weather, which only added to the fun and allowed us to enjoy sitting in [my][ garden for the cocktail hour. We visited Washington National Cathedral, Glenstone Museum, a unique indoor and outdoor contemporary art museum, the Kreeger Museum, the National Gallery of Art and its sculpture garden and the Botanic Garden.
We had so much fun that we are thinking of getting together in Santa Fe in the spring of 2021!"
The reuners are shown in the accompanying photo.
Back row: Ginny Lockwood Brewer; Linda Renasco Cadigan; Linda Ackerman; and Toni Sailer Eisenhauer. Front row: Martha Cowen Cutts; Susan Clark Iverson; Christine Beeble Telischak; and Linda Holton.
From Karen Wilbur:
Karen Wilbur and Dorie Cranshaw '73 spent a month in London in the summer of 2019. Carol Heinsius Wire and Susan Yeshilian Manaras visited them. Posing in front of the Victoria & Albert Museum are Carol and Susan (foreground) and Dorie and Karen. Susan Freedman '89 also visited Karen and Dorie (no photo).
From Linda Cadigan Reansco:
Linda Cadigan Renasco provided this photo of four of the five '68 classmates who attended the Alumnae Association conference on campus in September 2019. L to R: Katharine Sigda Bartholomaus, Linda, Carolyn Dorais and Susan Clark Iverson. Ann Belanger had to leave before all five could sit together.
The first time Nancie Fimbel '68 stepped onto campus, she knew she belonged. "This is where I wanted to be," she says. And since that very first moment, she has been engaged in and inspired by the work of Mount Holyoke.
Fimbel's career shaped her understanding of the needs of a modern institution of higher education as well as the personal rewards of philanthropy. During many years working in higher education, including as a professor and administrator at San Jose State University, she watched the changes that technology brought to all aspects of campus life.
"When I was a freshman," she says, "we brought with us a clock and maybe a radio, and electric typewriters were just coming out ... but that was it."
Fimbel notes that today's caliber of students demand greater technological innovation, and she is impressed with the ways Mount Holyoke has responded to the changing needs of the campus population. She cites in particular the College's MEDIAL Project renovations to Pratt Hall that created digital music laboratories where students can explore the nexus between music and technology.
Annual July 4th greetings from Martha & Steve Cutts
This spring we attended a lecture by Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak. He spoke about the development of the game of Scrabble in the 1950s and about today's phenomenon of competitive Scrabble. Who knew that there are national - even international - Scrabble championships? This is a pursuit by people with huge memories; not only do these competitors memorize dictionaries full of obscure six and seven letter words, they keep track of all the letters which have been played in a game and calculate which letters are left over to be grabbed and how many points they are potentially worth, like card-counters at a Vegas blackjack table. Anyway . . .
Daunted yet inspired, we came home, found the aging Scrabble box, and started into some hard-nosed competition of our own. We offer play-by-play and commentary of the result.
Martha opened with "TRAIT"- not immensely clever, nor did it generate many points. It has been a trait of ours since the summer of 1987 to send July 4 greetings to friends and family far and wide. There are still some of you on the mailing list who received that first annual letter with a photo of the two of us in red shorts and white t-shirts standing in the snow, an attempt to parody the popular family-on-summer-vacation Christmas card photo.
[ 12 points -- including the Double Letter Score for the "T" at the end and Double Word Score as the first play]
It was the perfect (though unintended) set-up. Steve followed by adding "P", "O", and "R" to "TRAIT". A Washington Latin benefactor wanted to honor Martha's leadership at the school (now three years in the past) by commissioning an oil portrait. A wonderful young woman was selected as the artist, photographs were taken, and Martha emerged from the canvas (standing with her high school Latin book in front of one of the school's many inspirational panels - in this case the all-so apt Frederick Douglass quotation "Once you learn to read, you will forever be free."). Consensus has it that the painter nicely caught Martha's spirit. The finished masterpiece was revealed on March 4. (Martha kept referring morbidly to the afternoon event as "the viewing".)
[ 10 points - Martha 12; Steve 10 ]
Martha built on the "R" of "PORTRAIT" to score (again weakly) with "REUNION". This was the forty-fifth anniversary of Steve's graduation from Wesleyan, so we both headed to Connecticut at the end of May. In particular there was a trio of his classmates that we got to hang out with in Middletown, plus we expanded the fun by seeing (and staying with) along the way a slew of friends from other moments in our lives in New Haven, Ivoryton, and Stonington.
[ Double Letter Scores for the "E" and "O" so 9 points - Martha 21; Steve 10 ]
The "P" in "PORTRAIT" was the perfect thing for Steve to utilize in order to build "OPEN MICS". Having retired twelve months ago, he has returned to his songwriting, investing a lot of energy and time. He just finished up his twelfth new song of that year (with some studio recordings in the works for this summer), and he got back to performing by getting out to some three dozen open mic nights. Unfortunately, most of the venues were way out in the suburbs of D.C. requiring sitting in rush-hour traffic. (Thank goodness it was always easier and quicker on the drive home.) Besides relearning songs, his great challenge was to calm the nerves, an issue even for seasoned performers but especially an issue for Steve as he really had not played in public for about twelve years. The nerves are somewhat calmer.
[ Woo! 28 points (because it included a Double Word Score) plus 50 points ("bingo") for having emptied his tray! -- Martha 21; Steve 88 ]
Martha cleverly used both the "M" in "OPEN MIC" and the "N" in "REUNION" to create "GERMAN". This is the first of several eventual references in this game to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute which has become big in our lives. Martha has taken several semesters of the advanced German course to refresh her language skills. (Well, refresh might be too strong a word. She kept getting 100% on her homework! What a surprise, huh?) Between the two of us we've taken classes this year about, among other things, the intelligence of octopuses (yes! not octopi!), weather forecasting, and the theory of relativity.
[ 9 points ("Not too bad." complimented Steve encouragingly.) - Martha 30; Steve 88 ]
Emboldened by his recent success, Steve extended out from the "S" in "OPEN MICS" with "SELLS," a reminder that Martha continues earning the big bucks selling books at various events for our beloved local independent book store Politics & Prose. From her vantage point of sitting behind the table ready to serve the reading public, she got to hear, among many authors, John Kerry, Scott Kelly, Gary Trudeau, and Sonya Sotomayor.
[ 10 points with the Double Word Score - Martha 30; Steve 98 ]
Martha noticed the "A" in "PORTRAIT" and built the word "BOARD". We told you in last year's letter that the leadership of OLLI spotted Martha right away and recruited her to serve on the organization's board of directors. This is a 1,500-member outfit; even with a full-time staff of five, the "school" requires a lot of volunteer input. Practically even before she could offer herself up for election, the powers-that-be had her penciled in to serve as the vice chair ...
[ 18 points with Triple Letter Scores under the "B" and "D" - Martha 48, Steve 98 ]
. . . and so Steve followed immediately by stealing all those points for "BOARD" by tacking on "CHAIR". Did you see the puffs of white smoke? As of July 1, Martha was elected board chair for the next twelve months.
[ 20 points - Martha 48; Steve 118 ]
Martha capitalized on that "R" at the end of "BOARD CHAIR" to add "FRANNIE" - who, in all truth should be at the center of the Scrabble board! Our Favorite-Dog-In-The-Whole-World turned three this spring. She gets better and better at chasing the ball, is a terrific hiker of Rock Creek Park's trails, and can extricate the stuffing from just about any dog toy ever invented.
[ 33 points (Way to go, Martha!) - Martha 81; Steve 118 ]
It was slim-pickin's for Steve this time. All he could do was to add a "U" to the "A" in "CHAIR". Our version of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is located at nearby American University. Frequently we walk the mile from home to the building that OLLI is housed in for classes or, in Martha's case, for meetings.
[ 2 points (Not a misprint!) -- Martha 81; Steve 120]
Martha was able to play "K", "N", and "I" to form "KNIT" at the end of "PORTRAIT". She has been knitting up a storm: Teddy bears for newborns, afghans, scarves, sweaters, and one oddly-shaped stocking cap. Last month she even co-taught an OLLI course for beginner knitters.
[ 8 points - Martha 89; Steve 120 ]
Steve was struggling, but you knew this acronym had to show up eventually. He got rid of an "O" and two "L"s down in that lower right corner to score big with "OLLI".
[ With a Double Word Score (thank goodness!), 8 points - Martha 89; Steve 128 ]
Then Martha exhaled deeply and pounced by adding to "KNIT" "T", "I", and "G" plus a blank to serve as an "N" to produce "KNITTING".
[ Another Double Word Score, so 26 points - Martha 115; Steve 128 ]
Steve looked at his tray and claimed (maybe truthfully, maybe not) that he really could play absolutely nothing and would use his turn to discard and choose some new letters.
Martha seized the chance to honor the Nationals, her beloved local baseball team (which, she would like to point out, has finally been playing up to its potential in the last several weeks.) She spelled "NATS" to the right of "KNITTING."
[ 6 points with the Triple Letter Score - Martha 121; Steve 128 ]
At this point our aging brains were exhausted, and our competitive spirits had cooled. Steve graciously conceded that the score might as well be tied. Cooperatively, we plucked up another "U" and stuck it in there between the "H" in "BOARDCHAIR" and the "G" in "KNITTING" (OK, not according to Hoyle) to form "HUG" . . . which is what we send to you: a big, joint Fourth of July hug.
We remain nearly apoplectic about the Embarrassment-in-Chief. (Winking and joking with Putin? Really? Tanks on parade on the National Mall? Is that necessary?) One of Steve's most recent songs is titled "Countin' The Days Blues." We are indeed counting the days and fervently hope that in early November of next year the electorate will vote for more political sanity. As well, we remain deeply concerned about the rapid degeneration of Mother Earth.
"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln . . . " It's summer, the garden is booming with blooming, and we are healthy, so best wishes to all of you!
"MARTHA" = 11 points, "STEVE" = 8 points
If you are at all curious about what Steve is countin' down the days to, feel free to check out a hastily assembled recording of "Countin' The Days Blues" http://theprimecutts.com/countin_the_days_blues/ posted on his The Prime Cutts website. It's financially free and, potentially, emotionally freeing.
Calling all makers - and doers
If the root of maker culture is curiosity, then curiosity is the basic thread running through her life, said Fimbel (right, with Sonya Stephens), a retired college professor and administrator.
"I hope the Fimbel Lab will inspire others to be continuously curious," she said. "To give students even more tools than they've had before. To enable them to feel the joy of making something. Making an idea become tangible. Solving a problem however small. Mastering the world they live in."
The College's new Maker Space is named after Nancie L. Fimbel '68, who made a $1 million anchor donation for the $3.5 million lab.
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