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Happy 4th of July from Martha and Steve
We began several different drafts of the 2017 edition of our annual July 4th letter to send to you this year. For example, we had one letter written by Frannie. "Frannie?" you ask. If you were not aware, we took the BIG step into dog stewardship this spring by adopting a ten-month-old pup. Can't you imagine a cute little dog voice retelling the story of Steve capitulating to Martha's long-held desire to have a dog? A family from Steve's school was fostering Frannie (from a rescue organization in Nashville), circulated her photograph, and . . .
" . . . it was love at first sight - for all of us. I have been as gentle a puppy as I can be because I realized right away that these well-meaning folk were not experienced in dog care. I have had just a couple of little liquid accidents in the house. And I do attract a lot of attention because . . . well, I'm just going to say it . . . I'm pretty cute!" They feted my first birthday on May 12. (Please make note of that should you want to send a card next year.) They have adapted very nicely to my routines and my needs. I take them walking a lot; they're getting better about bracing for the Squirrel Jerk, but they really have perfected the Poop Scoop Stoop. Frankly, I could have finished writing this much faster, but Steve kept interrupting me wanting to play Tug-of-War and Fetch-The-Ball. I believe I have found my calling in life (aside from maintaining my cute-icity): my job is to reduce doggie toys, socks, and canvas bags to saliva-soaked shreds; I'm really quite good at it (AND - for now -- I leave the furniture unchewed.)
"Because Martha is now finishing up her first twelve months of retirement, she and I get to spend a lot of time together. I LOVE going with her around 7:30 every morning to a park a couple of blocks away from my house because I get to chase and wrestle with any number of doggie buddies, and I get to practice the herding moves that are coded deep within my DNA. Steve used to take me on a short walk around six in the morning before he went to his school. He says that he is going to teach the girls at least one more year (even though Alyce, his teaching partner of nine years, has moved to Georgia.) I hope that he isn't putting off retiring in order to avoid staying home with me.
"Now, this was before I came, of course, but I know that they went to the Midwest last summer - Indianapolis (including time with the Dwyers), Chicago, Madison (to see Hollis Rudiger), Sturgeon Bay (and the Door Peninsula, Wisconsin), and Milwaukee. They saw a Brewers game there, but more importantly, while in Chicago they went to the shrine that is Wrigley Field - pre-World Series victory, of course. (It's back to Maine this summer with Peter, Nancy, and Katie . . . except I don't think I'm invited.) In December they drove to North Carolina for Christmas-With-The-Cowens in Wilmington and then to Charlotte. There they spent time with Martha Venter and Rob Mills AND reunited with their former Norwalk neighbors Bill and Mary Beth Morgan (The Morgans of Morgan Avenue!). Before arriving home from that trip, they stopped to see Steve's Aunt Barbara in Charlottesville."
Getting tired of the cutsie imagined animal voice? We had a different letter all ready to go:
"Happy Fourth of July!
I am Ryan Zimmerman, trusty (and handsome) first baseman for the Washington Nationals. I am privileged to write Martha Cutts's 2017 friends-and-family summer greetings as she is definitely my biggest fan.
When she isn't avidly listening to our games on the radio or perched in front of a TV broadcast (and she misses very few pitches of very few games), she keeps reading, reading, reading (no surprise, right?); she even joined a book group for the first time ever. She vocally manages most games from her lounge chair as she peers over her knitting; Teddy bears, lions, and scarves have been the projects of choice this year. (Does she watch while she knits? Or does she knit while she watches?) From what I've heard about her years as a school administrator, I'll bet she'd make a great general manager. Don't mention that I said this, but I'll bet she would make some blockbuster trades and straighten out our lame bullpen in no time.
She has done a little bit of consulting, counseling a young school head who is trying to keep a DC charter school afloat. She does visit good old Washington Latin once in a while - going to musical performances and throwing parties for retiring friends -- but she has tried to keep an appropriate distance (even though she and the new head of school are on very good terms.) I'm very proud to say that Martha joined the board of trustees of an organization called LearnServe International which encourages entrepreneurship in DC middle and high school students; it didn't take long for the organization to elect her as secretary. She has returned to being a student by taking courses through the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (classes that are held a fifteen-minute walk away in an American University building.) She's brushed up on her German, read Aristotle, and - best of all to my mind - studied the baseball stories of Ring Lardner. Finally, and definitely most importantly, she managed the equivalent of winning the pennant by landing her long-sought-after job at Politics and Prose Bookstore; Martha goes off once a week or so to sell books at author events around town that the store supports. I take a lot of groundballs and throws at first base, but I don't stay as busy as Martha does.
Steve has added a couple of new recordings to his website ThePrimeCutts.com which you should explore. I'm thinking about using one of his songs as my walk-up song. He volunteered once a week this year at a literacy center - all part of thinking about what he might do if and when he retires.
Yes, that also was a little too precious (and, just to be clear, the illustrious Mr. Zimmerman has never really met Martha. We made that up!) Then the scared-to-death-by-the-state-of-current-events side of us conjured up a more serious letter:
We heard Senator Elizabeth Warren speak this winter. We remember her saying "If you're not worried, you aren't paying attention." We are worried. There is so much about the past twelve months that we could remark on, but let's leave it at this for now:
We were never convinced that we needed to make America great again. To the degree that we were a great nation, we still are. What we really need to do is make America talk again. Our civil discourse these days is filled with such acrimony and suspicion. Knowing what is really going on - knowing what the TRUTH is! - has become unnecessarily difficult.
All of you and we could have a spirited but reasonable conversation about public policies and/or about the current (lack of) leadership of our politicians. But we know that we all could do that respectfully.
Let's hope that over the next twelve months the tone of public discussion will return to having more accuracy, more civility, and more common sense!
But that's probably way too somber for the classic July 4 letter. So, forget all those letters that we're not going to send. We'll let you get back to biting into your burger, lighting a sparkler, or kicking back in a lounge chair the way Frannie does.
By our count, five of you reading this letter came through major surgery in the past twelve months with flying colors. First, of course, we are delighted that those procedures succeeded so well. Secondly, you remind us that a bit of sinusitis or bug bites, while annoying, are problems that we can cope with. (It's what Steve's song "Slap Me When I Whine" is all about; if you haven't heard that one, give it a listen at http://theprimecutts.com/slap_me_when_i_whine/ .)
This is our twenty-fifth anniversary of moving into 4817 46th Street. The lighting of the afternoon sun on the summer solstice reminded us why we love living here!
Finally, to reveal our partisan stripes just a little, here we are (with our friend Valerie) at the Women's March on January 21st. (Yes, Mr. Trump: the crowd on Saturday really was bigger than the crowd on Friday!)
Steve was so impressed by the atmosphere of the day that he wrote a song about the history of protests in the U.S. Here's the direct link to the audio file: http://theprimecutts.com/time_again_for_marching
(There's also his song about immigrants: http://theprimecutts.com/many_into_one/ .)
And a final final thought: Beware the covfefe !
July 4, 2017
I'm at the lake where a series of rainy days has given way to a crisp breeze and blue sky; welcome since bug season has been "ferocious." The lake has warmed to 72 and we swim most days. Nancy Holt Stowell and I see each other on Mondays at a beloved yoga class and a fair number of other events.
I spent a lot of time in the last year in Salt Lake City where daughter Joanna, class of 2000, and her husband Sean, had fraternal twin boys, Marshall and Tucker, on April 1,2016. Their lives are non-stop. We also spend time in Pennsylvania, where son Jacob's children are Elena, 13 and Egan, 8. It's fortunate for us that son Jonathan is also in Kutztown [PA] for the moment. Though my children have lived in nice places to be, I envy those who have grandchildren closer by.
We've just vacationed in Arizona where [husband] Richard's niece is stationed and returned to Maine with her children, Brayden, 11, and Sophia, 3. This time it's only for summer vacation. Just now, I'm working to convince Sophia that rest hour means staying in her room.
Retirement seems to still challenge the 24 hr. day. When was there time for paying jobs?
Susan Shearer reports on an amazing ten-day Irish knitting adventure she had this spring, joining 18 other knitters from the US, Canada, and UK. "We started in Dublin where we met Kieran Foley, a truly creative knitter in his use of both color and pattern; then on to Galway where we experimented with traditional Aran stitches before spending two days with more classes on Innisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands. Our final stop in Killarney gave us a class with Carol Feller, a young designer who is reinterpreting the traditional patterns in modern garments. Spending 10 days with a group who love knitting and sharing tips on yarns and techniques was inspirational. We enjoyed each others' company so much we're planning to meet in Pittsburgh in the fall for a reunion and more knitting!" Susan adds that she is looking forward with great anticipation to our reunion next May.
Our family is gathering to celebrate Beatrice Milligan Marvel's 100th year this July in Albuquerque, NM. Her actual birthday is in October but family could attend more easily in the summer. She is slowing down some but is alert and able to enjoy company and attending church. Mom lives with me and is still fairly independent.
A note from Betsy's mom: Her years at Mt. Holyoke were happy times. She graduated in 1938 from Mt. Holyoke. She remembers fondly being the lead in many of the dramatic plays. She volunteered by going into town(Holyoke) and teaching a boy violin. She worked in the library and also sang in the chorus.
The leis Betsy and her mom are wearing were a gift last Christmas from Betsy's youngest brother who had recently moved to Honolulu. Three of the four years I was at MHC, my parents were in Hawaii for my dad's final tour in the Army. I got to visit a couple times for about two weeks at the end of my summer job. It was a lovely place.
Leslie Luxemburg and I are already planning next year's get-together so we can come to our 50th reunion together as former roommates. But in the meantime, I went in May 2017 to my other 50th reunion, that comes from my Junior Year Abroad, at the University of Warwick in the UK..
Here's me, with my university scarf, amidst all the building of what has become--50 years later-- England's third most respected university, after Oxford and Cambridge. I turned 20 at Warwick, and a memorable year it was! How the heck did it come to be 50 years ago????
Looking forward to seeing everyone in about a year's time.
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the death of our classmate Carolyn Flowers Wilson on June 24, 2017.
1968 - 2018 Class Connections Reception
On the afternoon of March 29th the 50th Reunion Gift Team members hosted a meet and greet reception for members on the Class of 2018 in the living room of Willits-Hallowell Center. Linda Cadigan dressed up in reunion regalia and showed off parade costume accessories that our class had used in past reunions. The 2018 Class Officers gave a slide presentation that compared student life during our 4 years on campus and theirs. The students had gathered information from the archives and asked us to confirm such things as wearing skirts to dinner, customs associated with 'gracious living', rules about male visitors above the first floor, etc. They were also interested in whether we ever participated in social issue protests. We explained the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam era environment and oh yes, we were engaged in the causes of our decade. An enjoyable time was had by all. We look forward to seeing these talented young women in May 2018 at their graduation and our 50th Reunion.
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the death of our last living Class Honorary, Professor Tadanori Yamashita, on April 5, 2017.
Shower for Karen Kelly Taggart
Holly Vincent Bean sends this news:
As the 50th Reunion Class Gift Team prepared to gather at the college at the end of March, we received a special email from Holly Hannah Lewis. She contacted those of us planning to come to campus for the meeting, all, that is, except Karen Kelly Taggart. Holly learned that Karen's home had a fire earlier in the winter. She lost most of the contents of her home including those irreplaceable things that accumulate over the years. With great sympathy and kindness, Holly organized us to shower Karen when we got together with things to help her recover. Karen said she especially missed having recipes for comfort food. And we knew she probably lost some Mt Holyoke memorabilia as well.
We gathered in the living room of Willits-Hallowell the first night of our meeting and held a shower! Karen told us all the story of the fire and how she and her family are rebuilding. She opened gifts of cookbooks, individual recipes and a new collection of Mount Holyoke reunion swag. (The class of 1968 has had a lot of reunions, so there were lots of possibilities.) Though all of us empathize with Karen's loss, we had fun trying to help her restock her recipe collection and her Mt. Holyoke mementoes. We're never too old for a shower. Here are a few photos.
Thank you, Holly Lewis!!
Susie (Kreiner) Hochenberg Shares News of Her Husband William's Passing
Susie (Kreiner) Hochenberg writes that she and her dear husband William spent every day together at Mount Sinai Hospital where he was hospitalized after open heart surgery. After four months, William passed away in peace with his family around him. On April 19, Susie performed their favorite Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel songs in the hospital's large atrium facing Fifth Avenue. Members of the Recanati Miller Transplantation Institute staff joined in as did their son Malcolm with his wife Jenny as well as his brother Dr. Richard Hochenberg and his wife Flora. The kidney worked right up to the end, and William was able to donate his eyes, saving two people's sight.
This is part of an ongoing story. In July 2016 Susie wrote:
As the Volunteer of the Year for The Recanati Miller Transplantation Institute, Mount Sinai (N.Y.) Hospital, Susie is showing patients how to do watercolors. Plans are in the works to give patients sets of her cards featuring flowers, beach scenes from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and photographs with a sea shell. Since the 2013 transplant operation, her husband William is doing fine with Susie's kidney and is busy with his law practice. Susie also volunteers at the American Museum of Natural History welcoming visitors from around the world. It is wonderful to have our son Malcolm and his wife Jenny only four blocks away on Manhattan's Upper West Side. They are both corporate attorneys and met at Stanford Law School.
In September 2016 Susie shared:
Susan (Susie) Kreiner Hochenberg's notable volunteer career at Mount Sinai (N.Y.) Hospital continues to shine. After being featured in the Winter 2016 Quarterly following the donation of a kidney to her husband William in 2013, she was recognized as Volunteer of the Year by the Recananti/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai at their biannual Living Donation Celebration in April, 2016. Her story was first in line in our Fall 2016 class notes; it recounted her teaching patients to do watercolors.
Another honor: Susie and her husband were recognized by Time-Warner Cable as New Yorkers of the Week in a Time-Warner Cable program in October 2016. The taped portion highlighted the wonderful art program for transplant patients at Mount Sinai and showed Susie playing show tunes and Chopin on the baby grand in the hospital's lobby. The live segment was filmed in the T-W studio and focused on the need for more living kidney donors. Susie encourages anyone interested in kidney donation to contact the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute (212.659.8024). She is most appreciative of all the kind words she has received from Mount Holyoke alumnae.
- Susie also plays piano in the Guggenheim Museum lobby at Mount Sinai as a Hospital Music Ambassador.
- Susie is selling her watercolor gift cards at the Palmetto Dunes General Store on Hilton Head Island, with all proceeds going to the Recanati Miller Transplantation Institute.
Farewell, Sugar Maple, by Martha Raver Carlson
Martha Carlson wants to know if she can see climate change in her backyard. Her study begins in her own forest on the south face of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Sugar producers, skeptical of science and sure that climate change can't be real, join her search and share their keen observations of the change they see in maple trees, sap and syrup.
Carlson's journey takes us to classrooms and laboratories at the University of New Hampshire where scientists teach her the facts of climate change and the scientific method for asking her question.
Carlson peeks inside sugar maple cells, learns how trees turn sunlight into sugar, and watches as her trees respond to drought, changing seasons, forest fire smoke, heat waves and cold so deep one tree explodes. She coaxes scientists to focus their tools on the sugar maple, to help her examine the trees with satellite imagery, scanning electron microscopes, and high performance liquid chromatography.
Carlson asks intriguing questions. What makes the sap run up a tree? How come the maples don't blow up when they break water molecules apart to make sugar? And what is putting black goo on the syrup filters in sugar houses all across maple country? Carlson doesn't offer any easy answers. Her writing and photographs are extraordinary.
Dr. Carlson is a member of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association. In 2017, 24 sugar producers are collecting sap for her ongoing study of stress in sugar maples. Carlson lives in Sandwich, NH, with her husband Rudy, Teddy the black Labrador sap retriever, and Phineas the cat, all of whom join this story of science and sugar.
Contact Carlson at email@example.com.
The book is:
10 graphs and images, 30 photos
$9.95 on Amazon.com
Carolyn Dorais tells us that the first event of the March 31-April 1 Ham mini-reunion will be a book talk on campus by Sherry Christie. This talk is open to the general public. Members of the Class of '68 are especially welcome! If you have questions, please e-mail Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the campus calendar:
Friday, March 31, 2 p.m., Dwight 101. Book Talk and Signing by Sherry Christie, author of Roma Amor (roma-amor.com), who will discuss her novel set in Caligula's Rome as well as the process of researching and writing historical fiction. She studied Roman history at Mount Holyoke and began work on an earlier version of Roma Amor as a senior in a writing seminar. In 1968, she won the Phi Beta Kappa Prize for her unfinished novel.
Class of 1968 honors Class of 2018 Junior Show
The Class of 2018 presented "Mary Potter", their Junior Show, on February 17 and 18 in Chapin. Their six panel program contained one panel which said "Wishing the Class of 2018 a Magical Junior Show" complete with a wizard, scepter, twinkling starbursts and "This greeting was sponsored by the Class of 1968," concept by Susan Graham Simpson our connections coordinator. Our class provided cake and beverages beforehand for the cast/crew of 25-30. They were most appreciative of our efforts. The cake (yellow with white frosting, red and blue decorations, including balloons) said "Kudos 2018's Jr. Show your 1968 "sisters" The performance was recorded and will be posted somewhere accessible. Details TBA.
Submitted by our Class "facilitator" for Junior Show Connections Cindy White Morrell
"Confessions of a Lapsed Classmate"
Like Pat Simon, I always read everyone's quarterly news and Eloise's commentary, but I do not remember ever contributing. My New Year's resolve was to check in with the '68 website and re-connect. Clicking on the site, the first header I focused on was the Celebration of Life for Sally Lemaire! She was one of our troop leaders back in the day and never let us lag. I was stunned and so sad.
Instead of recapping the last 48 years, here is a snap shot of a normal day for me in Weld, Maine. This morning I dragged my intractable spine to a yoga class which is also frequented by Dinny Ogilve Sewall. She is still as limber as a cat. Afterwards I drove 30 minutes to our closest grocery store to restock supplies before the snow/ice storm tomorrow. In the afternoon, my 12 year old black lab accompanied me on a cross-country ski. Making myself useful to society, I started applying for grants for the library. Last year, the library was completely restored and was made energy efficient. There is even an ADA bathroom, however, there is no way for a patron with disabilities to get inside the building to use it. This is the latest project: safer steps, a "reading plaza," and a wheelchair lift. Beside the standard grant writing campaign, the library has started wine tasting fundraisers. The librarian's desk can be turned into a perfectly lovely bar. The winter is long up here so this is the way we raise some cash in the off season. I know you Gals will forgive me. Before typing out this message to you all, I enthusiastically ordered my garden seeds for the spring. If you like beets, stop in and visit me next July.
All my love and see you in 2018!
- Nancy Holt Stowell