Jane Russo Sheehan
600 S Main St
Mansfield, MA 02048
Thank all of you who responded to my emails and mailing. It’s so great to catch up with so many classmates. Some of you spoke of how fast the years have gone by, and it is so true. That makes it so important to catch up with old friends and get to know better those we never had enough chance to know well. Some emails have changed from those the alumnae office had listed and a few classmates have moved, so I did miss contacting some of you.
Laura Radford Goley and her husband of Forest, VA, celebrated Christmas in the Chicago area with daughter Middy. Laura sent clippings about the passing of Donna Reese Godwin and said they’re considering a memorial donation to SB’s library renovation. They attended a meeting in which the architects explained much about the plans to bring the building into the new technology while retaining the beauty of the original architecture.
I received an email from Willy Stump, Louise Warfield Stump’s son, saying that Louise passed away 12/31/12. The Baltimore Sun obituary said she was still riding and foxhunting into her 70’s. Louise roomed with me at one of our SBC reunions, and I’m so happy that I had time to get reacquainted with her then.
Helen Graves Stahmann has a new address, the result of the Post Office closing: PO Box 19060, Newtown, Toowooamba, Queensland 4350, Australia. She and Dean, her husband of 60 years, still have their farm with trees and cattle, but also spend time at their beach house overlooking the ocean, “one of the world’s beauty spots.” They have 3 daughters who live in the US, but visit frequently.
Harriet “Binji” Thayer Elder, still in Nashville, finds this stage of life delightful. She lives near a beautiful park and a great YMCA, visits often with her daughter and her husband at their lake home, and has a grandson (8) and college-age grandchildren.
Mary Barcus Hunter spent Christmas in Ft. worth with her son’s family. They were surprised by having a white Christmas.
Benita Phinizy Johnson, Atlanta, visited Nancy Hamel Clark in Greensboro during the Christmas season. Benita works 3 days a week at a retirement home and plays a lot of bridge. Nancy writes that she had a hip replacement in Aug., and now is able to exercise 6 days a week. Husband Blake is in Memory Care, but still has his sense of humor. Daughter Ann is Deputy Superintendent of Schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, does lots of travel and speeches. Son Jim is a free-lance writer, is working on several books. While at Vanderbilt he started Andy Griffith Re-run Watchers Club, now 25,000 members! Ann and Nancy spent 2 days at Grove Park Inn just before Christmas before returning home to celebrate with Blake.
Ann Whittingham Smith and Grace Wallace Brown met Pauline Wells Bolton (up from Houston) in NYC for a visit. Ann brought her Jr. Year in France album so that they could look back on those “good old days.”
Pat Beech Thompson sold their beloved Riga Farm in Millerton, NY, where they celebrated 25 years of holidays. Unfortunately a neighbor who didn’t like the buyer added to their angst by suing the town, buyer, and zoning board, thereby complicating the sale. Now she’s looking forward to the next excitement!
From the Alumnae Office comes the sad news that Ruth Edgerton Boyer passed away 12/25/12.
Pat Layne Winks sends some news she heard: Benita Phinizy Johnson spent Thanksgiving in New Orleans with her daughter. Ann Hoagland Kelsey’s granddaughter Hayley is a freshman at Lafayette Coll., PA. Trudy Kelley Morron visited England in Oct., “a last hurrah.” She has a great-granddaughter (7). Pat and her companion Henry are making plans for travel in 2013.
Joanne Holbrook Patton is at last comfortably ensconced in her new house, just down the road, but over the town line, from the Patton homestead, which has been gifted to the Town of Hamilton, MA. She has a lovely view of the farm fields. Joanie, Betsy Wilder Cady, and I attended a Sweet Briar Day Brunch in Boston together. Betsy is back and forth between her Brookline apartment and her gorgeous Westport home. City for culture, especially in winter, rest of the year the rural and seaside beauty of Westport. And she does a lot of traveling, too. Joaniewas kind enough to share some of the news from her SBC Christmas mail: Ginger Dreyfus Karren Lerner sent a great picture of her with her new husband Harold Lerner and their blended family. Let’s join in wishing them love, health and happiness! Josie Sibold says the most exciting thing she’s been doing is feeding the birds. But she’s off to Washington, DC. Pat Layne Winks has a granddaughter at Brandeis. Josephine Sharp Blassvaer caught us up with her life since leaving SBC. Studied fashion illustration in Paris, returned home only to join the CIA and be sent back to Paris, where she met her first husband, also CIA. Home again, 3 children in 7 years, 2nd son born while stationed in Viet Nam. Next Laos. She had a daughter who attended SBC for a while, but sadly died after having to have two kidney transplants and other health issues. Following a divorce, she was on a cruise where she met a young Norwegian officer. They were married for “30 glorious years” until he died of cancer 3 years ago. Early in 2012 her nice 150-year-old house caught fire in the middle of the night. She’s been living in a trailer for 10 months while her new house is being built. She looks forward to being settled again. Jo is a resilient lady! Jackie Razook Chamandy sent New Year’s greetings—said she was planning to go to a SB gathering in Wilton, CT. Janis Thomas Zeanah sent greetings from Birmingham. Polly Plumb DeButts missed Reunion because she was being treated for cancer. She was feeling better and planned to be back on her job with the Tour Companies by Sept. Ellen Galey Scher has moved from Miami to West Palm Beach to be closer to her children.
Elizabeth Stamp sends her greetings to all from her new home, Green Gates Nursing Care Home, 2 Hernes Road, Oxford OX27AW, United Kingdom 01865888500. “My health has declined, but I’m now settled in this excellent place. It was 2 large Victorian houses, joined around its own enclosed garden, which the birds and the squirrels love.”
Leila Booth Morris is also living in a retirement residence: Spring Harbor, Columbus, GA. In May, son Jim married Kelly, an opthamologist. Besides his 2 grown-up sons, he now has added Christopher (12) and Caroline (11) to the family. Leila’s grandson, Austin Green, has been being treated for a 9 lb. cancerous tumor on his liver, and now is showing improvement. She also now has a great-grandchild, Caroline Green. Last June the Booth family had a family reunion at Smith Mt. Lake, VA, with 51 in attendance from all over the country.
Ann Hoagland Kelsey in Vero Beach, FL, is still on the go! She has traveled with the Athena Club, an art museum group, to Rome and more recently to Boston where she met Joanie Holbrook Patton at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. This year they go to Philadelphia. She’s busy taking care of her husband and keeping up with 5 grandchildren. She had Joanie’sson Ben down to give a presentation on his new book, “Growing Up Patton.” She also belongs to the same garden club as Charlotte Snead Stifel and sees her occasionally. She hopes to see Polly Plumb DeButts at a wedding in NC this spring.
Cynthia Balch Barnes, Westmoreland, NY, writes that the days go by rapidly and she doesn’t feel that she accomplishes much. Not so! She keeps the house and farm going and spends a lot of time volunteering, 2-3 days a week as a docent at a museum, and one day helping to prepare and serve meals at a homeless shelter. She has 7 children “all employed and 12 grandchildren. So life goes on—boy did we get old. Frankly, I like old. You can get away with a lot…” Amen to that!
Martha Yost Ridenour, whom I hadn’t heard from since 1948, wrote a great letter from Pikesville, KY. Recently the History Channel aired “The Hatfields and the McCoys.” Martha’s grandfather, Perry A. Cline, who was Sheriff of Pikesville County during that period, and related to both the Hatfields and the McCoys, was inaccurately depicted in the film, much to his descendants chagrin. A great influx of curious tourists have invaded Pikesville, adding to its economy, but invasive of Martha’s privacy. After his stint as sheriff, Perry A. Cline became a State Representative. He was responsible for a bill to educate the black population and build schools for them. A school in Pikesville is named for him. Martha was invited to speak at an event at the U of Pikesville in which her grandfather was to be honored by inducting him into their Education Hall of Fame. A week before her speech, Martha,forgetting she was 82, climbed onto a stone bench to clean the pillars in the front of her ancestral home. You guessed it, she slipped and fell, sustaining a concussion, and requiring 18 sutures in the back of her head. She appeared on TV accepting the award with 2 black eyes and, I quote her,”looking like a 100-year-old woman.” I can’t help but wonder if she was the last victim of the Hatfields and McCoys, but I sure am glad she has recovered.