Ali Thompson
[email protected]                                                                             

Dear 1959ers,
Many thanks to those of you who sent in your news. We had a good response. Keep in mind that our 55th reunion is May 30-June 1, 2014. We will need volunteers to pull this off. If you plan to attend, let Elizabeth Johnston Lipscomb know if you can help in any way. Elizabeth’s email is [email protected].

Address changes:
Gay Hart Gaines: 2 North Breakers Row, N-35, Palm Beach, FL 33480. Home phone: (561) 512-2291. Email: [email protected]
Deborah Dunning: 72 Prospect St., Providence, RI, 02906. Phone: 919-824-5509. Email: [email protected]

Erna Arnold Westwig: We are on the ME coast enjoying the weather. Our big thing this fall is a sailing trip on a 4-master clipper ship called the “Star Flyer,” 1st in the Mediterranean and then across the South Atlantic, where we will position ourselves for a total eclipse of the sun before continuing to Barbados. There will be lots of astronomical talks and also insights into Columbus’ sailing since we follow his route from the Canary Islands. I just hope I can walk on land after 23 days on a sailboat! This is Ralph’s way of coping with selling our sailboat this May after 24 yrs. We are fine; the kids are fine, as are the 6 grands. Hope all of you are, too.
Betsy Colwill Wiegers: In May when in NYC I gathered several of classmates for a mini-reunion lunch—Alice Cary Brown, Jackie Hekma Stone, Di Doscher Spurdle and Claire Devener. A fine time was had by all—except by me: I was in the hospital with pneumonia! “The girls” did keep me posted with many laughter-filled cell phone calls during the event.
Tricia Coxe Ware: Tabb Thornton Farinholt and I spent a fun few days this summer in Charleston, SC, with Ellen Pringle Read ’60 and her husband Mayo.
Di Doscher Spurdle: I had lunch in May in NYC with Alice Cary Farmer Brown, Jackie Hekma Stone and Clair Devener. The major missing person is Betsy Colwill Wiegers, organizer and gatherer. The only acceptable excuse was that she was in the hospital with pneumonia. She is now slowly getting her strength back. Claire was celebrating the 25th anniversary issue of the magazine she started—Anguilla Life. Jackie is now retired, plays bridge and enjoys life. Alice Cary has been up to her ears decorating and renovating 1st in Vienna, then continually in FL. We didn’t speak about NY. I continue to spend my time in NYC and California every chance I get. A bit of a spread there. This summer at home is different but amazing: everyone has tried to recover and resume their lives after the storm. Last fall I enjoyed having many dinners, seeing plays and various exhibits while Judy Welton Sargent was in town. Since then she has been recovering from a bad auto accident in Austin, which put her in a wheelchair for many months. Fortunately her daughters are there and have been a huge support as well as her grandson, Jean Paul, who has provided the light, fun and humor.
Alice Cary Farmer Brown: I had dinner with Lizora Yonce here on Fishers Island, where we have been coming for many summers with our families. Lizora wins golf tournaments with great ease and is a star at the bridge table. Of course she misses her wonderful Sam, as we all do. I enjoyed a LONG and hilarious lunch this past spring with a group of classmates Betsy Weigers organized. Jackie Hekma and her husband celebrated their 50th anniversary on a cruise on the Danube in Sept. We were in Vienna and had them to our apartment as we did when Susan Taylor Montague came a few years ago. Everyone is welcome to come!
Penny Fisher Duncklee: Not much new here. John churning out some neat new books and I have been painting covers for them. We are a good team. People can get them on Amazon or from him directly. If from him, he can sign them. I still have not had to mow the lawn this year—advantage of no rain. Aug. might be different because it has rained twice in the last week.
Meriwether Hagerty Rumrill: Our pre-revolution family farm occupies a lot of my time, besides wonderful grandchildren. I recently had a USDA grant to eradicate 16 acres of ailanthus trees. Google this nasty thing and if you see it, kill it! It was the tree in “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn”—it grew out of a crack in the sidewalk but is not a sweet little thing. I am glad I can do something for the environment and encourage my clients to be mindful. I had a big family celebration with all my kids and grandkids (except those from SD—too far) for the christening of my next-to-youngest granddaughter, Katharine Juliana. Her Hungarian mother speaks only Hungarian to her, so she will be a lucky bilingual—or more.
Gay Hart Gaines: I turned 75 in Feb., but was recovering from a shoulder replacement at the time, so right now I am celebrating with most of my family; we are 16 in all, cruising the Baltic on the beautiful Silver Whisper. We left Copenhagen after a lovely 2-day visit and are headed to Helsinki, then St. Petersburg for 3 days, then to Tallinn, Estonia, and ending up in Stockholm for 3 days. We are having a ball; all the children love it! I retire from the board of Mt. Vernon at the end of the year and feel my legacy will help in a big way to build a library for our 1st and greatest president, which will open 9/ 26 and 9/27. Very exciting. Our eldest granddaughter (28) is getting married in Oct. and our youngest (4 1/2) is with us on this trip! I remember very well when I was 4, so I so hope she will remember some of this trip.
Mary Ballou Handy Williams: I am sorry to have been such a poor correspondent, but I am not good with the computer. We spent a lovely week with my daughter Cricket in Nantucket in Aug. She is moving from New Canaan, CT. If anyone lives there, let us know. Otherwise, we have spent a lot of time in Mathews Co., VA, on the Piankatank River—about 1 1/2 hours from Richmond. With 8 children and 16 grandchildren, we are busy! I also took 2 grandchildren to Stratford Hall (home of Robert E. Lee) camp for 2 days. I recommend it highly as it is most informative of life then. It is not all about the Civil War. If interested, contact me. All states have a representative.
Elizabeth Johnston Lipscomb: The high points of the year for Lloyd and me have been times with our family. Some of us were together for Father’s Day in Jamestown, RI, and we had a wonderful late July trip to Ontario with our 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law and 4 grandchildren for Lloyd’s family reunion. We treasure those rare occasions when we can all be together. I hope that many of you are planning to return to SBC next spring for our 55th reunion from May 30-June 1! We’ll be in touch with more details soon.
Jini Jones Vail: I have some news, 2 items: I have begun to blog, Revolutionary Rochambeau! What else? It is never too late. I have always been a late bloomer. I am posting on the1st and 15th each month. If you want to be notified, please send your email address to: [email protected]. It is not only about history, although that is the main thrust, but for example, on 8/28, in time to prepare for the Labor Day weekend, I posted a recipe for a crust-less, almost sugarless, no-bake, mixed-berry revolutionary tart. Join the fun! Post your comments so I know you are out there! Our group of 6 is getting together for annual fun week, this time at Sandy Sylvia’s daughter’s summer home on the beach at Buzzard’s Bay 9/22-27. Hopefully all of us, Erna Westwig, Mary Davis, Polly Taylor, Sarah Moore, Sandy and I will gather for late-night Quiddler on the porch! Still finding fun in life at 76! I am not sure if I will be at Reunion. I am doing as much travel as I can for book talks. Last Oct. I was in VA for a double dose of fun. Met my SBC roomies in Williamsburg for 5 days and then went on to book talks in Yorktown, VA. We all do what we can even as we age. What? I hate to admit it, but I do get tired sometimes. Don’t tell anyone. I swim laps 2-3 times/wk. at my daughter’s pool in Washington, CT, and walk 3 times/wk. with a friend.
Isa Mary Lowe Ziegler (written in March): The best news is that so many of us are active and enjoying life. Life without Alvin is still transitioning. “Busy” is the formula of the day. There are never enough hours—friends and family, incl. a 10-day-old grandson (am I the oldest of us who is still doing this?) definitely fill the days. Plus I still enjoy my San Francisco playground. And I am just off to Delray Beach, my other playground.
Virginia MacKethan Kitchin: We went to Sandbridge this summer for our annual weeklong family vacation at our beach cottage. It’s not too different from last year except that we have added a wife (last year’s girlfriend) and baby boy for Robeson, which is exciting. The cottage is now too small to hold us all, so we parked an RV in the driveway to take the overflow. They live in Charlottesville, Memphis and Portland.
Sorrel Mackall McElroy: We are still having fun restoring our old house and 1770s cabin on our MD farm. We thought some of our 13 grands would love to come paint the old red barns. Guess what? They still stand unpainted! Jobs and camps won out. We will go down to MS in Sept. I’ve never been to that part of the U.S.
Sally Martin Kohrs: I am sure no one remembers me as I left my junior yr. and married. I am taking my family to Bald Head Island, NC, in Aug. for a big family trip. Five of us come from Sudbury, MA, and 3 of us come from Phoenix. We live in Sedona, 2 hours north of Phoenix, and my son and daughter-in-law live about 2 hours south of Phoenix in Aarivaipa Canyon. Anyone live out this way? We golf, work out and hike here. We have the monsoon season for about 10 wks., which brings lots of water to our state. Big storms roll up every day; sometimes they hit us, sometimes they go somewhere else. The storms are so beautiful! We all grieve over the 19 hotshot firefighters who were killed in the forest fire.
Nita Mixson Cox: Nothing exciting going on here in south GA except for lots of rain! Had visits from a grandson from Texas, and one from NYC. They’re really scattered. I guess the most activity is babysitting our oldest granddaughter’s puppy while she finishes her 4th yr. in medical school. It will be good to have a doctor in the family as we get older and more decrepit.
Fleming Parker Rutledge: Betsy Smith White and I met at the Montreat Conference Center (NC), where I preached the sermon one Sunday. It was a wonderful occasion for me. Betsy has changed less than anyone else I can think of in our class! I have finished my 600+ page book about the crucifixion of Christ. I took one break with Dick and we went to the Italian Lake District, where it rained nonstop for a week. It was gorgeous anyway.
Ann Pegram Howington: Dottie Moore Lawson had some of us to her marvelous place at the beach; now she and Tom (months later) are coming in here for a wedding so she, Tom, Sally Beattie Sinkler, Betsy Brawner Pittman, another pal and I will have supper this week. They don’t realize it’s going to be something like spaghetti, not Julia Child. We had the best trip. I took one son (Jay), his wife and 2 teenagers on a cruise from Istanbul to Rome. It was a crowded, hot tour, but the boat was orderly and calm and cool (Crystal Symphony, I recommend it) and so were my darlings. Robert liked best: the food, the cats everywhere and Mt. Etna. It was the perfect time, age and venue. And if you ever can, it was a marvelous thing to do. I hope to see Dottie again at Sea Island next week; they have a great condo that we visited last spring (we rent).
Betsy Brawner Pittman
and friends went to Santa Fe opera last week, but maybe I should let other folks report on their moves, not try to play Walter Winchell. I just visited my daughter in Cohasset—a genteel blast, and they loved HI last month.
Virginia Ramsey Crawford: I was at my condo in Chautauqua, NY, for most of the summer. My dear husband died in 2007 and I moved to a life care facility in Redding, CT. It is very beautiful, and best of all there are many stimulating trips and activities. I continue to paint watercolors and have had a couple of shows. Last Jan. I had my 2nd laminectomy and spinal fusion (1st was in 2004). So far all is well. The big family news is that I am now a great-grandmother to a beautiful girl (1) named Mercy. All the grandchildren are out of college now except for 1, who is getting an advanced degree in nursing.
Barbara Sampson Borsch: I spent 1 day in Oahu visiting with my cousin Caitilin Embree and then returned to Maui. In the ’70s I used to go occasionally to Maui to visit my cousin Lou Campbell, but she has died. This time I went with a friend who had an “all expenses (well, not quite) paid” trip to Lahaina, incl. airfare and hotel for a wk. She’d never been to HI and couldn’t find any other of our friends to go. It has been the spring of flying as Fred and I went off to England when I returned from the Maui expedition. We still have dear friends there from our time living there; 2 of them have died, so an annual visit is in order—if we can get ourselves up and off to the airport. That seems to be more work than it used to be. Add to that going to FL to visit eldest son, wife and child and to NY to see middle son and family. All of this has resulted in serious visits to the physical therapist. Fred and I still spend our time in Philadelphia and at our home in Los Angeles.
Mary Blair Scott Valentine: We were in Anguilla. I missed seeing Claire Devener celebrating 54 yrs. Grandson Scott Philips is going to W&L in the fall; so is Betsy Seaman’s grandson George. 
Ann Smith Heist: It seems like there are so many of us in FL in various spots that we ought to be able to find a central town to meet in for lunch this fall or spring. Maybe this idea will catch. Otherwise, we had 2 lovely mos. in Italy, working our way up to Hamburg to catch the Queen Mary home. Shortly thereafter, we helped our daughter relocate in Ridgefield, CT. She has a horseback rider among her brood so maybe Sweet Briar will get a look in a few yrs. It’s hard to get my CT Yankees below the Mason Dixon line these days.
Betsy Smith White: Fleming and I had a great visit when she was preaching at Montreat on 8/4. Bill and I drove over from Brevard, NC, where we have a home, and loved hearing her preach to a congregation of about 500. The Presbyterians love Fleming because she is such an outstanding Biblical scholar, and they knew that she comes to Kanuga (the Episcopal retreat for NC and SC not far from Montreat) every summer with her family. My news is just about grandchildren. Oldest granddaughter, Bess Dickens, has graduated from Davidson and is living in NY! She is finishing an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and works full time for Penguin Books. Fleming and Dick took Bess to dinner in June with their granddaughter Dabney, who is 1 year ahead of Bess and works for Sotheby’s. Grandson Al Dickens is a junior and on the golf team at East Carolina U.; granddaughter Kate Willingham has just entered Coll. of Charleston as a freshman. Our other 3 grands, Amelia Willingham, Bobby Black and Betsy Black, are all in high school. When you have 3 daughters, all of your grandchildren have different last names! Bill and I are fine. He is slowing down a bit at 83, but still the best! Be sure that Mary Blair lets you know about the great scholarship and award won by her grandson Scott Philips! The award and scholarship are in memory of a wonderful Carolina Panthers player (Sam Mills) who was loved by all and died of cancer some years ago. Scott was honored at the first Panthers’ game 2 wks. ago on the field at halftime—and all of this on TV. 
Val Stoddard Loring: Steve and I enjoyed April in Paris to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Then, as my present to him for his 80th birthday, we enjoyed a 10-day cruise to study the Civil War sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, MA. The trip started in Richmond, so I was able to spend a wonderful day with Dede Mayer before embarking on the ship. We both are dealing with downsizing and the questions of when and where to move in order to live those “golden years” to the fullest! I had a visit in June with Margie Lippard, director of major and planned giving. She is revving up interest in 55th-reunion gifts!
Kathy Tyler Sheldon: We had a very busy summer, just returned from our son’s 2nd wedding in our capital, St. John’s, with lots of family here. We had very good weather and enjoyed our sailing and good seafood, lobster, crab, shrimp and—of course—the codfish!
Judy Welton Sargent: In Feb. a HUGE Ford F-150 pickup pulled out in front of me on a busy fast road. I tried to stop, but ended up colliding with him. Fortunately, the other driver was not injured, but my car was totaled and the tibia plateau of my left leg was fractured, requiring surgery, 5 days in the hospital, 2 wks. in rehab, 8 wks. with no weight bearing, in home PT followed by outpatient PT, wheelchair to walker to cane. I was just beginning to walk well on a cane and walking in the house without assistance when I developed tendinitis and tarsal tunnel syndrome in the ankle, OUCH! I am now in a boot and using a cane. Oh, yes, the day after the surgery, my oxygen levels started falling, and they discovered 2 pulmonary embolisms in my right lung. I am taking Coumadin, but I hope to stop taking it by the end of this month. First and foremost, I am grateful to be alive and all of this should soon be behind me. I have been living with my daughter Catherine and her family since 3/1. The renovation of my house should be complete in early Sep., and I am very eager to get moved and settled. I’m sure my kids will be glad, too. I think I will love it, and it is near both of my girls. I really enjoy Austin and see Ann Turnbull Lowry frequently. She often invites me to sub in her bridge foursome, which is great fun. Susan, Catherine, Tom, John Paul (5) and I flew to Seattle to go on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate my 75th birthday. We were looking forward to the trip AND getting out of the heat! In Seattle I met Jane Headstreet ’60 at dinner. Although I did not know her at SBC, we found lots of mutual friends from her class and ours.
Ali Wood Thompson: It has been a quiet 6 mos. here but all will change shortly beginning in Sept. In the middle of next month, I take off for the Senior Hula Festival in Kona, where our group will compete against about 20 other groups. We do this every year and it is always fun. Later, I will fly to Chestertown, MD, for a mini-reunion and up to ME to visit my daughter for about 5 days. In Oct., Travis and I will go to Tanzania, where we will fly into 3 small camps to observe the wonderful animals. We love safaris!