Gail R. O’Quin
[email protected]

Great to hear from everyone who responded to my plea for class notes. First, a little housekeeping. Hallie Darby Smith isn’t an Episcopal priest. Also Page Munroe Renger isn’t married to Mac, but is still married to John. Apologies, Ladies.

Mary Lindsay Smith Newsom and Mac are fine. Lindsay writes, “Our lives (Mac’s and mine) seem to be involved with keeping it between the ditches, so to speak. I guess that’s not all bad! No real change here!” Whew. I guess an erroneous class note could have unexpected consequences, but not in this case!

Glory McRae Bowen sent a wonderful Christmas card. This is one busy lady traveling to Viet Nam and Cambodia and later in the year to Belgium and the Netherlands. She’s been to the British Isles with a stop in France. She had Hurricane Isaac issues (my last nemesis on class notes) and had to cancel her trip to Manitoba where she was going to play with the polar bears. After Isaac made her homeless for 2 weeks—my problem was just lack of power; Glory had it all with freezing cold and no power, lines and poles down everywhere—she was back singing in her opera chorus as well as the U. Women’s Chorale and her church choir. Her children seem to be following in her footsteps. Her daughter Glory is involved with theater, traveling to Italy and Singapore. Her son Derick is with the World Bank in Washington, DC, and has just returned from Ghana; son T.J. is finishing his masters in economics in NY. In addition, Glory also managed a visit with Charlotte Moore Williams and husband Bob in VA. Wow is all I can say!

Carroll Randolph Barr is retired and loving every minute of it. No couch potato here! Carroll frequently jumps the train to babysit for her grandchildren in Larchmont, NY, when she can take time out from tennis and golf. Her son Angus is marrying his long time lady friend in Oct. at Carroll and Mike’s home in Powhatten—Carroll will definitely be busy this fall. She and Mike went on a golfing jaunt to Ireland last spring and are scheduled for a ski getaway in Park City in March. BTW, son Angus is the chef at the Hilton in Charlotte, NC, so if you’re in the area, stop in for a visit. If you’re boyfriend shopping for a daughter and/or granddaughter, remember, he’s taken! The Barrs do spend the summer in MI with their 2 sons including their family and fiancée. Carroll was able to visit with Mary Bell and Wayt Timberlake at a UVA basketball game. She reports that they’re great. She also talks to Beth Glaser Isaacs who is very happy living in the Fan with her wonderful husband Ed. Her parting comment says it all: “Enjoying life and our family… hope everyone is well and also content with our passage in life.”

Page Munroe Renger, after correcting me on the husband situation, reports, “After a fabulous trip to China last March, I ventured to South Africa and Zimbabwe in Oct. It was beautiful and the animals spectacular. Spent a lot of time at Myrtle Beach this past summer and am now getting ready for the winter/spring tennis season. Next big trip is to southern Spain in early June. I’m just enjoying my 2 granddaughters, bridge, tennis, reading, walking and a little traveling.” Page, that little traveling sounds like the world tour!

Mary Gillespie Monroe writes that she is teaching anatomy and histology to undergraduates at VCU in Richmond. Mary has joined the ranks of grandparents—Reynold Vake Blaine Martin (3),and Harold Kress Gillespie Martin (1) and Mary Frances Elizabeth Rivera (18 months). Welcome to the club, Mary!

Barb Tillman Kelley is another of our rovers. She took some fabulous trips last year—a Mediterranean cruise with her brother and wife and his 5 kids (and she actually had a fabulous time). Carlton and she then took a cruise through New England and then Canada. Carlton and their youngest Trey just got back from 15 days in Australia and a trek through New Zealand. Barb wasn’t invited, but Carlton did bring her a beautiful opal necklace from New Zealand (he knew he’d better not come home empty-handed)!

Victoria Jones Roper says that she is alive and well and ecstatically retired (from a French bank), is living with her husband George and her son Daniel, who has just returned from a year of rain forest and primate conservation in Nigeria. As she explains, “That’s the short version—better to keep it that way!”

Maria Wiglesworth Hemmings says that there is nothing new for her. She has cut back working to 3 days a week, survived her husband’s (no names) first year of retirement…and she’s finally going to visit her brother in Australia (he has only lived there for 30 years). As Maria laments, “I never thought I’d work after [having] children when I left SBC and have worked all my life except for maternity leaves….did work part time until my youngest was 7 though… and now I can’t stop.” Maria, I understand; many of us echo your sentiments, but what would we do without some focus in life and those dratted deadlines, class notes for example!

Mary Clayton Blackwell has an exciting new career. She was an art history major, but her professional career was started as a licensed professional counselor, specializing in work with children. She found this a grueling profession, and as her own children finished college and moved on, she began to explore her artistic side again. She discovered the art of handmade lace, which dates back many centuries! She describes her process as follows: “learned the rudimentary skills in a local guild, and then became involved with the International Organization of Lacemakers, which put me in touch with lacemakers around the world! I attended lots of workshops, retreats and conventions across the US, and realized that I was sitting next to an un-tapped resource that was begging to be exploited! Around this time, I was contacted by an expert in lace identification who was looking for a home for a collection of lace which had been gathered during the early part of the 20th century. I connected her to Ann Whitley, who was the curator of the Sweet Briar Museum at that time. Long story short, the collection of lace found a new home in the museum at Sweet Briar. I’m sad to say that it isn’t something that the current curator is enthused about, but I have high hopes that it’ll be stored in an archival manner, pending a resurgence in the art.” Clay continues, “In 2007, I decided to exploit the hospitality of the College to host a week-long retreat for lacemakers, with classes held in the Wailes Conference Center, participants housed in the Elston Inn, and meals provided by the catering dept. as well as dining services in Prothro. This event was a huge success, and this year, I’ll be hosting the 7th annual “Lace at Sweet Briar.” Over the past 6 years, teachers have come from Germany, Belgium, CA, as well as other states in the mid-and eastern- parts of the country. Students have also represented a wide range of the country as well as Canada. In short, I think I have helped further the renaissance of Bobbin Lace, and it has happened at Sweet Briar!” Way to go, Clay!

Toni Naren Gates, another of our world travelers, reports: “Bud and I ended 2012 with a bucket list trip to South America (his list, not actually mine). We visited Machu Picchu and Cusco in Peru, hiked up and down all the paths to see the Iguazu waterfalls in Argentina (which he finished off with a swift rafting ride under the falls!) In between these 2 treks, we visited wine country in Chile and Mendoza, Argentina (my bucket list, and absolutely his). In the end Machu Picchu was spectacular and every drop of wine we tasted, great lunches we downed with gulps of wine, and beautiful wineries that awed us architecturally was oh, so worth it! We begin 2013 with the anticipated arrival of a new grandchild in mid-Feb., and we’re taking our oldest grandchild to Disney World for his 8th birthday. As I’m writing this, we are planning a visit to Bordeaux and San Sebastian (with a day at Bilbao) for late spring. OK, not going to lie, there is a wine theme here! My husband has this saying that seems to be the pilot for this stage of our lives….’QTR, or quality time remaining.’ We’re starting to fill up the calendar, so I know fall will bring something. Why not. QTR!”

Judy Schlatter Fogle sends best wishes from Atlanta. Here’s a stay-at-home grandma who loves her situation. She traverses Atlanta weekly helping with her 5 grandsons, who make her very happy and keep her hopping to keep up! All 3 of her children live in the city, one with Resurgens Orthopaedics, one at Quantum Radiology, and one at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Judy reports that she likes all the in-laws quite well and has her sister in town too. Judy’s new philosophy, “After so much travel in my youth, it’s great to have family stay put!”

Stephanie Ewalt Coleman sends news of the engagement of her youngest son Brandon. Ron and she have met the parents and are looking forward to all the festivities that go along with a wedding. Stephanie’s grandchild (20 mos.) adds joy to her life; she’s running everywhere and calling her grandmother by name (which Stephanie did not share). The child is only 20 min. away and 2 of her 3 sons are nearby. What a blessing. Stephanie has had great phone conversations with Lynn Lyle in late summer when she was hiking throughout the West and late fall when she was in upper NY. She comments about Lynn, “She is so active and happy, no grass grows under her feet!”

Betsy Kurtz Argo is now in the Great North Woods of MI. They had a lovely white Christmas—not like the mud she had for 30 years in Jersey, OH. Betsy had 2 cataracts removed in Dec., a great success. She says, “For the first time since I was 10 years old I can see 20/20 without glasses.” She’s taken to buying those $1.98 glasses at the drug store in order to read. (No sympathy Betsy!) The Argos have a new granddaughter —“Our Alex gave birth to little Hazel Seine in May and we drove over to Portland, ME, to meet her at Thanksgiving. Of course she’s adorable.” And Betsy, you can see her now!

Dolly Caballero Garcia continues to enjoy her 8 grandchildren very much. Last summer she went to China and Japan with the eldest. She also continues helping one of her sons with his business. She does still play tennis and bridge for the fun part of her life.

Barbara Annan is living in Madison, WI, and spending time at her cabin up north in Minocqua. She just finished a certificate program in Folklore Studies at UW-Madison. (SBC girls do constantly pursue knowledge.) She writes, “I have become fascinated with cultural studies since I retired from my psychology practice. My current project is with Ganna, a Mongolian mask-maker in VA and Mongolia. Lots of wonderful travel!” We do like to travel too, don’t we, especially in the pursuit of knowledge!

Adele Laslie Kellman is another of our world travelers. She and Paul went to the Yucatan and Palenque to see Mayan ruins (archaeology is a persistent interest of theirs), then went kayaking on the lower Columbia River (supposedly for beginners, but challenging for them), then to Scandinavia and later to Paris and the Dordogne. They spend most of the summer in the Berkshires where they have a home in Great Barrington, MA. They’re planning to sell their primary home in NJ with no real plans as yet. Their daughter Allison is marrying a Brit and the couple will be living in Andorra and Barcelona. (Sounds like the Kellmans will be crossing the ‘pond’ frequently.) Their son is pursuing a career in NYC, so they’re able to see him. Luckily, Adele and Paul are retired, her from employee benefits consulting, him from his own scrap iron and metal business. They should have plenty of time to fly all over the globe!

Victoria Baker is still enjoying retirement and ballroom dancing with partner Lee. They went on a Panama Canal cruise in Nov., and Victoria gave the “enrichment” lectures on the cruise. She teaches an occasional anthropology course and plans to take Lee to “her” village in Sri Lanka this year as well as go on other anthropological adventures.

Susan Sumners Alloway is in NY, but sounds like she’s missing her Lonestar State. She was able to break away for a few weeks to hang out with her oldest friend and her sister back home. She reports, “I retired in 2010 from my work as an ordained Presbyterian minister and am giving the random seminar or 2; the latest, the Spirituality of the Zuni. I still do spiritual counseling and stay as far away from nursing homes and hospitals as is humanly possible. I have 3 very boring stepsons and one fabulous son of my own who is currently dividing his time between raising a 3-year-old clone of himself, writing articles as an online journalist, and growing organic medical marijuana. He and his partner, Joy, spend winters in Guatemala where they study with a couple of shamans. She’s learning healing with plants and he is learning the Mayan fire ceremonies. Definitely not boring…WOO HOO!” Definitely not, but remember Susan, “You raise chickens and rear children!” Your son definitely sounds like a clone of you!

Judith Bensen Stigle was on her way south to spend 2 mos. in FL. She wrote, “Too cold here in New England. Already scheduled for member/guest in March with Jane Walker ’60. Will see lots of Bonnie “Blew” Pierie and Tim who live nearby. Anybody heading to Venice area, call 203-430-4334.”

Virginia Stanley Douglas is living in Sacramento. She and her husband are planning a visit with friends in Charleston. Her daughter Becky is now with Franklin-Templeton, son-in-law Mark with AARP; her grandson Miles is a 2nd grader and Genevieve in kindergarten. Her husband Bill’s consulting has been expanding, and, try as she will, she hasn’t been successful in getting him to cut back. (Sounds familiar!) Her smashed ankle (2009) has healed amazingly and she’s even back in spin classes. Her leisure time is spent playing lots of bridge and enjoying her investment group. If anyone is visiting the Sacramento area, Ginny would love to have him/her stop by; the Douglases even have a guest cottage for drop-ins.

Nashville has recognized Gayle Dearborn Vance’s daughter, Sarah Hart. “Sarah Hart is known for being an amazing, organized, salt-of-the-earth nice and supportive friend, mother, wife, daughter, nurse, volunteer and more.” If you’d like to access the article, here is the link.


Bill and I are well, but this week we lost his son, my stepson, to schizophrenia. David struggled for years combating the disease, but at 41 years old, his body gave out. He died from a pulmonary embolism, quite a shock for all of us. I’ve had a 2-year-old, 3-year-old, 6-year-old and 9-year-old for several days so you can understand these disjointed notes. I’m saying more fervent prayers to keep these parents safe; I must have needed reminding why God gives us children when we are young.

For those of you who took freshman biology, here’s a treat for you as well as for you non-biology oriented ladies. Miss Belcher and Miss Sprague used to play the time lapse videos of growing plants. This 2 ½ min. clip will jog your memory and remind you what great classes and professors we had at SBC!

The Life of Flowers