Gail Robins O’Quin
I do not like starting notes with a sad report, but I’m sure most of you know that Randy Brown died of lung cancer in June. She had a long and valiant struggle and was able to hang on until the birth of her grandson, her son’s 1st child. I feel so blessed that I was able to visit with her in 3/12 when she and her sister Robin came to New Orleans. Bill and I also stopped by her home after Reunion in May and had a delightful visit. She was quite an individual! Several classmates in VA were able to celebrate her life at her memorial service in Tappahannock.
Also, Elizabeth Bernard Hatch died 1/23/13 in Lake Worth, FL. The SBC alumnae office sent out an announcement; I have no other information.
Kudos to everyone who responded to my plea for class notes. I first heard from Toni Naren Gates who stated her philosophy succinctly: “True, time flies as we get older, but the wheels of change grind slower.” She is now the designated ‘class philosopher.’ Toni sent a follow-up email after reporting that she had no news. “I am up at my summer home and the pace has been so hectic only the very, very obvious makes it to the brain. First, my daughter became engaged this winter to a wonderful man. Both her son (8) and his teenage daughters have given their stamp of approval to the union. Now, if only they can find a date! Secondly, my son, daughter-in-law and grandson (2) welcomed a new baby boy to the family in March. His name is Dodge, which is an old Gates family name. Looks like he might be a redhead! Thirdly, Betsy Kurtz Argo and husband Jim came to visit us on Lake George this June. We caught up with too many yrs. gone by and just enjoyed being together! Next fall we will visit them on their lake in MI (not far from where my nephew lives.). This is great…promises to visit have been out there forever, but now we are making them happen! We are also having an endless political discussion via email!” Ed Note: Guess everyone knows not to discuss politics and religion; the fall 2014 trip may never materialize! “And lastly, I want to brag about a Sweet Briar woman. Through mutual friends, I have gotten to know Lynn Esmay, who graduated a few yrs. ahead of me (unfortunately I only know her married name.). My daughter and I had the pleasure of attending a talk and book signing by Lynn this July. The talk was amazing and the historical background/research was fascinating. Lynn just blew me away. The book is about Katrina Trask, “Lady of Yaddo.” Yes, of course I bought a signed copy of the book, because after her talk, my curiosity was so peaked that I had to have it and make it part of my summer read. My hat is off in due respect to quite a Sweet Briar woman!” What else would you expect from a SBC grad? Now, for the other side of the story—from Betsy:
Toni Naren Gates and Betsy Kurtz Argo got all up to date with Betsy and husband Jimmy’s visit to the Club Gates in Bolten Landing, NY. Toni’s beautiful daughter Lindsey and son Jake were there, too, and ready for a great boat ride on Lake George captained by Toni’s husband Bud. It rained nearly every day but Toni and Betsy didn’t even notice they were so busy talking and catching up. Toni’s nephew Todd Wyett lives only 20 min. away from Betsy in northern MI, so Betsy is trying to get Toni to come for a visit and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Betsy and Pam Pryor enjoyed their 50th high school reunion in April.
Judy Schlatter Fogle is still racing to keep up with 5 grand-boys. “Surely this counts as aerobics!” She planned to accompany older son Ander and family to the Oktoberfest in Munich and Berlin in the fall. She comments, “Hope it’s better than “near beer” at Tommy’s—I think that’s the name of the place near Sweet Briar where I celebrated my 21st birthday with Kerry Weber. The waitress checked my license and when I informed her I was 21, she sniffed and grumbled, ‘Just barely.’ ” LA was so backward in those days that I was issued a handwritten license; I changed the 5 to 3 and was able to drink 6.0 beer rather than the 3.2 my whole time at SBC!
Victoria J. Baker writes that after helping celebrate her parents’ 72nd wedding anniversary, she and partner Lee headed north from FL on a month-long sightseeing road trip up to northern ME to celebrate Lee’s 50th high school reunion. (It was Victoria’s 50th in SLC, UT, at the same time, but Lee had more roots in his area.) Victoria’s next trip is to take Lee to “her village” in Sri Lanka and hope that he won’t come down with an acute case of culture shock! Dysentery would not be much fun, either.
Judith Bensen Stigle moved in June to Venice, FL, and enjoys being there except for the heat. She is waiting for the cooler season but still playing golf 3 times/wk. and hasn’t collapsed yet. She’s meeting new people and getting involved. One side benefit, she lives about 15 min. from Bonnie Blew Pierie’s winter home, so that’s fun! She wants people to start thinking about our 50th in 2017. She headed north in Oct. for her 50th high school reunion. “Of course we graduated only 33 so it’ll be interesting to see how many show up.”
Anne Stuart Brown Swann knows how wonderful it is to reconnect with classmates after so many yrs. (she left SBC in 1965). “Since I attended public high school before shipping out to boarding school, I was included in 2 50th reunions this year. I couldn’t attend my St. Catherine’s reunion, but I made it to my Manassas high school reunion. Amazingly, after so many yrs. apart, we all reconnected like it was yesterday. My news revolves around family and health. My 2 sons, daughters-in-law, and 5 grandchildren (2 boys, 3 girls) all live near us. We are blessed to see them often. Health is another matter. Late last summer I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma (benign brain tumor that is attached to the nerve leading from the ear). The tumor unfortunately grew over the past year, as shown in my latest MRI, so while it is still small and not close to the brain stem, I am preparing to have CyberKnife radiosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital next month. This will involve 3 subsequent days of treatment with light radiation. I’ve already been fitted for a custom plastic mask that will keep my head still during the 40-min. procedure. Very space age, and I am sure the grandchildren will enjoy playing with this once I’m over treatment. I have lost most of the hearing in my left ear, but otherwise I am not complaining. As we all know, old age is not for sissies. I stay in close touch with 2 other classmates: sister-in-law Peggy Kennedy Brown and Linda Grizzard Tiffany, married to my 1st cousin. They are both well.”
Carol MacMillan Stanley enjoys practicing law in Delray Beach (43 yrs.). Son Tom is her law partner. Carol and husband CR celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary and are enjoying spending time at their summer home/farm in Tryon, NC, where they continue to ride their horses with 2 hunts, Green Creek and Tryon. They are avid conservationists and enjoy their cattle ranch near Indiantown, FL. Son John manages the FL ranch.
Diane ‘Toots’ Dalton reports, “Nothing new here!” Knowing Toots, I cannot believe that, but…
Page Munroe Renger says, “Life continues to be good these days. I thoroughly enjoy time spent with 2 precious granddaughters (6 and 4) who live close by and spend overnights with their Nana as often as possible. Had a wonderful trip to Southern Spain in early June, visiting Madrid, Savilla, Cordoba, Granada, Marbella with side trips to Ronda, Gibraltar, Tangiers; weather was perfect and the Spanish people lovely. That was followed by 2 glorious wks. at the beach with extended family. Next trip in mid-Aug.—a road trip to PA to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, then through Corning, NY, Ithaca, Skaneatales, Cooperstown, Lake George, Lake Placid, Middlebury, VT, Warren, VT, for an overnight with Gretchen Bullard Barber and then to Avril, VT (population about 15), where some friends have a neat family compound with tennis courts, baseball diamond, lake with boats and a huge, comfy house. Then back to the beach for about 2 wks. over Labor Day.” Page is still trying her hand at tennis—“not an easy game for me but love the group with whom I play and it is good exercise. Playing a little bridge, doing a little reading, trying to be available for friends with health issues and keeping up my yard. I realize every day is a gift and I do appreciate each one I am granted.” Page is one more busy lady with a grand outlook on life!
Maria Wiglesworth Hemmings and husband just got back from NYC, where they had lunch with Lyn Milton Cooper and husband—great visit. Both couples recently traveled (separately) to Turkey and Ukraine on the Baltic Sea and had fun sharing their experiences. Maria reports, “I am down to 3 days/wk. at the hospital. In Feb. Jeff and I finally went to Australia (via Hong Kong) to visit my brother who has lived there 38 yrs. Had a great trip and spent special time with my brother and his family…but saw a lot, too. At 67 I have moments of feeling old…body parts just do not work the way they did at 22.” Not necessary to tell us about it! “Solution: I start thinking I am 22 and feel better…delusional though it may be. And a plea to anyone who has retired…I am looking for coping mechanisms…I need to be busy and challenging my mind/solving problems, structure works too. Help!” I play bridge with a group whose median age is 87; they all swear that cards are the answer!
Jane Stephenson Wilson is still being swept off her feet by her 3 grandsons and enjoys seeing them often since they live so close. “Two weeks ago I went to my 50th high school reunion, and I’m trying to figure out how that many yrs. have gone by. I guess that means that half a century ago I was getting ready to come to Sweet Briar—wow!”
It seems like only yesterday Kim Waters Keriakos and I were enjoying our 40th reunion with Nancy Godwin Baldwin ’57, the SBC admissions director for many years. She died 8/ 5/13, at the age of 78. Nancy entertained us with tales of Kim’s 1st year of teaching when Kim’s student jumped out of the window. Naturally the young teacher was in tears and Nancy provided a wonderful shoulder on which to cry. To quote the newsletter, “Sweet Briar has lost one of its most ardent advocates, a dear friend devoted to advancing the College’s mission as an alumna and longtime administrator.” Nancy remembered every student and impressions of them even after 40 yrs.—an amazing person; she will be missed! Kim was able to go to Randy’s memorial and reports, “Her sisters have often said how much it meant to Randy to have our Class of ’67 (friends all) bring Reunion to her after our 45th last year. Hallie, Mellie, Putzi and I visited at her service in Tappahannock remembering good times shared, laughter and of course Randy’s unfailing energy and enthusiasm for life, family, friends, students, flowers…” Kim continues, “Here at home, I still get great joy from volunteering at church and at Travelers Aid at Dulles Airport. I especially like arranging flowers for church and special events and celebrating times with family—mom in Lynchburg and NC and my stepchildren in CO, AZ and NJ. Our oldest granddaughter was married in Waco last spring and we had a grand reunion. Earlier I visited family in Bozeman, MT, and Mount Pleasant, SC. I covered a lot of the country and as I traveled, often thought there is probably a Sweet Briar classmate nearby.”
Hallie Darby Smith knows, “It is going to be sad this year without Randy to visit. She was remarkable to the end. I saw Mellie, Kim, Sue Morck and Putzi at the memorial service.” On the home front, “My son is getting remarried in Oct., accompanied by his sons (5 and 8). I am going on a wine tour of Germany and Alsace, France, in Sept.”
Josephine ‘Jo’ Wiens MacMichael is delighted with ‘all the news fit to print.’ She is still working for the DoD while husband Skip (John) continues with the AMTRAK IG. The MacMichaels live a 10-min. walk from the King Street metro in Old Town Alexandria and had 2 SBC students stay with them last spring during an internship. The entire family, 2 sons and 6 grandsons (5-27) enjoyed the students.
Virginia Carpenter Delgado spent 2 wks. in the U.S. in April and visited with 2 classmates. “While visiting a high school friend for a week in FL, she and I went to see Bonnie Blew Pierie in Venice and, naturally, went to see the riding installations where Bonnie rides! We had a leisurely lunch at Tim and Bonnie’s, caught up on family and SBC, and talked horses. FUN! Then to NYC for a family wedding and a 4-day visit with Gracey Stoddard. Gracey is quite occupied with work, but we got to go to a musical, a concert and a couple of restaurants for dinner and enjoyed catching up on family and friends, too.
Gracey Stoddard still enjoys her job as caseworker and district representative in the NYC office of Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “I have become the go-to person for questions about Medicare and Medicaid (this can come in handy, girls), health insurance, IRS issues and non-immigrant visas. I am also very involved with my church as an active elder and co-chair of the Adult Education Committee. For the past 2 yrs., I have served as a board member on an independent not-for-profit, The African Dream Academy Foundation, which funds a new school, the African Dream Academy, located in Monrovia, Liberia (check out the website—an amazing story: www.africandreamacademy.org). When I find time to relax, I love visiting family and friends in MA, VT and FL, and taking advantage of the theater, opera and the many fine restaurants NYC has to offer. I would love to see anyone visiting NYC and often have an empty guestroom to offer, so please give me a ring. I love my life and hope that all of you are enjoying yours—it doesn’t get much better than this!
Peggy Pittman Patterson is now serving as associate priest at the Church of the Holy Faith in Santa Fe, NM. “It is fun to be back in parish life after 3+ yrs. as a hospice chaplain when I first retired to Santa Fe. I enjoy the arts and music of Santa Fe, the mountains and the fun evenings and great food with many new friends. This summer I am looking forward to attending my 50th high school reunion in Columbia, SC, and to visiting my 5 grandchildren who live in NY, Houston and San Francisco. I enjoyed a visit (after 40+ yrs.) with my old SBC roommate Anne Kern Uher in San Francisco recently. We hope to join our other roommates Judith Haskell McCarthy and Margaret Williams Hurt at our SBC 50th!
Ginny Stanley Douglas and husband Bill spent a week at Fallen Leaf Lake at Tahoe in June, hiking, reading, etc. “Bill has been up at Lassen with the grandkids and our son-in-law, while Becky and I went to Napa for mud baths, massages and wonderful French food. Miles is going into 3rd grade and Genevieve into 1st. Bill continues with his medical consulting and I play bridge and enjoy my investment group. Anyone out our way is welcome to visit us in Sacramento as we have plenty of guest rooms. We are planning a trip to Turkey next May…which seems too far away at the moment.” I do hope the political situation calms down over there somewhat; Turkey is definitely on our bucket list! Political unrest is one reason we always take the trip insurance. BTW, Ginny went to elementary school in Tripoli, Libya, and high school in Ankara, Turkey—what a place for a reunion!
Bonnie Blew Pierie definitely wins the prize for keeping up with the most classmates. In addition to the reports on Bonnie, she writes, “We are very sad to know that Randy Brown passed away in June; Hallie Darby Smith was the best friend possible and kept up with Randy through the entire ordeal. I cannot say enough about her devotion and courage in such a difficult situation.” We all concur about Hallie and her devotion/friendship. “This summer saw us celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary with friends of some 40 yrs. who also celebrate the same day…theirs is 50 yrs. this year! Other friends and family have been ‘on the move’ after selling their previous homes and moving out. Two couples have spent transition time staying with us here is MA; 1 couple will be staying longer term. It looks from here like the real estate market is back in operation. Earlier this spring a visit from Ginny Carpenter Delgado was wonderful. She promises to come to the next reunion. She also stopped in NYC to see Gracey Stoddard. Gracey is busy but hopefully we’ll see her next winter when she expects to be in Naples, FL.”
Carroll Randolph Barr had a delightful time at her 50th high school reunion and so is committed to our next reunion at SBC…“Seems that the older we get, the more we enjoy our friends from high school and college…Our big news is that Angus is getting married in Oct. at our house in Powhatan. We continue to spend our summers in MI and love it. We were not able to get together with Lisa Braden Moody and Margy Dortch Brooks this year but they were both close by—one in Charlevoix and the other in Luddington. There was just too much family and activities to let us leave our respective summer homes. We are going home next week (late Aug.) to get yard and house ready for the wedding. Angus is marrying a darling girl, Erin Holshouser, who has been his special lady for over 7 yrs. We are all very excited. We had everyone here with us in MI for the 4th of July week, including granddaughter Eloise (2). She will be in their wedding.”
Linda Fite has not changed a whit—here goes: “So let’s see…what’s happened thus far in 2013? Um. I did NOT go downhill skiing—that is about the 12th yr. where I have NOT gone skiing. I didn’t go water-skiing, either. I did, however, take my granddaughter Beatrice (4) trout fishing on opening day here in Ulster County, NY, i.e., 4/1. No, she didn’t catch anything despite the use of a fabulous pink Disney princess fishing rod and reel. Two burly fisher dudes in camo outfits (sounds like Louisiana transplants) were very impressed with her gear and told her to cheer up; they didn’t catch anything either and she should try again in mid-summer. Two of my sisters, my daughter Amelia, a pal and I all went to London for a week in April. We rented a charmer of a house in Hammersmith (with a garden!) and the weather was superb all week long. Then everyone flew home except Amelia and me, who drove out to Cornwall to visit old chums for a few days. It’s been a great summer—hot and super summery—plenty of visitors here as well as visits to my out-of-town kids (Brooklyn and Rockville Centre). Drove down to WV to visit Joanne Tumolo Bario ’68 and see her mom, 95 (who subsequently died, so it was sweet to get to say a sort of good-bye to her). I just got back from a week in ME with a few friends from high school…we’re planning our 50th high school reunion in early Oct. I bought another house in my same hamlet—Pataukunk. I tell everyone I feel as though I were playing Monopoly and I now have all three of the ‘red ones’: IN, IL and KY, weren’t they? This Land Baron thing isn’t at all what you might imagine. Pataukunk is…how do I put this?…not the least bit upscale. Au contraire. Speaking of French, I’m going to France next month, spending a couple of days with Pam Ford Kelley and Brendan in Paris, then heading south to hang out with an English friend I’ve known since our 30-something kids were toddlers. Life is good!”
Adele Laslie Kellman returned to New Orleans for her 50th high school reunion but we were unable to get together because Bill and I were in France. We’ve been able to catch up a little through email, marvelous communication tool. Adele and her husband Paul are in Great Barrington, MA.
Barbara Tillman Kelley and Carlton spent 2 glorious wks. in Switzerland this summer. “We had perfect weather and my backpacker husband got to see all the mountains on his dream list. Had a mini reunion with family in Charleston—we rented a house on Seabrook Island, where our cousins own a home. Our youngest son Trey lives in Charleston and older son David and Morgan (hope everyone is enjoying her in the Wendy’s commercials!) came down from NYC and daughter Darcy and DJ came over from Bham. We had a wonderful time with all the many cousins and their children. I enjoy working out side by side with Julie Bodin Converse at the Y. Talking certainly makes the time go faster!” Hasn’t it always, especially in Miss Belcher’s biology lab! “I am so very saddened to hear of the deaths of our classmates.”
Jill Berguido Gill and husband Bruce have been living in (and working on!) the same c.1884 house in Haverford for almost 30 yrs. “Bruce is still the director and curator of historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr. My son Tim Clement graduated in June with a master’s from the Drexel U. School of Public Health. He interned at the Thomas Scattergood Foundation in Philadelphia and was hired in July as the Scattergood Fellow on Social Justice and Behavioral Health. I am still enjoying freelance tutoring with students from the elementary grades through high school. I’ll retire when I run out of students! I haven’t traveled to any exotic places lately, but I visit my oldest sister in Cape Cod almost every summer. I am a lay reader and chalice bearer at Christ Church in Old City, Philadelphia. I also enjoy gardening, writing in my various journals, taking long walks with my dog and spending time with friends and family.” The way the school system seems to be performing, you won’t be able to ever retire, Jill!
Gail Robins O’Quin: Bill and I are doing well in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, his prostate cancer has returned and he has had to start hormone therapy. So far, no side effects but we’ve been warned of hot flashes, everything that we girls experienced when we went through menopause. We returned from a wonderful trip to France, a river cruise through Provence then up to Normandy just in time for this diagnosis. We’re muddling along with our 3 old dogs, the oldest 14 and the ‘puppy’ 8 (old for a Standard Poodle) as well as 4 chickens, including an illegal rooster in almost downtown BR. We thought we were bored and needed more responsibility, hence the chickens! One word of caution for anyone deciding to become a ‘chicken parent’: Do not let the grandchildren name the little darlings. So far the young dog, nicknamed ‘The Murderer,’ has gotten at least 2 hens, possibly 3, though I attribute Flower’s demise to a hawk and/or raccoon. If you ever watched “Swamp People,” we found ourselves almost in the set when we took off in the backwoods to replace Joey for the granddaughter (3); we were successful but The Murderer made short work of her—we’re now on Joey No. 3! We’re looking forward to a safari in Kenya in Nov.; Bill has threatened murder and mayhem on me if I insist on bringing any wild animals home! We’ve had several reports of classmates going to their 50th high school reunions. Bill and I had ours in April—fabulous! I’ll second everyone’s description of how much fun it is to reconnect. It’s as though we never had the 50 intervening yrs. I had the same experience at our 45th at SBC. I’ll repeat Judy’s request to start thinking about our 50thin 2017. When we were students at SBC, did you ever think we’d actually be that old and be in the alumnae magazine as the ‘mature ladies, the blue-haired set (excuse me please: most of us, at least I, get our color from a bottle—no blue hair)?’ We arrived on campus only 50 yrs. ago this month—flying time, a repeating theme! Please consider a gift to the College—gifts add to our lifetime giving amount and what else are you going to do with your money? As my financial advisor instructed me, you’d better start spending/giving away your money or your children will! Any amount will be appreciated and adds to our giving percentage. Put your thinking cap on for fun things to do to get everyone excited as well as incentives for giving; we want to/will blow this one out of the water!