Dear 1959-ers,

Many thanks to those who wrote in. It is always fun to find out what is happening with our classmates. I would love to hear from more of you the next time for news.

Passings: Caroline Green, 2011. Mary Picton “Pic” or “Pickie” Payne Hester, 1/9/12, and Alvin Ziegler, husband of Isa Mary Lowe Ziegler, Feb. 2011.

Erna Arnold Westwig: Not a lot of news from Corning, N.Y. We’re just back from a great long ski weekend with the whole family: daughter, Karen, son-in-law, Bob and grandkids, Olivia, Bobby and Kendall from the Boston area and son, Erik, daughter-in-law, Karen and grands John, Mark and Anna from Ithaca, N.Y. In mid Feb. we’ll head for warmer climates until April. Then we can put our sailboat, Waveguide, in the water on Cayuga Lake about an hour north of us for the summer and early fall months. After that I’ll look forward to the annual gathering of the intrepid 6-some of Jini, Sandy, Mary, Polly, Sarah Jane and myself. We have had a reunion of us Sweet Briar gals most faithfully for almost 20 years now!

Caroline Blake Whitney: First of all, do none of our classmates pass through Cambridge, Mass. for one reason or another? I’m so close to Harvard, MIT, Boston U., downtown Boston for other reasons, why cannot anybody dare to call answer a standing invitation to stay for a brief sojourn?

Family dilemmas and decisions dominated most of 2011 and some seem to be spilling over into 2012. I’m encouraged that those concerns are being straightened out albeit more slowly than wished.

I’m a bisected person as far as where I want to be: went home to Argentina to visit our farm and friends. It was glorious, but I love North America, east coast also. Finally it became apparent that we are going through a revolution, similar to some of the other major revolutions one might remember from history classes or have discussed with others since then.

Mary Harrison Cooke “Cookie” Carle: Rehabbing my left knee replacement—very slow. Taking trip to South Africa, March 17(wanted to take St. Patrick along for support of the right knee, which is currently useless, but he was unavailable) until after Easter…Fourteen of us going from my Unitarian Church. It’s a great group. Only 4 men on trip. Have told them to team up to be ready to take turns pushing my buns up those inclines/mountains/ground upheavals. Sincerely hope to come back in one piece…for more “fun” surgery! Daughter Rebecca (SBC-’93) in D.C., working for an anti-tobacco foundation and doing a massage certification training. Still hope to get to Dalmatian Coast, Portugal, Spain and Tibet-Bhutan-Nepal…oy vey!

Alice Cary Farmer Brown: We are about to walk out the door to Fly to India for 3 weeks—our first time there, and we are very excited. I know I will faint when I see the Taj Mahal, a longtime dream. I will have more to report the next time, but for now want to wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY to those of us who are turning 75 this year. Aren’t we fortunate to be alive!!

Penny Fisher Dunklee: All John’s and my parts work pretty well. We laugh a lot and I clean house hardly ever. More later. Love and laughs.

Susan Hight Rountree: We all seem to be so busy! It’s wonderful in many ways, but I finally decided to “retire” from my annual teaching a study program class for miniaturists at Colonial Williamsburg. It was started here in l995 by members of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans so that students could select one of 4 classes where they would study and make an object from the Colonial Williamsburg collection and taught by a Guild instructor …the classes differed—some construction (furniture or a structure), some painting, and a variety of others over the years in needlework, ceramics, etc. Fun! This spring will be busy getting ready for Garden Week in Va. (to raise funds for historic garden restorations), and we also have the annual meeting for the Garden Club of Va., which will meet here. There’s lots to do here and the spring is so beautiful, except this year we’ve had no winter so far! Daffodils up in Jan.! Amazing. Joe and I are once again going up to N.H. in May through October to a place we have up there. We’ve done this twice before and enjoy being away from Va. in the summer! Also we’ve had lots of company from Va., family and even Hawaii (Big Island), which we love! It’s a beautiful part of the country, and we extend the invitation to anyone who’s in the area! We love having the grandchildren up as they have such fun swimming, boating and climbing small mountains (4 children under 6 ½ and one more coming in April!). It’s fun to get involved in activities in another area too. Come see us!

Elizabeth Johnston Lipscomb: The highlight of 2011 for the Lipscombs was a gathering of our 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law, and 4 grandchildren at our Bath County cabin in June for an early celebration of Lloyd’s 75th birthday. With the family spread from Santa Fe, N.M. to Greenville, S.C. to Greensboro, N.C. and Lynchburg, the opportunities to be together are all too rare.

Lloyd and I continue to enjoy life at Westminster Canterbury. I’m keeping busy as a volunteer here, going into my 2nd year as a member of the Residents’ Council. If any of you are returning to campus for special events, please let me know. It would be wonderful to see you.

Jini Jones Vail: The last 6 months has been a rush for me with the fine reception of my book: “Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant.” The Sweet Briar Book Shop will be carrying it in a few days. In my wildest dreams, I never even thought I would have a book of my own in those hallowed halls. 

Virginia MacKethan Kitchin: I am sure others have written you about Pickie Payne Hestor’s funeral at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Richmond, where there were a host of classmates. I was particularly struck by how much her older daughter looked and spoke like her. I felt Pickie was there. The other sad death is of Isa Mary Lowe Ziegler’s husband, Alvin. It was quite sudden, and the funeral was Feb. 9. They have been living these many years in Orinda, Calif. and their 3 children all live in the area.

Ginny Marchant Noyes: I don’t write, not because I don’t appreciate and admire your efforts, but because I have lost touch, alas, with SBC and most of my classmates. I celebrated Christmas in Berlin with all my kids, and leave next week for India where I’ll view Rajasthan palaces and gardens (a subject on which I have lectured widely). Will be in Hong Kong (where we lived and worked and to which I have not returned since Tom died) to and fro…I’ll throw kisses over Hawaii!

Nita Mixon Cox: Jim and I have been retired for quite some time, having taught about 29 years each at the U. of Louisiana. Moved to Georgia to take care of my parents, and now are just mostly engaged in some volunteer work and grandchildren watching. They can certainly keep you wondering, can’t they?! One is in N.Y.C., another just graduated from the U. of Texas; another is in medical school in Georgia, another teaching “hot yoga” on the side and attending college in Seattle, another in second year at Sewanee, another working in Atlanta, and a last one too young to escape the watchful eyes of her parents. I was saddened to learn of the death of my dear friend Ruthie Weaver and her husband McRae Williams. They will be so missed, but will always remain in the hearts of so many of us who were privileged to know them.

Marcia Payne Grant: Just letting you know that I now have a new email address: [email protected]

Ann Pegram Howington: My Charlottesville bookseller son Byron Harris is closing down Splintered Light, his theology book emporium—years ago, you could sell Christmas cards and stuff to up sales. He says Amazon can sell lower than he can buy, wholesale. Seems unfair, but there you are…I see from the (now misplaced) list, that Betsy Brawner Pittman is signed up for Living Room Learning this year (19th cent French fiction)…goody.

Cay Ramey Wiemer: All of the class of ’59 Sweet Briar Book Club were distressed by the death of Mary Picton Payne Hester on Jan. 9 after a brave struggle with colon cancer. She leaves a spot that cannot be filled. Betsy Colwill Weigers and her husband George, Virginia MacKethan Kitchen, Courtney Gibson Pelley and her husband Herb, Susan Taylor were among the many people there for her memorial service and to support each other. Wish I had happy news to report. Take care.

Debbie Von Reischach Snyder: Don and I were in Boothbay from the beginning of June thru Oct. 1st with lots of sailing and golf. We were married in Maine, July 2 at a small church on the water followed by the reception at my summer house on a glorious Maine day. Don’s grandson (19) was his Best Man and my granddaughter (12) was my Maid of Honor. We went back to Williamsburg for 2 months, with a trip to Boston for Thanksgiving and then to N.Y.C. to see “Jersey Boys” and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree (our N.Y. fix). A beautiful Christmas in Williamsburg with Don’s family including a dinner with Charles Dickens grandson doing a skit on “A Christmas Carol,” all the old houses in town decorated for Christmas and a Christmas Eve dinner at the beautifully decorated Williamsburg Inn. The day after Christmas to Boston for 3 days to ice skate at the Boston Common and to help my grandchildren (4,6, and 7) on the baby ski slope. Got my winter and grandchildren fix at one time. Now have 12 grandchildren between us. This past week we drove to Bonita Springs, Fla. where Don has a condo. Life is good.

Mary Blair Scott Valentine: There are no children here to take care of me in old age. I guess I’ll go to them. Kiawah Island would be nice and Delray Beach, and Charlotte, N.C.

Polly Space Dunn: Nothing different from last time. Going skiing in Feb. (Vail). We are well. I hope to see Betsy Weigers in Vail.

Susan Taylor Montague: Unfortunately the only news I have is sad. Pic Payne Hester died Jan. 9 after a terrible bout with colon cancer. You might not remember her because she got married after freshman year, but she did attend some class reunions. Anyway, Sweet Briar was well represented at her funeral. I went, Courtney Pelley went, Betsy Colwill Wiegers flew in from N.Y.C., Virginia MacKethan, Tabb Farinholt, Betsy Seaman, Mary Blair Valentine, Sorell MacElroy, Cay Weimer, Tricia Coxe Ware, Mary Ballou Williams and Dede Ulf Mayor all attended the service. The service was lovely, and it was great seeing everyone despite the sad occasion.

Tabb Thornton Farinholt: The only news I have is about the death of our classmate, with us only freshman year, Mary Pickton “Pickie” Payne; she came to prefer “Pic.” She left to marry Pat Hester with whom she had 3 children and went on to get her doctorate in psychology; she had developed a respected practice in Richmond. She was a part of our book group; we were all pulling for her so through the horrendous treatments. She was a fighter and quite courageous. Blair and I continue to be grateful for our health, avidly follow the activities of our 6 grandchildren, which I’ve already written about too much, but otherwise lead a quiet life.

Kathy Tyler Sheldon: I really have no news and no pictures, but did want to share with you how thrilled I was to receive once again a Christmas parcel from the ’59 Book Club in Richmond. They sent one last year with many small goodies and it certainly made my bleak cold Jan. Very sadly Pickie Payne died after the parcel was sent, but the beautiful gold butterfly she sent reminds me each day of her. We are hunkered down for the winter, going out on fine sunny days to enjoy our easy cross country ski trail in the park. All our grandchildren are teenagers with their own busy lives so we stayed here for Christmas with our many friends and visitors who have bought houses here on the island and return for Christmas from England, Ontario and the States.

Dede Ulf Mayer: Six years ago I moved to Richmond, Va. and am so thankful that I did. My 2 sons and their wives and my 4 grandchildren all live here, as well as wonderful friends, especially the SBC Book Club members (Tricia Ware, Mary Blair Valentine, Betsy Seaman, Cay Weimer, Tabb Farinholt, Sorrel McElroy, and Mary Ballou Williams.) We all miss Pickie. Two weeks ago I inadvertently sat next to Betsy Muhlenfeld at a lecture and was so surprised. She is also a Richmond resident.

Judy Welton Sargent: All is well in Austin. My grandson (4) and I are taking a weekly music class at the Austin School of Music. It’s so much fun to have him to myself for part of the day. After class he comes to my apt. for lunch and to play. What a pleasure he is! In Nov., I was in N.Y.C. for a week and had a wonderful evening with Di Doscher Spurdle. The play we saw left us perplexed as to its intent, but we had a great “catch-up” at dinner before the theater. My hopes for 2012: a great job for daughter Susan, good health for all, and the sale of my home in Wilmington.

Ali Wood Thompson: There is more music in my life besides the hula now. Travis has taken up the ukulele, so we are spending two nights a week at 2 different ukulele functions. It is whale watching season and my first cousin from Maine is staying here for 3 weeks. We went off on a 6:30 am whale watch the other morning, but for some reason, the whales & their babies seemed sleepy with only a few breaches far off into the bay. But we went canoeing in a 6-man outrigger yesterday with the Maui Canoe Club and learned to master the paddling 14 on the right and 14 on the left. That was a fun experience! A few more whales were showing their stuff that morning.

P.S. Keep me abreast of all address, phone, and email changes…remember, if you want me to resend you the address list, just drop me an email: [email protected]

(Ali Wood Thompson, [email protected])