Nancy Lynah Hood has produced a book, “Fisher Row and the Watery Margins of Oxford Through Time” using old and new photos to tell the story of the area where she lives. Her travels are too numerous to mention! Nancy completed the Hong Trail path, 50k across Hong Kong Island, and got acquainted with 2 other trails in the New Territories for next year.

Mary Duer Colen has had a busy, happy year. Joe’s daughter was married last summer. Daughters Jennifer and Ambler each gave birth to their 3rd child. She now has 8 grandchildren, all nearby. She spends more and more time at the farm, although Gladwyne will continue to be our primary address.

Svarna Wendy Wilkins enjoys 2 homes, one in N.H. and one in Calif. She still goes to Berkeley, Calif., often and sees Carrie Peyton Walker. It’s wonderful to be best friends with her former SBC roommate!

Ashton Barfield: “Same wonderful community, same wonderful retired life. Except for putting on an emergency election, I have scaled down my volunteer activities (Roosevelt Island politics) to free up time for redoing my apt., but am still the copyeditor-plus of our biweekly newspaper.”

Dottie Norris Schipper: “I visited with Caroline Keller Theus and husband Jim this summer in Cashiers, N.C., where we went hiking and heard Jim preach to an (as always!) overflow crowd at the Summer Chapel. Harriet and Charlie Shaffer came that Sunday and we all contributed loudly and badly to the bluegrass band. That’s worth driving across the country for those of you who haven’t heard Jim. I’m dancing about 6 hrs a week with my partner Roy who is a national ballroom champion. He and I were contestants in Dancing With The Carolina Stars for a local fundraiser along with 18 other couples, all dressed in costumes ranging from Indian Saris, suspenders and top hats, and my too-tight lycra. Lots of my classmates contributed to our financial success. Thank you all! Roy and I started a Teen Ballroom Dance Program, which is free to all Greenville Teens and have garnered contributions of fine ballroom dance shoes and costumes for our group. The idea was based on the true story of a successful program in the NYC inner schools which inspired the movie ‘Take The Lead’ with Antonio Banderas. I’m aiming for an up close and personal interview with Antonio! I’m working with my photography when I have time. A month ago, when Newt was in Greenville, I was his local photographer. Not a good position if you are 5’4”. The press corps is brutal.”

Penny Writer Theis: “We’re now up to 6 grandkids (2 from each of our 3 children). Unfortunately they all live out of state in Charlotte, Chicago and upstate N.Y., all great places to visit. We’re enjoying life in our condo in Cleveland area. It’s large enough to hold all the kids and grandkids when they have a chance to visit. Stu and I are looking forward to celebrating our 70th birthdays with a Viking River Cruise trip in the fall. With stops at Versailles, Normandy Beaches, Paris, etc. it should be a fun trip.”

JoAnn Soderquist Kramer retired at the end of Sept. and says she’s figuring out what to do when she grows up. “I took a river cruise of The Netherlands and Belgium this spring with Vesta Lee Gordon (VM’s friend from childhood in Charlottesville, with whom I have taken several trips).”

Vera LeCraw Carvaillo writes: “Well, it finally happened! We are officially retired. We closed the new companies we owned in Sept. and the administrative details are about finished. We are delighted. We are really enjoying being free of the pressure of the business and having the time to appreciate our many blessings. Our children, Patricia and Jean-Philippe are less than 15 minutes apart by car so we have easily assumed our role as grandparents.”

Rosamond Sample Brown-Banks reports that she and husband David continue in good health splitting their time between Dallas and Fayetteville, Ark. A special treat last year was being in Charleston, S.C., and having lunch with her roommate Kathleen Stevenson Turner and her husband Bill. Last April, she was in D.C. and had a good lunch with Grace Mary Oates. She gave her lots of tips on Rome that she used when she was there in June with her step-granddaughter. She and David took a 3-week trip all around Spain in late Sept. To celebrate being healthy and still above the grass, she’s taking her sons and daughter-in-law to Costa Rica in April. She’ll pass the big 7-0 deep in the rainforest.

Sharon Van Cleve Cipriano: I am still working as a jewelry designer, and my husband and I have lived in Tubac, Ariz., for the past 5 years. Tubac is a destination village in southern Arizona with over 100 galleries, shops and restaurants. It is known as “the place where art and history meet” and is a lovely place to live. However, it is very hot in the summer so we are now dividing our time between Tubac and Cuenca, Ecuador. With good reason, Cuenca has been named as one of the best places in the world to retire. It is safe, economical, culturally diverse and stunningly beautiful. I would be happy to share our experiences with anyone who might be looking at Ecuador as a place to visit or live.

Nancy Hall Green: Hi Ginny, Holcombe and I are currently in St. Barth for 5 weeks. Like many of us, I will pass the big 70 here on the island and will try not to attach too much significance to this event. We spend a lot of time in N.Y. where we have a new granddaughter born to Frank and Molly Green on 11/11/11, an auspicious date I am told. Our other son, Holcombe, and his wife Monica also live in N.Y. and have 2 girls (6 and 3). It has been such fun having the little girls after raising 2 boys. We have a new house in France outside of St. Remy in a little Provençal town called St. Etienne du Gres. Would love to welcome any SBC friends after we finish the work on the house. You can gather that we spend little time in Atlanta. When there however, I try to catch up with SB friends Jane Wheeler, Susan Croft, and Harriet Shaffer. We visited Emily ’65 and Zach Smith in Charlotte and while there I was able to visit and reminisce with Caroline Tate. I am sure that we are all appreciating more and more the importance of family and friends, and among those the Sweet Briar friends are at the top of my list.

Joan Moore Biddle writes that after Nick had a total hip replacement (THR) in April in La Jolla at Scripps/Green Hospital, he now walks 3.5 miles every other evening. “Nick and I traveled to India and Nepal for 2 weeks in early Nov. Highlights of our trip were the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra, evening celebration of Divali, and sun rising over the Ganges the following morning with many worshippers at the Ghats immersing themselves in the water. While in Nepal we took a flight to see the Himalayas up close. Mt. Everest is awesome! We’ve the ongoing pleasure of visiting our daughter, Barbara, Peter, and our 2 grandchildren, Emmet and Ellie, either here in Temecula or at their home in Redondo Beach nearby.

Marsh Metcalf Seymour is now living in Calif. where she and Jack are enjoying the sparkling light (sun), the scent of roses, lavender and rosemary and the call of the coyote. They went with The Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries on a curator-led trip to Korea.

As I (Ginny) go to press, I’ve just received the sad news that Sheila Carroll Cooprider has died from a fall caused by her Parkinson’s disease. She had just written to me about plans to travel to the Caribbean, Panama and Costa Rica this Feb. and to continue her Sister Act—an annual reunion with her sisters in Sarasota. Her note to me was from a person living her life to the fullest. She was Reverend Cooprider to the end and had no plans to fully retire. She was enjoying her new home in Colo. and being near her children and grandchildren. Anne Litle Poulet is now retired from the Frick and is splitting her time between a home in the Boston area and Paris. VM Del Greco Galgano’s news is that she has SBC connections on her mind. JoAnn Soderquist Kramer and Mollie Johnson Nelson visited after their SBC board meeting and  Dona Van Arsdale Jones and I are trying to arrange a “meet in the middle” lunch with Grace Mary Gary Oates and Gail Rothrock Trozzo. Old friends remain great treasures! Let’s start a trend of connecting…Suggestions anyone? Connecting is definitely in. It just takes a phone call or email and remembering to put that special date (May 30 – June 1, 2014) on the calendar. Yes, we’re turning 70, but we can think and feel 50 if we all come to our 50th reunion! As for me, I’m happily enjoying 4 mos. in Sarasota, Fla. We’re expecting newly retired Libby Kopper Scholleart and Jim for a visit soon. (Last season, we took a day trip to Naples, where Lynn Youngs Esmay gave us a delicious lunch and tour of her favorite spot.) Earlier in the year we went to Brevard, N.C. to see Milbrey Sebring Raney ’65 and Bev and on the way stopped at Sweet Briar for a night. Band camp was in session. We toured the new fitness center, watched bands marching on the athletic fields during dinner, and saw young deer cavorting in the dell near Sweet Briar house. The campus never sleeps! Happy 70 and, as Dottie might say, keep dancing!

(Virginia “Ginny” deBuys, [email protected])