Spring 2017

Comments from Peter Taylor, husband of deceased  Smith Alumna Ann Blum ‘72, concerning Ann Blum ’72 and Virginia Harvey Dawson ’72, by Virginia Moorman Gotlieb ’72

I attended a September 2016 memorial service for my colleague from UMass Boston, Ginny Harvey Dawson.  I learned from the first remembrance, by Ginny Gotlieb, that the two “Ginny”s had been roommates at Smith.  My wife, Annie S. Blum, also began in their class, but left after a year; at that time, she was not sure why she should be at college.  At the reception, Ginny Gotlieb introduced me to two other class members.  I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t remember Ann; I couldn’t remember the name of the house she had been in.  But soon we were talking about the turmoil of 1968; the rapid changes in the norms of Smith that began the next year; and how quickly fifty years can pass.

Ann had given Smith another try a few years later, but then took a 14-year break before enrolling at UMass Boston, soon after we met in Cambridge.  She completed her B.A. in American Studies, became a Latin American historian, and returned to UMass Boston as a professor in the late 90s.  Alas, like Ginny Harvey Dawson, Ann succumbed to cancer this last year (http://wp.me/p5MkOP-4B).  I’m not sure if their paths crossed at UMass Boston; the connection to Smith ‘72 was only made at the memorial event, as we sat around trestle tables in the hall next to Ginny Dawson’s New Hampshire church.

Evelyn Brown writes: 

I have been volunteering with Operation Gratitude (operationgratitude.com) since 2010. This year, as last, I am also the coach for their charity running team in the Los Angeles Marathon. This year, the team challenged me to put my feet where my mouth is, and “coerced” me to sign up for my very first full marathon — yes at this age! I have done 50 half marathons, so why not just do two halves, both on the same day, without stopping in between! As I said, it’s a charity team, and I am fundraising. Any encouragement you can send my way will be greatly appreciated. Here’s the link to my fundraising page. https://giving.operationgratitude.com/fundraise?fcid=727345

I continue to be on the board of the Smith College Club of Los Angeles, again as membership co-chair. It’s a fun job and a great way to stay connected with the local Smith community.

Rebecca  Frantz Christiansen sent this first-time news:

Out here in the western suburbs of Chicago (in the tiny burb of Warrenville), I am enjoying retirement, although I still do a little database design for one of my favorite customers.  Most of my time this fall was spent buying apples, drying apples, contemplating how to keep racoons out of the basement, and wondering if we will use the snow blower this winter – I bought it last year when there was no snow. There is also some time for writing, as well as learning Swedish, although I have no reason to learn Swedish except that it sounded like something to do. And the only trip I’ve taken recently has been in a diving bell using my offsprings’ VR headset, and I thank them for the kindness in not allowing the shark attack to happen. I think I need to get out more.

A note from Marilyn Gepp Clark: 

Please note that I plan to attend our class’s Reunion next May, and look forward to receiving more information about it in due course.

Elizabeth Anne Delman owns a math tutoring business, and tutor math full time. She’s deeply concerned about the decline in American education and the deterioration she witnesses every day in the quality of learning in our country.  She is in the midst of writing a book about this downward trend, entitled: American Education on Life Support: Its Impending Demise. 

Elizabeth plans to attend our reunion, and hopes that many of her Haven House roommates will also attend.

Ann B. (Amby) Drake asked that this be shared with her classmates: 

Mary Lindley Burton had breakfast with Amby Drake in Boston in September, and reports that Amby is doing well with a case of bi-polar illness that she has suffered with since 1972.  After working at Crate & Barrel and Talbots Kids for many years, she moved from Beacon Hill to an assisted living facility in the South End of Boston, where she contributes to the life of the community in myriad ways.  For twenty years she has raised money for the AIDS Walk in Boston, and is a wonderful letter-writer.

Jane Wierdsma Forbes is the proud mother of chef son, James Forbes.  Together, they started a company called North Country Charcuterie. They make very high quality cured meats, like salami, pancetta, and coppa, that are sold at farmers markets and marketed to restaurants and retail stores in Ohio. By Reunion time, Jane hopes North Country Charcuterie products will be available across the country! She’ll bring some along for happy hour!!  www.northcountrycharcuterie.com.

Ellen Glew writes:

I am headed to Newport this weekend to meet up with Kathy Teichgraeber Merrill, my suitemate from Albright House.  Looking forward to it, as Kathy has been living in London for some 30 years, and I have not seen her in a few years.  She bought a lovely historic home in Newport as her pied-a-terre here in the US.  If Kathy agrees to it, we will take some selfies to share.

Update: At 66, divorced now 10 years, happily single, had my two daughters at age 39 and 43, so am still finishing up the parenting process—does it really ever end?  I am still working full time, self-employed  in insurance sales, no retirement yet for me.  My older daughter is finishing up at Harvard Law this coming May and will be headed to NYC to work in criminal defense for Cooley Manion.  My younger daughter  has 2 more semesters to go to complete her BFA in graphic design up in the far reaches of northern Vermont at Johnson State.  After graduation, she is planning to relocate to an East Coast urban setting, work for a year and then pursue an MFA.  My plan is to downsize, simplify in the next year, sell my home in N Reading, MA (where I have lived for past 34 years) and make my home base Harpswell, Maine, where I have a second home on Casco Bay.    

Olivia Henry sent this:  All is well in NH. I love retirement. My spouse, Tom Gurshin, is doing some law and performing as a singer songwriter. I volunteer in Canterbury, sing in a choir, stay active with Zumba, aerobics, yoga, hiking, love to photograph and travel. Last year, I saw lots of friends and relatives in New England, VA MD, NV and out west in CA, where I spent much of the winter. We visit our son, Tim  Jr, who is a 24 year old mechanical engineer, on the Orion Space Mission project at Lockheed Martin, in CO, 2-3 times a year. We love to hike, ski together. I visited Alaska in summer 2016 for the first time and saw bears, whales, glaciers, ice cave. Did a bunch of hiking and kayaking. The first week, I was on a Smith trip and loved meeting new people..

In March 2016, Marguerite McDonald and husband, Peter Zeitzoff accompanied their son, Thomas Zeitzoff, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at American University in Washington, DC.  They went to Israel where he gave an invited paper at Haifa University. Maggie wrote: It was a tremendous thrill and honor to see our son in his element. We also toured Israel, which is an unbelievably fascinating country. Thomas was married in 2015 to Jocelyn Miller in Chicago. Our oldest son, David Zeitzoff, formerly an Assistant Prosecutor in Union County NJ now in a private firm in NYC, is engaged and will marry Miranda Martinez in January 2017. We are thrilled!

Like a lot of you, I had the sad responsibility for coordinating the care of my older sister, Karen, who died this past March. I try to find joy every day, and am retired from paid work. I spend my time watercolor painting, writing memoir and fiction, playing tennis, and volunteering. My husband is still working, as he really enjoys his technical work. We get to travel and feel very grateful. Looking forward to seeing my Smith friends at our 45th!

Ann Chipley Playe sent this: My husband Steve Playe (Amherst ’71) and I continue to live with our widowed daughter Eden (Amherst, ’02) in Chicago, helping to raise her son.  Little Max is now five and we have been co-parenting him with his mom since he was 7 months old. The reason for our living as an extended family is a sad one. A much beloved son-in-law, husband, and father died too soon but the silver lining is that all of us love our little guy so much, and enjoy being together. We traveled with our daughter and Max, and our son Erik and wife Kelly to visit relatives in Sweden this summer, followed by a week in Vilnius, Lithuania. This summer my husband and I,  Eden and Max, went to Prague and then to Poland to visit our niece who is living in Warsaw with her family. In less than a week, Steve and I will leave for Cali, Colombia, where our son and his wife are teaching in an international school for two years. I have always wanted to see the Andes so this trip will help knock something off my personal bucket list. My husband and I and our son and daughter-in–law are all birdwatchers and looking forward to a visit high in the Andes to Salento, a bird watching haven. We still have a house in Florida (only minor hurricane damage from Matthew) and now that Max is in school five days a week, we can be there more often to see the many friends we lured down to our little barrier island community, the Hammock, close to the city of Palm Coast on the Atlantic side of North Florida (where hurricanes hardly happen–before Matthew, there had not been major hurricane damage for 118 years!). Bonnie Beaver Roberts enjoyed a hiking trip in the Alps at the end of summer with a few days in Helsinki, Estonia and Geneva.  Another trip is planned for Chile, including Easter Island in February.  Bonnie is working part-time and honing her golf game.  Still no sons-in-law or grandchildren

Patricia Younger Smith fills us in on the past year-plus:  I have been retired for a year and a half and haven’t looked back once.  It’s so refreshing to control one’s own schedule and to not have the pressures of work.  I’ve filled my time with bridge – have seen Thayer Longfellow Baine several times at the duplicate bridge table – and I’m volunteering at our church.  I’ll be taking over Treasurer responsibilities at the church in early 2017.

We’ve also been traveling and plan to continue to do so in the coming year.  In January, husband David, son Andy and I went to Hawaii and had a wonderful time on a Road Scholar tour of four islands.  Coming home was a challenge as our return flight was scheduled to land on the January Saturday when DC received 30 inches of snow.  It took two more days to get home, but we certainly did not mind the extra day in Waikiki.

David and I went on a Rick Steves tour of Scandinavia in July and August.  It was a wonderful trip with a fun group.  We toured Sweden (Stockholm and Kalmar), Denmark (Copenhagen and Aero Island) and Norway (Copenhagen and Bergen).  David and I spent three days in Iceland before the tour, sightseeing around Reykjavik.  Charming little city and beautiful natural sights.  We hope to take another trip in the spring but haven’t finalized location yet.  I’m looking forward to our Reunion in the spring.

Joanie Speers writes from London that she can’t get to the 45th reunion, which is a shame.  She was intrigued by the article in the quarterly by the person who went to her first reunion, the 45th.  She has yet to make one…

Her news: 

Within ten months each of my three daughters produced a child, so I am now a totally obsessed grandmother of four: three in London and one in Sydney (just so far away).  I am trustee of four charities, one of which I set up and ran for eight years.  Two are building preservation trusts in Wales, one is a cancer care charity and one takes classical music into primary schools. As a result of looking after my mother for several years, I also volunteer on a help line that supports unpaid carers, and I help people plan for the last years of life. Although technically retired, I am busier than ever and really enjoying life.  After endless debates, I finally gave up my American citizenship last year and became a British citizen. Considering all that has been going on here, in the US and around the world, I don’t really know where I belong! Sadly I won’t be able to join everyone for our 45th, but maybe the 50th

Sec. Stefanie Solnick Cargill, 1224 E. La Jolla Drive, Tempe, Arizona  85282, rhpt70@cox.net