Winter 2015

Julie C. Arnold’s daughter, Sarah Ricciardi, graduated from Univ of Connecticut law school in May, and won 3 prizes in the process, has 2 articles published, took NY and NJ bar exams in July (results pending). The two of them are spending a week in England, mostly in London, but with the requisite visit to Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey). They also went to Bath and Oxford.

Meanwhile son Benjamin is in Berlin for 2 months improving his German as part of his PhD studies at Northwestern. Julie still works at the Southern Nevada Senior Law Program, and is training and showing standard poodles in obedience and other performance events.

Susan Begg wrote: My marriage originally scheduled for the month of July is finally set for Sept. 4th. It is my first, I might add 🙂

Elaine Bromka’s play TEA FOR THREE: Lady Bird, Pat & Betty will be published this fall. She’s taking it to the Eisemann Center for the Arts in Richardson, TX in Nov. Elaine is also deliriously happy with being a grandmother!

Photo Evelyn G Brown Running 081115 - SAQ Winter 2015Evelyn G. Brown has been traveling a lot with her life partner, Bill Martin, mainly so she can run half-marathons and to dabble in her photography hobby. Recently, she’s run races adjacent to our National Parks. She reports that she “can’t picture myself slowing down just because I signed up for Medicare!”
Also: A photo of Evelyn running in Jackson, WY, and the Grand Teton NP.

Photo Helen Marvel Strong and Betsy Delman 05-02-2015 - SAQ Winter 2015

Elizabeth Anne (Betsy) Delman’s math tutoring business continues to successfully thrive, mostly due to the declining level of American education, particularly in the areas of math and science. This will be her last year of full time tutoring, despite the fact that she absolutely adores what she does. Her new priorities will be time with her son and his family, traveling, gardening, working out, and reading that pile of great books which await her! She keeps in regular touch with Sue Lopez Woodrow and Helen Marvel Strong, and truly look forward to their next reunion. When on her cell or texting,she can’t help but think back to when we had one “corded” black phone in the “phone room” in the middle of hallway of Haven House on which to place calls — through the campus operator yet!
Also: A photo of Betsy Delman and Helen Marvel Strong when Helen and her husband were in town for a friend’s wedding in May 2015.

Claudia Ferrante Re writes:
This is the first news update I have ever sent to the Alumnae Quarterly; It was about time!
I have been a teacher/Science Department Chairperson for Great Neck South Middle School here on Long Island for the last 22 years, and have now officially begun my last year in that position–I’m retiring in June. I just returned from a wonderful trip to Portland, Oregon where my daughter, Dana Re’02 and my granddaughter, Rivera (class of 2031?) live. I’m looking forward to beginning new challenges next year when September rolls around and I don’t have to go back to school!

Diane St. Cyr Francis turns 65 in July and is now on Medicare. Time does fly by!! Her husband and she are the parents of 2 grown daughters. Their older daughter Anne is engaged to be married next year, in Boston, MA. Younger daughter Hillary is married and expecting her third child. Although retired after 33 years of teaching high school chemistry, life stays busy and interesting. Diane takes aerobic classes and loves to travel with a friend.

Ellen Glew has been  “single/divorced” for last 9 years, half empty nesting, still living in N Reading, MA. Older daughter (Stephanie) is in 2nd year of law school at Harvard Law, close by, so she pops in and out; younger daughter, Kim, is up at Burlington College in VT, studying graphic design. She anticipates moving either back to MA or to our second home in Harpswell, Maine in a year to finish up her bachelor’s in interior architecture. Ellen is still working full time, self-employed, as a district sales manager for American Family Life Assurance (AFLAC, the company with the duck spokesperson). She expects to slow down in June 2019, her 10th anniversary with the company, but anticipates continuing to work part-time beyond that, so she will have more free time to enjoy family, friends, traveling, and spending time up in Maine.

Joanne Griffin plans to go to Boston to spend some time with Jan Riley Freddo and attend the International Women’s Forum Conference. Jan has relocated back to the Boston area from Canada. They met on the first day of their move into Morrow House and have stayed best friends since! Joanne will be going to Sanibel, Florida in February and hopes to put together a mini-Reunion in preparation of our 45th. She would love to hear from any members of our class who will be in that area then and want to enjoy the party.

Susan Griss had a landmark birthday: she just turned 65! Can’t quite believe it; life is full. She’s still trying to bring dance to the world by teaching academic curriculum through movement (and training classroom teachers to do the same), by teaching dance classes to elders in a senior residence, and bringing dance into Bedford Hills Correctional Facility – all for many years. Her book Minds in Motion is still selling, including internationally, as she found out at a dance educators conference in Copenhagen this summer. Continuing to fight racism in our nation as co-founder of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation Task Force to End the New Jim Crow, she recommends that everyone read Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book The New Jim Crow.
Her twins are now 28 years old. Jonah is a radio DJ hosting a morning show in Santa Rosa, and Zoë is married and a social worker in South Carolina. Both are too far away from Susan’s home in the beautiful mid-Hudson Valley. My latest adventure is spending a week with her husband on a 30 foot boat they rented from Locaboat, traveling along the canals of Holland for a week. Neither of them knew anything about boats, and so it was a huge learning curve as they slept, ate, and negotiated bridges and locks along with the ducks and swans. Still in love after 41 years! Newest hobby is playing and studying the electric bass. She’s in a 5-piece band with her guitarist husband.

Photo of Susan Griss replenishing her boat with drinking water in Holland this summer.

Like many classmates, Cordelia Leister Hill is changing from a full time professional to occasional consulting work for her landscape architecture firm, Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey. She was lucky this year to have her favorite project completed- Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto- a playground for children of all abilities. She is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, who has been retired for two and a half years, and her first grandchild.

Susie Hunter had a wonderful day in May when Emily Parkhurst drove up to Princeton, NJ, where Susie was staying with her middle daughter and her brand new baby boy. Emily and she hadn’t seen each other in a while so they had a great time catching up, and she was able to share her newest grandchild with Emily. Susie is living the retirement life in residence only; she and her husband split their time between Manchester, VT and Vero Beach, FL. It seems Susie is busier than ever serving on Boards of Trustees at various educational institutions and the fantastic Library/Community Center they built here in Manchester. Board work keeps her intellectually stimulated and ever fascinated by the unexpected events that can arise in the non-profit world! They are also traveling as much as they can tolerate, balancing places she wants to go, and those her husband prefers: “A Religion major and a former lawyer have distinctly different bucket lists! Keeps life interesting, to say the least.”

Photo Kitty Lansdale and friends touring the Aqueducts in Ancient Rome - SAQ Winter 2015Kitty Susan Lansdale’s update:
2015 has been a year of business transition, downsizing at last, and moving my special events office home. I am now loving my metamorphosis and new life in old surroundings. No more full-time employees, but a fabulous virtual associate/consultant who keeps me on my toes. It’s a lot more fun this way.

Turning 65 was part of that journey, which was not nearly as bad as I imagined. I celebrated with 2 weeks in June, traveling with dear friends to London and various places in Italy, including Rome and Tuscany.

I have been in close touch with fellow Smith alum, Cynthia Moss’62, who has dedicated her life to saving elephants in Kenya. She is a real hero. Many of you may have heard of her Amboseli Elephant Research Project at Amboseli National Park in Kenya. I wish there was a way that Smith College could do more to support her. The effort to save endangered animals has received a lot more attention since the death of poor Cecil.

Photos of Kitty Lansdale:
Final Farewell to the old office – closed down so Kitty can work from home
Kitty Lansdale and friend at Berkeley Hotel in London
Kitty Lansdale and friends touring the Aqueducts in Ancient Rome

Nancy McPherson married “Minute Man Air Field” in 1977 (the Air Field owner, Don McPherson). Shortly thereafter, she took over running the 28-seat Café, in the terminal building, that her mother-in-law was retiring from. Since then she has been Chef/Proprietor for 28 years, taking off 10 years to raise their two children and take her Montessori Pre-Primary training. In 1996, she took up the reins again with Linda Hathaway, Ada Comstock Scholar ’90, her neighbor, walking buddy and friend, as Nancy’s partner. Because Linda is from a seventh generation farm family in Stow, Massachusetts, they decided to focus on locally sourced ingredients to support family farms. The menu drew from her “taste memories” from having lived in Baghdad, Geneva, Switzerland, Paris (Jr. Year Abroad), and other travels.

“The Café was an instant success! Our four collective children, worked with both moms (soon “Linda” and “Nancy”), to avoid confusion. After the first year, fulfilling her commitment to the project, Linda left to follow in her Grandfather’s footsteps as Town Clerk of Stow, MA. I have continued to grow the business to 75 seats, putting in a herb garden and terrace, building a wood-fired pizza oven and more. Nancy’s Air Field Café has been featured on “Chronicle”, an evening magazine on Boston’s WCVB-TV channel 5, and Phantom Gourmet, another Boston food television channel. Nancy’s has also appeared in EAA’S magazine “Sport Aviation”, “Yankee Magazine”, “Edible Boston” and was most recently awarded “Best Breakfast-Nationally” in the $100 Hamburger website which is devoted to bona fide airport restaurants around the USA.”

“An Art History Major, really a sculptor at heart, I now play with food, free to create new dishes whenever I want. I support local artists who display their work on the Café walls, keeping me in touch with other artists. We do the best we can in New England using local ingredients, extending their seasons by pickling, freezing or making them into pesto. Local bakers, maple syrup producers and Linda’s uncle Skip, a shepherd, provide us with other ingredients. I love my work, if you can call it that, the farmers and the locals that frequent the Café.”

“I think folks today are losing touch with their communities. Most New England towns have lost their “dumps” and even recycling centers where we all used to meet on Saturdays. Linda and I had hoped that the Café would become a gathering place for neighbors to meet each other and connect with folks from the “other side of town”. It looks like, after almost 20 years, we have succeeded. What a fun life I have.”

Genie Dudding Short entered a new phase of life following husband Gary’s retirement from his Jones Day law practice on December 31, 2014. Gary is thoroughly enjoying the increase in leisure time and our travel schedule has expanded significantly.

They are on their second road trip of the summer, trying to successfully avoid the Dallas heat…a 3 week trip to CO, Jackson Hole/Yellowstone, Reno, and CA. The CA portion of the trip takes them to visit daughter, Daelyn & son-in-law, Jonathan, at their San Francisco home and mountain cabin in northern CA.

All three of their adult children, Daelyn, Eric, & David are doing well. Eric lives nearby in Dallas, David in NYC, and Daelyn in CA. They get together at different rendezvous spots as schedules permit. No grandchildren yet….

On a sad note, Genie was greatly saddened to hear about the loss of classmate Susan Garber from Talbot House representative, Anne Lemmon. Genie sends condolences to all that knew Susan as we remember and give tribute to such an incredibly intelligent, independent-minded, zany, and kind-hearted woman. We were blessed to know her and mourn her passing.

Professionally, Genie will continue to teach economics at SMU in the Fall Semester which remains a source of enjoyment.

Pat Younger Smith retired from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., at the end of February. She highly recommends retirement, for the instant reduction in job-related stress, if nothing else. However, things do not always go according to plan. She had visions of bridge and photography classes, hiking and enjoying DC’s sights with David, her husband of 41 years (who’s still working full-time), and tackling “stuff reduction” in my house.

Pat’s mom scheduled hip replacement surgery for April 8, and Pat found herself driving to Chattanooga, TN, to ultimately spend eight weeks on a cot in their two-bedroom retirement community apartment so that she could help her mom with rehab. Her elderly parents – mother 88, father 90 – both have dementia. Her dad has a particularly poor short-term memory, and for the three-plus weeks that Mom was in the hospital and residential rehab facility, he couldn’t remember where she was and why she was there. It was a daily conversation. He also lashes out irrationally, and Pat – the good little girl daughter – cringed when he blamed her for situations where no one was at fault. It was tough. She’s since updated her own end-of-life letter to ensure it covers both physical and mental conditions for which she wants her medicines discontinued and to let life run its natural course. Just because medical science and technology can prolong “life” (read “existence”) is not satisfactory for her. She wants some quality, and does not want to be a burden to her husband and son.

Pat’s brothers and she are now planning to move their parents to the Assisted Living facility of the retirement community. Mom is reluctantly accepting of the necessity; Dad does not understand nor accept the need. Anyone else feeling the squeeze of the sandwich generation? Her 26-year-old son is living in a townhouse with friends, but barely meeting monthly expenses with his retail job. He has one semester of college to his credit, and is convinced that he’s not cut out for academic work. She tries not to hover (he’s an only child) and is waiting for him to mature enough to recognize that the future economy will be even more knowledge based than it is now. He’ll have to get more education to have a secure future.

Other than that, Pat is healthy and working hard to hold off dementia by exercising both body and mind. She looks forward to traveling, volunteering, and just visiting with friends that she had little time to see while working. This sounds like a “woe-is-me” note, but she has much for which to be thankful.

Joanie Spears wrote: Since my mother died in 2012, I have become involved in promoting the work of unpaid “carers” (caregivers) and planning for the last years of life. I answer the Carers UK help line, giving listening support to carers, and volunteer for Age UK, encouraging people to write wills, lasting powers of attorney and advance care plans. I also sit on three charity boards and run our Welsh building preservation trust, Adfer Ban a Chwm, which is about to start working with the Brecon Beacons National Park. The best thing though is having a two-year-old granddaughter who is hilarious, and a second grandchild coming in December. My oldest daughter has lived in Yangon, Myanmar, for 2 ½ years, first to set up VSO and now helping the government write their education policy. My middle daughter is a cellist with bands, and works as a bookkeeper for art galleries. My youngest daughter just got her PhD in public health, is working on a teenage homelessness project, and having babies. I can’t believe that I have been living in London since graduating from Smith. Oh – and I just had a hip replacement…

Christine Marta Whitehead continues to practice divorce law in Hartford, CT. She lives on a farm with her significant other of 24 years, plus their dogs, cat, horses.
She writes: My first novel came out in 2009 called Tell Me When It Hurts and it features a Smith grad as my heroine. My second novel stars my college roommate.
My third novel, in editing, is historical fiction – yes – with a Smith woman as heroine, and a Hemingway connection.

Went to Paris last year and fell in love with the city. While I did my own Hemingway trail, I loved the food, the people, the beauty – all of it.
Saw fellow classmate, Jeanne Clark Cherner and her husband, Terry, last year; she is thriving in MN. We had a great mini reunion of two.

Longwood Gardens April 2015-Debbie GOrdon Wolk Lauran Boakes Yates, and Sharon Friedman Gordon - SAQ Winter 2015Debbie Gordon Wolk and husband Tom became grandparents for the second time in early April with the addition of a granddaughter. Their grandson is 2 1/2 years old. Debbie has been watching their grandson one day a week since he was 4 months old. Going forward she hopes to work out some regular arrangement for the two children. That will depend on the parents’ work plans and maybe her endurance!

Debbie continues to work half time, attempt to keep up with the gardening, and struggle mightily with her golf game. She recently got a Fitbit and is trying not to get obsessed with it. It is quite addictive.

The photo of Debbie Gordon Wolk, Lauran Boakes Yates, and Sharon Friedman Gordon was taken at Longwood Gardens on April 30. Lauran was back east from Montana where she moved a few years ago. This is our second or third time meeting at Longwood in the spring.