1963 Class Notes for 2015

Remember when our class day switched from spring to fall in senior year so we could study for comps? Well, here we are again, making changes, this time from a summer date for collecting class news to a winter date. I think we might need a little practice to get used to the new schedule as my mail box was a little light. For my first winter news gathering, I asked for Christmas memories and some of you obliged.

Pat Cliggett Vacca remembers a Christmas many year ago when she found the perfect gift for her mother, making it a very special Christmas for them both, and, more recently, the warmth with which her in-laws reached out to her the first Christmas after Fred died. Pat was elected president of the Widowed Persons Services of Montgomery County and is getting more accustomed to speaking in front of groups. She is working at de-cluttering after 40 years in the same house and enjoyed getting away to see family and friends in North Carolina and Philadelphia.

Shopping for new Christmas tree ornaments every year with her father is a cherished memory for Cathy Johnson, who still enjoys using the ornaments they chose together. “They are fading, but not the memories.” Cathy volunteers with a therapeutic riding program for disabled kids and finds keeping up with her house and garden takes up much of her free time.  She isn’t sure how many more years she’ll be able to get up on the roof to clean the gutters. What about us elderly snow shovelers in the Northeast this year!

Mary Miller Paskewicz is looking forward to the 100th birthday of her mother, Mary Driscoll Miller ’37 in June. I think Mary gets the prize for getting together with most classmates in the most different settings, although there is some stiff competition. She joined Joan Maffongelli UmholtzPat Horgan Lambert and Amelia “Amy” Alexander Lopano for two different mini-reunions then traveled to Michigan with Carol Lombardi Cozzolino. When she’s home in New York, Mary volunteers at the New York City Ballet and keeps busy with the activities of the Women’s National Republican Club and the Ladies of Charity. She spent time with Jack and Mary Jo Chapin Dranttel on a visit to Florida. Mary Jo is still basking in the memory of our wonderful Reunion. Her favorite Christmas memory comes from 1980, right after the birth of her youngest daughter, Jennifer. The Dranttels had had the foresight to enlist their three teenage children as elves on Christmas Eve, tasking them with assembly of all the toys and things for their new baby sister, while Mary Jo and Jack sat on the sofa supervising, wine glasses in hand. Jennifer will be starting studies at the School of Art and Design in Savannah, while the Dranttels’ oldest granddaughter will be getting married in April, leading Mary Jo to wonder whether she is not much too young to be a great-grandmother.

Carol Lombardi Cozzalino continues to enjoy bridge and classes at NC State. She finds bridge has been a good way to meet new people and keep up with friends. Still following the thread of Mary’s contacts, Helen Berzoski Cadden sees Mary at the Ladies of Charity and Boomers and Beyond meetings. Helen is currently chair of the book club for the Boomers. She spent part of the Christmas season with family and friends in DC and was with her son and his family for Christmas day. Her grandson (10) gives her a good excuse for exploring New York.

Hilda Basora King’s Christmas letter was full of celebrations and ski trips with family and friends. Hilda and Neal had 21 for Christmas dinner, embracing the idea of the extended family. Son Scott and his wife, Emily, have moved to a house less than a mile from the Kings, offering lots of baby-sitting opportunities with Reed (3) and Graham (1).

Nancy Leyendecker Kay enjoyed splashing in the pool with Elly Fiocchi Trianello,  Linda Lesko McCoy and Brenda Bennett Scannell at a 4th North mini-reunion hosted by Arlene Manos Hughes. Nancy had to cut the visit short to return to Toronto for tryouts for her Winter Tennis Team…of course, she made the team! Her travel plans focus on time with her kids and grandkids in San Diego and British Columbia as well as Toronto. Nancy keeps up with the grandkids’ reading, the Twilight series, Hunger Games, and Nancy’s favorite, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and follows her own literary interests by attending crime fiction conferences in the US and Canada.

Susan “Bonnie” Doherty Delay continues at Boston College 20 hours a week and is happy to have found a place of worship in Glastonbury Abbey. She occasionally sees Linda Lesko McCoy there as Linda’s daughter, Deirdre, and her family live nearby. She gathered with other classmates for lunch at Char Fitzmaurice Luddy’s in November and had no other words except that kids and grandkids are “well, happy and very busy!”

Sad news from Marion Dee Rogers, who reported the death of husband, Larry, after a short illness right before Christmas. Marion’s three daughters and grandkids are a source of support to her and, over the holidays, they recalled a cherished memory of Christmas past, when Larry dressed as Santa and popped out from behind the fireplace screen to surprise the grandkids.  Marion and Larry had planned on moving to Florida next year and Marion hopes to follow through with that plan as it is a place where they both had felt comfortable. Sue Hurley August valued the support of her Trinity sisters in times of need over the years and reports that she and Marty Murphy Schweiters reached out to Karen Strobach and Elaine Webber Billingsley who have both faced some difficult health issues in the past year. Sue spent four days in Schenectady with Mary Maroney Corman and notes they had a wonderful time just sitting at the kitchen table for hours, talking about life. The Schweiters celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year and Marty was also looking forward to a trip to Vero Beach to visit Marie Caruso Stiefel.

Mary Ann Erhardt Hauser and John traveled in Europe with their son and daughter-in-law to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. The trip was a nice ending to a year in which John also had needed medical treatment.

Eleanor Durkin Berger is pleased to report no changes, same family, home and part-time job, although, “it’s just that everything seems to take a little longer these days, so less is definitely more!” She reunited her far-flung family of twelve at Disney World last winter and also spent several weeks in the south of France and Paris. Eleanor included a photo of herself dwarfed by mountains of snow, perhaps that’s the theme of a winter class notes!

Mary Peterson Cushmac and George enjoy time with family, traveling a bit and participating in a fitness program with other seniors. Mary joined a weekly faith and fellowship program for women in her parish, Walking with Purpose. The program is designed for women of all ages seeking spiritual growth and enrichment. She finds herself looking forward to each week’s meeting and recommends it highly. Eileen Corey Sadasiv notes that her grandchildren, Arvind (14), Ravi (11), Ruari (10) and Tecumseh (4) are “taller, with more accomplishments every time we hear of them.” Her husband was in and out of the hospital a few times last year so he and Eileen celebrate each day.

Pat Hickman Livingston reported her own Christmas miracle—her husband Howard getting out of the hospital in time for a champagne toast of thanksgiving at the New Year. Kids and grandkids are doing fine.

Janice Nocera Fournier is enjoying retirement after 33 years at Yale. Her favorite Christmas memories, old and new, are the formal Christmas party that she and Dick hosted the first year they were married and the birth of her fourth grandchild, William Quincy, three days before Christmas in 2013. She babysits for William three days a week and marvels at how the old rhymes and songs come back. She keeps busy as lector, Eucharistic minister and hospital volunteer, as well as taking advantage of concerts and lectures as part of the Yale community. She’s extra-proud of daughter Liz, who was honored for her contributions to the town of Hingham, where she lives.

Ellen Malone Padden shared a Christmas memory of renting a remote cabin with her family and the pleasure of a simple celebration, enjoying nature and time together, making do with what they could find to make their Christmas special, in the days before family life was dominated by the electronics which bring us together and drive us apart. Ellen is another contented retiree.

Barbara “Barby” Donohoe Newton and her family came to visit a few times at the beach this summer. Her grandson Will is very proud of being the biggest baby ever born at the hospital in Providence and is a fine broth of a lad. Both Barby and Bill have been dealing with health issues, so I’m sure our thoughts are with them and all our ailing classmates.

Nancy Roach spent a couple of weeks with me in the spring and fall, slaking her thirst for life in the big city.  We spent a fun evening alternately reading entries from our diaries that we had kept during the summer we spent in Europe with Ann Davitt in 1965. We clearly had different recollections of the trip as Nancy’s diary entries made use of the cultural insights she had gained from Dr. Ellinger to guide our travels while I seemed more focused on, well, boys and beverages! Nancy continues to pursue her interest in things Irish at the Cape, although she spent a good deal of time snowbound over the winter. Some of her favorite Christmas memories are of the Well Sings at Trinity at Christmas, including the singing of Maybe it’s just too early in the game as a harbinger of the New Year. She claims to look forward to my singing phone call every New Year!

As for me, I’m still enjoying work but am thinking more of retirement in a year or so. I spent a week in Ecuador and the Galapagos, but managed to get back to New York in time for all the snow. Christmas memories…can anything beat waking up early on Christmas morning and the anticipation of running to see what was under the tree? In adult life, a new baby under the tree is always nice and this year it was Jesse Elian, a first child for my son, Michael, and a third grandson for me.

I guess it’s winter postcards for the Gold Class from now on…no more Gold Class Day in the spring for us! I can tell you now that next year’s question will have to do with the 2016 election, so pay attention, pick your candidate and be prepared! As always, thanks for the donations to the Class Fund, for your participation and your kind words. Trinity, our lives are living you.

Is mise,

Mary Alice O’ Dowd