1963 Class Notes for 2018

Oh, Gold Class,

Well, here we are, back again. Class News has been a little irregular in the last few years and the college is trying out a new strategy to enhance communication, involving an online edition of the Class News as well as a print edition and this will be our first attempt. They will also be updating the online edition in real time so that news items or photos can be submitted on a more regular basis. Change is a challenge, so we’ll see how it unfolds. I asked you to share thoughts about other challenges in your life and I’ll start with my own … the new format was a challenge, so much so that I forgot to ask for contributions to the Class Fund. A few of you were sharp enough to remember … you know who you are and thanks for your perspicacity. For the rest of you … maybe next year.

Joan Haslinger Mohan reports that she is still teaching at Grinnell, where she is director of the Reading Lab and works with international students on English language proficiency. She enjoys the long breaks from school and contemplates retirement from time to time. Cathy Johnson continues her lifelong enjoyment of working with horses through her volunteer work with a therapeutic riding program. Sadly, her life partner has increasing memory issues and Cathy is facing the difficult task of learning to adjust to her partner’s ever changing needs. A long email arrived from Joanne Naegele, who shared a triple (eek!) in Main with Bonnie Doherty Delay and me many a moon ago. Joanne is hoping to come to Reunion and has fond memories of enjoying all that DC had to offer when she was in school, including regular trips to the symphony with her later roommate, Bettina DePaulo Jordan. She is still working full time as a psychotherapist and is active in training the next generation of psychoanalysts, noting that “looking inward and becoming aware of the unconscious is not especially popular nowadays.” Watching the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam brought back a lot of memories to Joanne and reminded her of the duplicity of those we trusted then. Joanne describes herself as “very much engaged in living,” despite having been a widow for seven years since the death of her husband, Bill, with whom she shared a career, as well as marrying into a family of eight grown children and now 19 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Connie Urciolo Battle sent a very glamorous photo from her 50th med school reunion at GW. She has some regrets about retirement, but is active on several boards that focus on disability issues and agencies, spirituality in health care, and the training of physicians, all of which give her some sense of making or helping to make things happen. Having more time is also a plus for Connie, who wants to make sure she has a good plan in place to ensure that her daughter will always be able to get the same level of care Connie has provided. Marty Murphy Schwieters will unfortunately miss Reunion as she will be on grandmother duty in Toronto, giving her daughter a chance to attend her 25th Reunion. She reports life isn’t slowing down as she is involved with a women’s giving circle in Annapolis, as well as the Kennedy Center and the Washington Ballet. Marty is also involved in raising money for the Sr. Margaret Claydon Scholarship. She keeps in touch with Connie and Joan Ferrante Formato in DC and with Silvija Kutlets Devine in Southern CA and sees Karen O’Brien Risher and Anne Conroy Bader occasionally. With all this, Marty’s biggest challenge is getting places on time, noting that since November 2016, it has been harder to focus on the positive goals in her life, rather than succumbing to the distractions of alarming political developments. Family responsibilities also will keep Carol Stann Scott away from Reunion as she had promised granddaughter Kristina (14) a trip to Maine to visit her cousins. Carol has been wrapped up in physical therapy the last few months but, other than that, she reports a good year, enjoying a visit to her brothers, which culminated in a drive the length of ME to see the fall colors. She is active in church, raising money for scholarships for women, and teaching Mah Jong.

Eleanor Durkin Berger is hoping to take part in Reunion. She notes getting through each day is her challenge as, despite good health, “old age doesn’t make anything easy.” She is enjoying one of the perks of being older, not having to get up and out on cold winter mornings since she retired from preschool last year. Dolores Gorsyca Springer will be missing Reunion for grandson Jake’s high school graduation. Husband Ron is still working part-time and Dee keeps busy with the Y, scrap booking and spending time with “the girls.” She had a great weekend visit from her roommate, Maureen Sullivan Koseff, and Al and wished it could have been longer. Many Springer family weekends revolve around soccer as granddaughter Evie is on her high school varsity team and Evie’s younger brother is also a promising player. Dee wishes school safety could be more of a priority for our nation.

Ellen Malone Padden is surprised at how quickly Reunion seems to come around, but she is hoping to combine Reunion activities on Saturday with a visit to her sister in VA. She included a quote from Longfellow that has inspired her to think about aging in a more positive manner:

For age is opportunity, no less
Than Youth itself, though in different dress
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars invisible by day

Ellen’s “stars” are small moments of happiness with the time to relish each one. She enjoys being on the board of her home association, monthly book club meetings (still going strong with the same members after 30 years), visits with friends in different parts of the county and helping with her grandchildren’s schedules and carpooling. She notes that she is supportive of the demands of youth that we pass laws to protect them and she hopes to be active in that campaign. Although Pam Peter Carlisle lives in AZ, she gets to DC occasionally to visit her sister. However, she also has a competing high school graduation that will probably keep her away from Reunion. Pam was only at Trinity for a year before transferring to GW for a degree program only offered there. She notes that at this age, her memories of her time at Trinity are few, but that she hopes much happiness has come to all of us. Pam has five children and nine grandchildren and is widowed after 51 years of marriage to a wonderful man. Carol Lombardi Cozzolino is looking forward to Reunion, especially to her favorite part, the Friday hospitality suite. She has enjoyed weeklong visits with Pat Horgan Lambert the last two years, with an easy sense of reconnection between them despite the years that have passed.

Ruth Ditchey Brill is grateful that there has not been much in the way of change in her family this year. As she sees growth in individual family members, she is grateful to those who came before us and who taught us to be grounded in faith, values and core principles. She notes that as citizens, we live in vulnerable times and can find wisdom in the words of Saints who lived through times of personal and national crises, quoting the words of Saint Benedict, who spoke of the individual challenge his monks and all of us face, “to live, to love, to die.” She also quotes from another sage, Dan Rather, who reminds us that we cannot forsake our core values even as we seek common ground with our fellow citizens. He goes on to speak of the importance, not only of creating the country that we wish our children to inherit, but also “… teaching them (and relearning ourselves) how democracy is rooted in civil activity.”

Hilda Basora King writes from CA where her son, Glen, spent many weeks fighting the terrible forest fires they experienced last year. Glen’s daughter, Taylor, has started high school where she is a cheerleader and younger sister Jessie will join her in high school next year. Hilda enjoys helping out a few days a week with her son, Scott’s two boys, Reed (6) and Graham (4). Ski trips to Mammoth with the whole family and with Hilda and Neal’s ski club are highlights of the year, as was a surprise 75th birthday party for Hilda in the fall.

Bonnie Doherty Delay advises me not to retire (that decision is another one of my challenges). Although her role as a docent at the BC McMullen Museum keeps her brain functioning and keeps her in touch with some lovely people, she still finds retirement a bit of a struggle. Kids and grands are doing well and Bonnie traveled last year to Scotland (the birthplace of her mother and another famous person’s mother!) to watch daughter Katie run in the Edinburgh marathon. She has become quite active in the faith community at a nearby Benedictine monastery where she bumped into Janice Nocera Fournier, who was in town babysitting for her grandkids. Another occasional worshipper is Linda McCoy Lesko, who travels from ME to visit her daughter, who lives nearby. Bonnie got together at Char Fitzmaurice Luddy’s for lunch with Margot Shadoff Towl, Marge HilsingerSydney Woomer GallowayAnn DavittMissy O’BrienNancy Roach and Ann Frossard Pufall, where much discussion of Reunion and the current political situation was enjoyed by all. Nancy’s continued enthusiasm for all things Irish keeps me informed, as did the recent biography of Saint Julie Billiart that she sent me … will be happy to pass it on to interested readers!

Diane Langlois anticipates that Reunion will be bittersweet without her old roommate, Ana Maria Peralta de Merida. They kept in touch after last Reunion despite Ana Maria’s failing health, until her daughter called to say that Ana Maria had died as the church bells were chiming on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with all her children at her bedside. Diane loves living in LA and cites a number of reasons: the spicy food, the strong Catholic presence and her own French-speaking background. One of Diane’s sons shares “les bon temps” in Lafayette with her, while her other two sons and her grandkids are a good excuse to travel to the West Coast every summer. Diane’s biggest challenges include figuring out how to feel safe in an unpredictable world and feeling optimistic for her grandchildren. She notes with dismay how the student lounges at her school are now completely silent, with each student in his or her own electronic bubble and she is frustrated as well by the political correctness that sometimes seems to seek to replace our own thoughts, experience, and beliefs. In the “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” department, Pat Cliggett Vacca finds herself tasked with winding down the affairs of the Widowed Persons Services of Montgomery County. Pat was the most recent past president and the organization had to dissolve after 38 successful years because of a lack of volunteers. She remains busy as resident ambassador for her continuing care retirement community and volunteers for a thrift shop within that community. Pat spent Thanksgiving with her late husband Fred’s extended family and Christmas on a cruise with her own extended family, instead of the usual holiday in OH. Speaking of vacation, Pat reminds us all to wear sunblock and not to skip dermatologist visits, although I think after all those wasted hours on the sundeck at Cuvilly, it may be too late!

A couple of people wrote just to update their email addresses. In this group were Rita Boneau Pawlus and Judith Glassco Humowiecki, as well as Sr. Agnes Rose McNally, who is now residing at Villa Julie. I also got one actual letter! Thank you, Mary Jo Chapin Dranttel, who blamed this technological lapse on husband Jock’s monopolization of the computer. The Dranttels have been on the move, going from their home in FL to a nearby condo, which they previously had as a rental, and getting an apartment in NC, to be near their oldest son Scott and his three children. The apartment serves as a summer getaway for Mary Jo and Jock. With a possible marriage in the offing for their oldest grandson, thoughts of great-grandkids are dancing in Mary Jo’s head. She sees the biggest challenge, for both church and country, is to connect with the poor and needy, seeing this as a political, spiritual and moral issue. Mary Jo tries to do her bit and is still leading a weekly Bible study group, although she has given up her nursing home ministry. A last minute email from Eileen Corey Sadisav, whose grandson’s high school graduation will take place after Reunion, so Eileen plans to be in DC for our 55th. She is disappointed that Mary Jane Sams Bentz and Louise Racey Burns will be unable to attend. Eileen remains grateful to the good sisters and Trinity for her education. She is also grateful that her children and grandchildren are thoughtful and moral and trusts that the Good God will see a way for them. She is also “reasonably content” to leave our country in the hands of that same Good and all-wise God.

As for me, I am still working full time and enjoying it, though more time for other things would be nice. Grandsons Ace and Asher will be marching with me in the St. Patrick’s Day parade this year, carrying the banner of the Celtic Medical Society of NY…maybe next year for Jesse, who is only 3. My only adventure in 2017 was a trip to Mexico to see the monarch butterflies in their mountain wintering-over reserve, which gave me the opportunity to have lunch with Dottie Tanck de Estrada. Dottie’s husband Fernando had died suddenly shortly before my visit and Dottie was grateful that in the year before his death they had decided to sell their old colonial house in the center of Mexico City, and move to an apartment nearer to her daughters and their families. Three of her daughters are now nearby, but Dottie must travel to see her fourth daughter, who lives with her husband and children in Spain. Needless to say, Dottie and Fernando’s daughters are all very accomplished with amazing careers. Dottie is still working part-time and continuing her research and writing. Marian Dee Rogers is a Facebook friend, so I know she is enjoying more time in FL and spending time with family and friends in the last year or two since her retirement and Larry’s death. One last email arrived from Helen Berezoski Cadden, who is pleased that her 14-year-old grandson hasn’t yet outgrown being close to Grandma. She sees Mary Miller Paskewicz frequently for lunch and for Ladies of Charity meeting. She sees one challenge in the lack of federal money to improve and enlarge community colleges throughout the country to lift up both the young and the not-so-young. I also saw that Gail Reinheimer died in 2016. She was predeceased by her long-time companion, Jim Dwyer, and by her much loved pets, Percy, the upstairs cat, and Oliver, the downstairs dog. I know her last few years were not easy ones, but she kept her fighting spirit. When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?

I think we have all been thrown off a little by the irregularity in the schedule of the Class News over the last few years, so I hope getting back to a more regular schedule for our news will encourage more of you to write and share what is going on in your life, as well as your thoughts about this world or the next … and to send donations for the Class Fund! It is always so good to hear from you and, as always, I am humbled by the lives you lead. Trinity, our lives are living you.

Is mise,

Mary Alice O’Dowd, MD