1963 Class Notes for 2019

Gold Class of 1963

Golden Class 1963

Oh, Gold Class,

Another year, another chance to check in with our classmates.  Many of you took advantage of the opportunity to meet and chat in person at Reunion last year. For others, we’ll have to make do with this “virtual” reunion.  I also asked you to share your thoughts on whether the “golden years” have brought wisdom to us, golden girls, whether we really are older and wiser.

  Eleanor Durkin Burger enjoyed seeing so many classmates at Reunion and claims they have changed very little over the years.  She even reports a member of a younger class commented on how youthful our class looked….nice to hear!   She is enjoying retirement and the feeling of doing only the things she wants to do, which includes a reasonable exercise routine and time with friends and family.  Last summer, she and Paul visited Germany and Austria with their daughter, who had a Reunion of her own to attend in Berlin.  As far as “older and wiser, she would say “yes’, hoping that she has profited from experiencing life all these years, although she notes that the evening news doesn’t confirm that living longer confers wisdom on everyone!  For Pat Hickman Livingston, the heart of wisdom in the Golden Years is to focus on goodness, anything that encourages gratitude and light-heartedness, to avoid drowning in the tidal wave of negativity that can surround us.  She treasures the insight of author Anne La Mott:  “Laughter is carbonated holiness.”  Pat continues to give retreats and write for Catholic publications.  She is looking forward to the arrival of her second great grandchild/first great granddaughter. Eileen Corey Sadisav is proud and grateful to be a Gold of ’63 and marvels that God has given her so much, including a fantastic education and mostly the woman who guided us then.  She enjoyed Reunion, where she found President McGuire very impressive and Trinity very vibrant.  She tries to stay active and is confident that she can entrust the world to her children and grandchildren and that they will find new ways.

Marie Caruso Stiefel believes that we have had a more complete education, in part because we lived through such interesting times, including the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements, Vietnam, and  the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, as well as the more traditional sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  She leaves it to others to decide whether all of this has led to more wisdom.  She is having fun as a grandmother and is challenged by her role as President of the Laura Riding Jackson Foundation, focused on the preservation of the home of Ms. Jackson, a 20th century poet, as well as promoting  activities related to literature, philosophy, and history.

Carol Lombardi Cozzalino is also not sure whether older is wiser.  She was hoping to make life simpler for herself and eventually for her sons by moving into a 55+ community, but then found herself plunged into a complete renovation of her new home, while trying to time completion of that project to the sale of her prior home.  Despite all the delays, running around, and frustration, everything did work out as planned. Carol is happy with the end result but hopes to limit new experiences to the Lifelong Learning classes she has been enjoying for the last few years at NC State.

Cathy Johnson feels her choice of activities reflects growing wisdom, as she has given up cleaning the roof, but continues her volunteer work with special needs riders.  She’s enjoying the growth of her extended family which has expanded to the “great-great” level and has a “special occasion” greeting card list of more than 100! She feels sadness at the state of much of the world and has growing concern for our own country’s well-being.  Pat Cliggett Vacca continues to take an active role in the retirement community that has been her home for close to 4 years, serving as an Ambassador to potential residents, volunteering at the community thrift shop, and playing “Hand and Foot”, a card game which she describes as “canasta on steroids”!  She also coordinates monthly luncheons for a large group of seniors, but perhaps Pat’s most impressive achievement of the last year was losing 30 pounds through diet and exercise…that is an accomplishment!  She continues to treasure holidays spent with her in-laws and friends.

Kathy Mauceri Kelly expressed her happiness at being part of the Trinity family, especially the best part, the Class of 1963!  She admits to being older but has observed that being wiser depends on the day and issue.  Kathy notes that maintaining the ability to keep learning about ourselves and others keeps us going and that continuing to strive to function at our highest level is better than the fountain of youth in terms of achieving wisdom.  She enjoys time with her daughters, son-in-law and grandson and remains on the Board of a local mental health agency.  She is pleased to report that, despite Ms. Durbin pointing her out as a vivid example of what not to do in every sport, she actually plays golf and enjoys it!

Sad news from Joan Maffongelli Umholtz, who lost husband Warren, the love of her life, last April after 48 years of marriage.  Joan’s brother, Joseph, was helping her wind up Warren’s business and get her own affairs in order when he died suddenly just six months later.  Joan credits her strong bonds of friendship with her classmates as well as friends in her community for helping her get through some difficult days.  She believes we are older and wiser in terms of the strength and fortitude we developed at Trinity and as our lives have unfolded.  Mary Miller Paskewicz was with Joan when she met Warren so they felt a special bond and Mary and her late husband Tony enjoyed many good times with the Umholtzes over the years.  Mary’s mother, Mary Driscoll Miller, Class of 1937, also passed away last year, just a few weeks short of her 103rd birthday.  Mary and her siblings are grateful for their mother’s full life and for the many years they had her with them.  Mary continues volunteering with the NYC Ballet, the Ladies of Charity, and the Women’s National Republican Club (but, no, if you’re wondering, she didn’t!)  She notes that a good time was had by all at Reunion.  Helen Berezoski Cadden enjoys lunches and Ladies of Charity activities with Mary, as well as time with her family, although she adds that her grandson is now a teenager and seems to have less time for Grandma.  Helen laughs when she hears herself commenting that she wishes she had known at 70 what she knows now and considers herself at least more prudent, if not wiser.

Maureen Sullivan Koseff thinks she has gained in wisdom, especially when she compares herself to younger folks (even those middle-aged ones) or to things she hears and sees on TV.   She is sometimes amazed at how some people seem to think, and their inability to understand how the world really works.  Margot Shandoff Towl is also in the older and wiser column, noting that she is still involved in life and learning.  She enjoys seeing classmates at Char Fitmaurice Luddy’s home every January, with time spent catching up on each other’s lives as well as reminiscing about their time at Trinity and discussing a little politics.  “Without question, we are grateful to have shared our journey with one another and our other Trinity sisters.”  She enclosed a photo of Char, Sidney Galloway Woomer, Ann Frossard Pufall, Missy O’Brien Brown, Bonnie Doherty Delay, Marge Hilsinger Mulkerin, and Ann Davitt at their most recent gathering. Reunion confirmed for Joan Formato Ferrante that our gold never tarnishes and that five years is too long to wait, so she traveled to Cape Cod to spend time with Bonnie and Annie at Brenda Bennett Scannell’s lovely home.  Nancy Roach joined them all for the Campus on the Cape luncheon.  Joan knows we are growing older, but for her that is only a number and wisdom, with a large dose of LOVE, dominates.

Janice Nocera Fournier continues to enjoy babysitting for grandson William, who is at that lovely age, just learning to read, and also volunteers at a local soup kitchen. Like many of us, she has had to deal with the closure of her local parish and is now “bi-parochial”, attending her new merged parish as well as attending and writing for the journal at St. Thomas More chapel at Yale.  She traveled to Williamsburg and DC last year with daughter Liz and her family, enjoying the many fond memories brought back.  As for wisdom, she has learned that gratitude sustains and nourishes her and that simplicity is a gift as we age.  Mary Ellen Murphy Borja is working full-time in her law practice and is also mediator.   Three of her six children are in the DC area, which gives her an excuse to visit our old stomping grounds.  She is also active on Bar committees, sings in the church choir and loves solo road trips.  Despite having 12 grandkids and her first great-grand in January and what the calendar tells her, Mary Ellen doesn’t feel old.

Arlene Venneri Post was disappointed that so many familiar faces were missing from Reunion and by the sense that politics crept into every discussion and presentation, something we  experience too often in all sorts of gatherings, even family occasions, in these troubling times when differences in opinions can make people feel unwelcome.  She isn’t sure if age brings wisdom, but it has brought her a heightened awareness of the value of time and the need to treasure every moment, which perhaps is wisdom.  She enclosed a photo of her 10 beautiful grandkids, with the oldest off to college last September.

Kathleen McGovern McGuire notes that getting older is humbling, accepting that she was never as in charge of her life as she had thought she was, that all good things ultimately come from the Lord.  She sees her role now as ballast for her children and grandchildren, providing stability in a chaotic world.  She is grateful to her Trinity education for giving her the critical thinking skills to seek the truth daily and notes that our Catholic faith remains her firm foundation.   Her always roommate, Ellen Malone Padden, feels she has become wiser and better able to put things in perspective.  She is frustrated that we seem to struggle with the same problems in the world for decades without resolution, but that the vantage point of age may help us to see the swing of the pendulum in religion, politics, world view and lifestyle.  A broken ankle has Ellen hopping around and looking forward to regaining her independence in the near future.

Christmas brought the usual letter from Hilda Basora King, full of ski trips and good times with her sons, grandkids and Neal and Hilda’s extended family and family of friendsThe Kings keep very fit.  Hilda has been a fan of Jazzercise for 40 years and still likes jumping and shouting with all her friends every morning and sometimes twice a day, while Neal is starting his second year as a volunteer Park Ranger and hiked more than 1000 miles last year while helping other hikers.    

Dorothy Tanck de Estrada de Piernas and her family at Christmas in 2017- Junafer de la Cueva, Alonso Piernas, Jorge Piernas, Dorothy Estrada de Piernas, Mommy, Carmina with Alan Contreras, Marifer Estrada de Contreras with Matilda Contreras, Chewbacca, Monica Estrada de la Cueva with Joaquin, Elena Piernas with Isabel Estrada, Memo de la Cueva with Jimena de la Cueva

Dorothy Tanck de Estrada was another correspondent and sent a wonderful photo of herself surrounded by her four daughters, spouses, and grandkids.  She still writes and attends the occasional conference and, of course, Reunion!  Past roommate and Song Leader, Joanne Naegele, wonder how we got to this age so quickly and marveled at our journeys.  She is a little envious of the current crop of Trinity students, with such a different world open to them and also is proud of how Trinity has grown and become more relevant, educating a diverse population.

Mary Meehan moved to Western Maryland 15 years ago and enjoys the small town atmosphere and being near the Alleghany Mountains.  She’s still a freelancer writer, writing on local history and culture as well as being a regular contributor to the Human Life Review, a quarterly journal.   While she is not sure that we have all grown wiser with age, she does believe that we have grown in patience.  A last-minute note from Mary Peterson Cushmac, with no news, but a check.  Just a reminder for next year…I always give you a little leeway on the deadline, so even if you’re a few days/weeks late, drop me a line, or news can be sent directly to the college at https://www.trinitydc.edu/alums/class-notes-submission-form/

Looking at that, on second thought, maybe it’s easier to write to me!  Diane Lamothe McCoy believes wisdom comes through the acquiring of simple truths.  She felt so grateful to have been among you at Reunion and hearing the “shared spoken life stories of many honest and brave women, united in compassion and feeling our shared strength.”  She regrets that some of us were reluctant to attend earlier reunions, perhaps fearing judgment or doubting their relative value.  She feels grateful to have arrived at a place where she is able to speak her truth and is appreciative her parents’ gift to her of the Trinity education which has been a mainstay of her life.  All the trials and tribulations of life have led her to a place of contentment, with no regrets.  For Diane, opposition to legal infanticide and those who support it is a truth to live by.

Although I may be older and wiser, I don’t seem to be more organized and I’m always a little apprehensive that between the letters and the emails, I might have misplaced a few of you, not to mention the checks!  I noted in your letters more of an appreciation of the importance of good health, an awareness that is perhaps a marker of wisdom. Unfortunately Reunion just wasn’t in the cards last year as I was off to Italy a little later in June for both a medical meeting and a visit with friends.  In August, I met with Bonnie and Nancy on the Cape for fried clams…what else could it be?  Like Mary Ellen, I’m still working and still enjoying it although I can see retirement looming a little larger on the horizon.  Like Diane, I am amazed by your stories, by the courage which you all have brought to your lives…which is why I always end with the line from our Alma Mater,” Trinity, our lives are living you”, because I believe it, because I’ve been privileged to see those words lived every year through your letters.  That’s what makes being your scribe for 42 years (eek) an honor, to have traveled with you and witnessed your journeys.

Is mise,

Mary Alice O’Dowd
515 West End Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10024