1963 Class Notes for 2021
Oh, Gold Class,
What a year! 2020 and 2021 have presented challenges to all of us and I asked those of you responding to share some of your thoughts and experiences of the last year. This was the first year that the request for news came only through email and the time frame was abbreviated. I hope we can do a little better in terms of responses next year.
Susan “Bonnie” Doherty Delay is pleased that she has stayed healthy and socially distant and is hoping to get out a little more now that she’s vaccinated. BC called and Bonnie ended her second retirement. She is back working part-time in the world of computer programing and space weather. Grandkids are thriving despite dealing with COVID and quarantines. Bonnie met Janice Nocera Fournier at an on-line fundraiser for Hope Community, which was founded by Sr. Ann Kendrick ‘66 and other SNDs. She also found herself “somehow” in the role of Chair of the Glastonbury Abbey Institute, which puts on a yearly series of educational programs. The Institute and Bonnie had to make the leap into taking the program entirely virtual…a piece of cake, I’m sure, for someone used to dealing with “space weather!” She continues to enjoy occasional Zoom get-togethers with Margot Shandoff Towl, Margaret “Marge” Hilsinger Mulkerin, Missy O’Brien Brown, Sydney Woomer Galloway, Ann Davitt, Nancy Roach and Annie Frossard Pufall
Marion Dee Rogers settled in Florida after the death of her husband Larry several years ago. Over the past year, she has found great joy in a relationship with a gentleman who remains very active in his career as an architectural designer. Kids are all well with daughter Helen, living lakeside in Chicago. Brenda Murphy Fettig hopes we are all well and vaccinated. She notes the past year has been surreal on many levels but that all in her family survived and figured out how to cope. Her art played a major role in her own coping strategy and her year ended with the publication of a book entitled “Squiggling through Covid-19: How This Artist Kept from Going Nuts During the Pandemic!” Brenda enjoyed turning a time of challenge into an art project and was interviewed on PBS about the process. She and Jeff did break out of quarantine for a brief visit with their son in Grosse Point over Christmas. She notes feeling grateful for being in the Midwest during this time as the news from her native New York seemed so sad. Helen Berezowski Cadden, one of those besieged New Yorkers, notes she and her family just hunkered down and stayed safe. She made good use of Zoom for both education and fun!
The events of 2020 reminded Patricia “Pat” Hickman Livingston more poignantly than ever how precious “ordinary” life is and how interconnected we are with the whole human community. Pat is grateful that all her extended family stayed well and she, like many of you, is looking forward to gathering with family in the months ahead. Patricia “Pat” Cliggett Vacca will be eternally grateful to the staff at her senior retirement community who stepped up and took on a myriad of new roles to make sure all the residents remained safe and healthy, smiling through their masks as they did so. Fortunately, the community has its own television station, which provided a wonderful way to keep everyone informed and connected as well as providing stimulating activities for mind and body. The experience reminded Pat of the importance of socialization on so many levels, not just engagement in shared activities but even those every day casual contacts, which perhaps we didn’t realize were such a part of the fabric of our days until they were gone.
Our hearts go out to Mary Peterson Cushmac, whose son, Robert, died at age 44, during Holy Week. Bobby had suffered a spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle accident when he was only 10 and had accepted his disability, even at that young age, with an indomitable spirit. He led an accomplished and inspiring life and faced his death with grace and courage. Mary, George, and Bobby’s siblings, Anne, Ed and Michael feel blessed by God’s gift of Bobby’s presence in their lives. Mary and George have adopted Bobby’s dog, which gives them an excuse to get out and about. She met Constance “Connie” Urciolo Battle for a post- vaccination visit and is hopeful that she and her daughter Anne will be able to join parishioners from Connie’s parish in making the Camino de Santiago in Portugal this summer. Kathleen “Kathy” Mauceri Kelly doesn’t feel any older, except when she looks in the mirror or sees her 16 year old grandson towering over her. She continues to volunteer in her parish’s Social Ministries and is Secretary for a volunteer agency working to meet the needs of individuals with developmental delay, mental health and substance abuse issues. Kathy enjoys the continued opportunity to work with these populations, a mission that was for so long part of her life. She worries about the added challenges those with special needs face without the option of in-person learning, despite the boon Zoom has turned out to be for us all, and hopes we can all be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Eleanor Berger Durkin feels fortunate that she and her family are healthy and mostly vaccinated. The events of the past year have made her more aware of the role that privilege plays in our lives as well as the very real presence of inequality in our society. She keeps in touch with Cecilia “Ceil” Bicknell Chapman and her old roommate, Maria Masturzo Penman and looks forward to seeing them in person after these months of distancing. A Christmas letter from Eileen Corey Sadisav expressed her gratitude for being “safe, warm and dry with enough to eat, but….” she is reminded that human contact is so precious and Zoom gratefully employed, with such joy in small blessings, contacts with family and friends by internet and phone. Grandchildren are growing and flourishing, with milestones including a first Presidential vote and finishing high school. She ends her letter with the old Irish salutation, ”May we all be together next year.” In another Christmas letter, Hilda Basora King noted that COVID has made things a little dull although time for family dinners remained a source of pleasure. Hilda is grateful that everyone in her family is still working and still safe, even if the ski season was cut a little short this year.
Mary Ellen Murphy Borja is working full time, but her law practice has moved to 100% virtual. She had actually been thinking about cutting back and traveling to spend time with her six kids, twelve grandkids and two greatgrands. COVID made that a non-starter, so she’s still at work and actually looking forward to getting back into the courtroom. All of this has Mary Ellen describing herself as “masked, distanced, not traveling and sulking!”
My year, well, I was working remotely for three months due to COVID, which entailed quickly adopting a lot of technology (and I’m no expert in space weather!) so as to be able to care for patients safely. Upon returning to in-person work, I was informed that after 40 years I was being replaced by someone much younger (of course) and cut to half time. It was really quite shattering and since I wasn’t ready for either retirement or to stay in a place where I was not valued, I will be starting a position as Program Director for a new Psychiatry Residency in Portsmouth, NH, near where Barbara “Barby” Donohoe Newton and I spent so many happy childhood hours. We had always wanted to live here, sometimes life is funny that way. Kids are fine and vaccinated and grandkids are moving in that direction. And, yes, Hilda, I did go skiing and next year, lift tickets will be free when I turn 80…sort of a “good news, bad news” situation but better than the alternative. I keep in touch with Nancy Roach, who sold her home on the Cape and moved into a nearby Independent Living facility. She hasn’t had a chance to get to know her neighbors and take advantage of the opportunities for social activities yet due to COVID but is looking forward to doing so in the near future “and the food is good!” Good times with cousins remain a priority for the year ahead.
Like many of you, Ellen Malone Padden is looking forward to getting together with family later in the year. Let me close with some thoughts from Ellen, who started by noting that she had had a lot of time for introspection in 2020, time which had reminded her of how important family and friends become when externals are stripped away. “Home came to mean safety, a haven from harm. Meals became an activity, including planning and preparation. Neighbors became friendlier, waving, since smiles couldn’t be seen behind masks. Moments became precious, because we all knew they could end. People became so generous to those who lost so much. Let’s hope we remember all these lessons as we begin to resume some former activities. Let’s move slower and smile more.”
Catherine “Cathy” Johnson remembers her mother saying she would learn how to cook when she needed to and I guess this was the time for her. Cathy and her partner muddled through, despite the cuisine, and continue to focus on making good choices and staying safe.
A highlight of the year for Martha “Marty” Murphy Schweiters was a great welcome back to in-person church attendance, sharing the experience with a Rehoboth Beach neighbor, President Biden. Her personal blessings of the past year including relishing the memories of the trips, gatherings and performances enjoyed in more normal times as well as binging on the fun TV shows that she never had time for. Time with family in Maryland, Toronto, and Hungary had the drawback of being virtual but the advantages of no cooking and cleanup! Marty is looking forward to better times ahead for the National Symphony and the Washington Ballet, both of whose boards she sits on. She keeps in touch with Karen O’Brien Risher whose work with St. Vincent de Paul was more needed than ever, with so many families experiencing financial difficulties. Marty, Karen, and Anne Conroy Bader were looking forward to a “coming out” luncheon in April.
Thanks to those of you who figured out how to send your thoughts and checks. I hope we’ll all get a little better and remember to watch out for that email from Trinity at Class News time next year! If we don’t have your email address, send it to Trinity now! As always, you are the ones who write this letter and I continue to marvel at the women you are. Trinity, our lives are living you.
Mary Alice O’Dowd, M.D.