1979 Class Notes for 2021
Greetings, Class of 1979!
What a year 2020 was. It feels like 10 years, not just two, since we celebrated our 40th reunion. It was great to hear from so many of you. As usual, Kathleen “Kathy” McGowan Capelle (Homosassa, FL) was the first to report in. Here’s her news: “We have indeed been living through interesting times. After enjoying my daughter’s and her family’s presence in FL for these past eight years, they are getting ready to move to the Alexandria, VA area as she accepted a Senior Data Engineer position with Booz Allen. Luckily, my son and his family are staying here in FL so will still have access to three out of five of our grandchildren.” Kathy still has her practice, Citrus Calm Mind Therapy. She stays active in her local community theater, where she is on the Board of Directors at a local community theatre and just finished directing “Mamma Mia!” She and husband Tom are enjoying a low-key life in Florida.
Mary Wolfe Sullivan (Norwood, MA) took the majority of the 2020-2021 school year off from her job as a second-grade teacher, although she was looking forward to returning on April 26, 2021. The time off “has provided me with time to determine that I am not ready to retire and that I miss teaching. I have spent the time with my kids, helping with grandkids (almost eight of them and one is due in November).” She drove out to visit her mother in Chicago twice and has done lots of yoga, walking, reading, cooking and enjoying her time off. All four of her children are fine and doing well. Photo: The extended family of Mary Wolfe Sullivan (directly behind her mother) celebrated her mother’s 90th birthday in 2019.
Elizabeth “Lisa” Mooney Bower (Falls Church, VA) wrote to say that everyone in the Bower household is fine and has received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. “We are beginning to feel a bit of independence finally,” Lisa said. “I have been teaching in person since the start of the school year. I teach at a small private school so keeping the students socially distanced has gone relatively smoothly. Everyone must wear masks, we take temperatures, and the desks are surrounded by plexiglass. For the second year in a row, I have taught a mixed-grade classroom of second through fifth graders. Think one-room schoolhouse and “Little House on the Prairie.” Lisa has no plans for retirement just yet, but her husband Bruce is talking about it. He has been working from home since the start of the pandemic and is happy not to have to jump on the metro each day. The couple lost their beloved dog, Ella, last December and are going to look at rescue Labs this summer. “Let me know if anyone has a line on a dog!” she says.
It was good to hear from Susie Hayes Long (Derwood, MD). “Go figure that a highlight of this year is to celebrate receiving two doses of [the Covid-19] vaccine. Actually, we were pretty lucky to be able to go for groceries and enjoy the outdoors. We were blessed not to have anyone close hospitalized.” Husband Joe is still working, albeit virtually. Susie’s volunteer activities continue, although the larger events like the Salvation Army Fashion Show now have been postponed twice. She’s enjoyed doing little projects around the house. Painting porch wicker was “actually relaxing.” Sons Roland and Braden are well and single. Roland is in Charleston, working as a stone carver on various restoration projects. Braden is doing computer work and helping Joe while living at home and saving to leave the nest. “Thinking of those crazy times we shared and flabbergasted that we are now as old as those little ladies we giggled about seeing at those first reunions,” she adds. “Looking forward to hearing how everyone is doing.”
Marie Murray (Charlestown, MA) had an unfortunate incident in her apartment building earlier this year. An upstairs neighbor’s plumbing went awry and flooded her new bathroom (literally, hours away from completion of a renovation). The damage caused her to move to a nearby Airbnb and she hopes to move back in mid-May. Otherwise, all is well and she hopes to get her second vaccination soon.
Elaine McDermott Carey (Hyannis, MA) is glad to report that her family made it through the year of Covid healthy and now all vaccinated. Her oldest, Alecia, her husband and daughter moved from their Boston apartment to their Cape Cod cottage a year ago and won’t move back to Boston until September 2021. Elaine’s son, John, stayed mostly at his house on the Cape and her youngest son, Patrick, transferred jobs to Miami but spent a lot of time working remotely from Cape Cod. “We had a happy little Covid-free bubble. All of my siblings live near me, so we saw a lot of each other. Alecia’s family, Dave and I rented a house in Miami for February to capture winter-time outdoor living and it was great. I keep in touch with Laureen McDermott, Catherine Foley, Mary Donnellan-Strout and Patricia “Patty” Moore.”
Elaine reached out and got Mary Donnellan-Strout (Chelmsford, MA) to write in. “We felt very blessed to make it through (the last year) health-wise and also to welcome two new granddaughters, born 48 hours apart but worlds away. Bianca was born July 11 in Rome, Italy to our daughter Amanda, and Lucy July 9 in Wenham, MA to our son Alex.” Mary hopes to travel in May after she’s vaccinated to see their Italian family after many attempts to travel were delayed because of Covid and lockdowns. “My design work has kept me very busy during this time as so many of us have felt the need to refresh our surroundings,” she says. “I keep in touch with Elaine, Laureen, Catherine and Patty and I am so looking forward to seeing the girls in the near future!”
Catherine Foley (Bronxville, NY) also got a nudge from Elaine, and wrote to say that, while Covid has been difficult in many ways, it was a blessing for her family. “Our grown-up boys and their families joined us at our house in Wyoming to pass the summer of 2020. We managed to set up remote workstations for all with success! We all shared the cooking and got plenty of exercise fishing, hiking and biking. Our oldest son and wife are still here. They arrived with two children and now have three! Needless to say, we have so enjoyed spending time developing really lovely relationships with our grandchildren.” Photo: Catherine Foley (left) and her family spent the summer of 2020 at their house in Wyoming, where they celebrated many birthdays, including a third grandchild.
Nancy Neufeld Fallone (Arlington, VA) summed it up nicely in her letter: “It has been less than two years since we were all together but it seems much longer than that. The few months after our reunion were fun with visits to family, Joe’s 40th reunion at the Naval Academy and our trip to Europe to hike Mont Blanc. Once the pandemic hit, we only once ventured more than an hour from home. We are so lucky to have our children and grandchildren close by and last summer we welcomed a new member to the family, little Emma Josephine, our daughter, Nicole’s first. We’ve seen lots of Emma since her daddy had to go back to the office and mom is trying to work remotely. Nicole’s “office” is our dining room and Emma is here five days a week. Both Joe and I are still working here from home but since I’m only part-time, there is lots of time to snuggle with Emma. All of us have remained healthy so, despite these difficult times, we all feel quite grateful.” Once Nancy and Joe are fully vaccinated (May 2021), they hope to hit the road and visit her sister and brother-in-law in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
I have to echo my classmates’ sentiments about the past year. I’m grateful everyone in my extended family stayed healthy and that Barry and I are both fully vaccinated (though expecting to need booster shots down the line). Just before the pandemic caused lockdowns, Claire Rabion Laveglia (Wilmington, DE) and I visited Bernadette Preston (Columbia, MD) and her sister Mary Catherine at their condo in Clearwater, FL. It was a great time and good to have some happy memories to look back on as the year dragged on. Our youngest, Fiona, graduated from Catholic University last May, but like most graduates in the Class of 2020, it was remote. (Shout out to Eileen Sergison Vogel’s daughter Annie, who also graduated from CUA last May!) Perhaps because everyone got so used to working remotely, I was able to land a new job this past March (2021) that I’m enjoying thoroughly. Barry doesn’t plan to retire any time soon, so I’m going to keep going, too!
Stay healthy and safe, everyone! We have a reunion in three years!