Dear Class of 1967,
Our time here is getting shorter and more valuable. Having enough time is a challenge for me – and for some of you. But others of you have learned to balance the time in your lives.
From Kitty Taylor Mizuno: “I am still happily teaching English as a Second Language at a Camden City, NJ, elementary school from September through June, and also working with family on our organic pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farm in the summer. I feel very lucky to have these rewarding jobs.”
On a trip to Cuba in November 2008, Martha Beveridge found “wonderful people coping with difficult circumstances. A group from my Presbyterian Church in New Orleans goes once or twice a year, so I hope to return. We all hope and pray for better days to come.”
Susan Ames flew her plane to Vannes to spend the vernal equinox at the Golfe du Morbihan on the southern Atlantic coast of France. In May, she flew to Quimper in Brittany, and in June to an astrophysics meeting at the Chateau de Blois in the Loire Valley. In July, Susan made three trips – to a conference on dark energy and dark matter at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, to a conference on cosmic rays in Lodz, Poland, and to a colloquium at the old Observatory of Paris built by Louis XIV.
Another traveler, Mary Farrell, took a group of teenagers to France over spring break. “We had a great time, but I wonder if I’ll feel like doing it again in 2 years! Still dancing, even a little ballroom. My house in Lenox is a lot of work, but things bloom and gladden my heart. Good luck to all in these parlous times.”
Andrea Saltzman is temporally challenged. “I seem to spend twice as much time to do half as much. And, since I charge a high hourly rate for my legal work, I feel terribly guilty. Instead of getting faster with experience, I get slower with age. Nothing much has changed in my life, but my daughter’s life keeps changing in fascinating ways. She just completed two years in Egypt (where she got a Masters Degree in Mid East studies) and is off to Tunisia in the fall for more studies.”
Peggy Heston Greenwood’s answer to the time problem is retirement. “After 39 years and 7 months with the Defense Intelligence Agency, I retired in March 2007. My incentive: becoming a docent at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. And, what a joy that is! It is like doing graduate studies in textiles (we rotate exhibits routinely) and then narrating for the public. I have taken care to reserve time for walking and reading. Now to find time to get back to weaving and other fiber arts…hmmm…maybe there is never enough time.”
“Some tactics that I used when I worked: walk, climb stairs when you might otherwise take the elevator, carve out 20 minutes at lunch and walk around the building (outside if you can). Instead of pondering at my desk, I would walk around the halls or around the building to put problems in perspective and to brainstorm with myself.”
“If you commute to work, listen to audio books or courses from the Teaching Company! It always felt like a kind of private pleasure. The only time it didn’t work was when I carpooled with someone who couldn’t stand them. But that was before iPods.
The house suffered most while I worked. In retirement I am working my way through deferred maintenance projects and numerous black holes of clutter. But I make all this second priority to avoid driving myself crazy. A fun lunch out with friends take precedence over cleaning another closet.”
After spending the 2008-2009 academic year on sabbatical leave to finish the last volume of her triptych on Victor Hugo’s novels, Kathryn Grossman hopes soon to have a book to show for all that time glued to a computer screen! Happily, a major distraction arrived in late spring. “Lucia Alysse, our first grandchild, was born on 5/19/09 to Benjamin Harwood and Krista Senator, allowing for monthly ‘escapes’ to Saratoga Spring to watch her change and grow. We love our work as educators at Penn State, but are getting ready (at least psychologically!) to embrace retirement within the next several years as we increasingly shift our priorities to family and friends.”
Deborah Rice’s son Allan just graduated from Brown with a BS in Computer Science. “And best of all, he has a job – with Apple in California!”
After taking early retirement to enjoy a new life and partner in Traverse City, MI, Bonnie Spanier remains active in women’s studies at the University of Albany and locally — and is still reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org . “I feel incredibly lucky to be so happy with life. I’m learning to appreciate this moment, really all we have, and to accept myself — not an easy task for a perfectionist-who-always-falls-short.”
The big news for Ronnie Scharfman is that she retired from teaching French and postcolonial francophone literatures in May. “I taught at Purchase College-SUNY for 30 years – my first and only job, except for some visiting gigs at Yale, N.Y.U., and BMC in Avignon. I feel totally ready to move on. We had a wonderful retirement conference around my work, entitled “All Over the Map,” organized and presided over by my dear friend, Louise Yelin, currently our Dean of Humanities at Purchase. She did an extraordinary and generous job of gathering scholar/colleague/friends from all over the world. It was a real celebration, and immensely gratifying. Besides students, faculty, friends and family, another BMC friend, classmate and colleague, Mary Farrell, also joined. There are no friends like old ones. I highly recommend to everybody making the effort to celebrate the deep meanings of one’s life’s work.
My plans are fluid. I have an abiding desire to look to my inner life, continuing to write poetry, and studying Biblical Hebrew so that I can work with the stories that fascinate me in the original. I know I need community, but also solitude.
So far, I’ve been very lucky. Except for a brief bout with breast cancer in 2001, I’ve been well. So has my husband Joe (34th anniversary in July!) who is NOT retiring from child psychiatry, and our two fabulous boys, Ethan, 32, and Zach, 27. They are launched on challenging and unusual career paths and have been their own men for some time.
I look forward to all kinds of new adventures, and only hope I have enough grey matter for a while to process them! My wish for all our classmates at this same turning point is to find meaning and satisfaction in what you are doing.
NOTE: Our Class Web site has moved to http://bmc67.vndv.com. Kudos to Susan Ames, Web mistress, for keeping us connected.
’67 Class Editor
Taffy Brecht Everts
803 Rebecca Drive
Boulder Creek, CA 95006