Class Notes, Extended

1963 Class Notes, Extended
From our Class Scribes,  
The limits on Class Notes in the Alumnae Quarterly tend to cramp our style.  So we came up with this additional option for including everything—well, almost everything, you write us.
Below are notes we could not fit into the Quarterly.  As you can see, this site allows us to include more news from more classmates. We hope you will take full advantage of it in the future!
(New notes are added from the top. Scroll down to see previous entries.)

This is a tribute to Karen that has been submitted for the fall Alumnae Quarterly:

Our classmate, Karen Kayser Benson, died February 15, 2020. She came to college from Rochester, NY to be a biochemistry major but soon discovered her passion for the theater and thrived in the thespian life as a  student (especially Junior Show), as a professional casting director in New York and as a community theater volunteer in Florida. She embodied the theater with style and flamboyance and many compared her to Auntie Mame.  KK never lost her enthusiasm for Mount Holyoke and helped organize or chaired class reunions and Alumnae clubs in New York/New Jersey and in Bonita Springs/Naples, FL. She gave generously to the college and was an eager fundraiser. Many of us remember our festive groundbreaking 50th reunion, a Karen triumph, and when she deservedly received  the Loyalty Award from the Alumnae Association. She leaves two siblings, their extended families and many classmates and friends with loving memories. She wrote to class scribes just before her death, "I am a lion…. there is no reason to stop, until I have to stop."  

Mary Ann Searles Weiss    7/22/20  (Pictures of Karen from our 50th reunion.)

Summer, 2016
From Doris Mortenson Sisley

Spent a week in Bermuda in July with a good friend.  We had an awesome time.  Stayed walking distance from Elbow Beach. No longer on motorbikes (left hand side), but took busses and ferries with our low-cost bus pass, and taxis when needed.  Enjoyed long afternoons on the various beaches under the shade of a rock. Tropical fish at Horseshoe Bay.  Dinners with my traveling person’s “old” friends (she had lived there in her twenties).  Swizzle Inn.  Dinners in Elbow Beach dining room looking out over the ocean.  It’s a great island!

I’m still selling real estate, and am trying to imagine daily life in retirement—painting class? bridge, travel, volunteer work? Hopefully a grandchild.   Am attending mini reunion at campus in October – Lanie Langen is my roommate.


From  Katherine (Cassie) Lord Miller

I just got back from a week's trip to the Galapagos Islands with my daughter
and grand son.  It was great!   We almost went to the Galapagos Islands for
our honeymoon in 1965, but one look at the ship that was to take us
discouraged us.  And we have never had the time or energy or money to try it
again.  But we have one grandchild who would just love this so I vowed to do
it.   Jay has had both legs amputated so it is not the trip for him,  so I
hired a service to stay with him (cost almost as much as the trip).  We flew
into Guayaquil, toured for a day and then flew to Baltra in the Galapagos.
Apparently tourists are afraid of zika virus so there were only 19 passengers
of the potential 68 board.  But luckily there were 3 boys of the approximate age of my grandson, so the kids
had a wonderful time.   It was really special to see these animals and how unafraid they are of humans.


From Mary Pat Smagola Reiley

To celebrate my 75th birthday, I took my younger cousin Dolores--her mom was a French war bride--on a trip to Paris week earlier this month. We spent the first week with Road Scholar and then stayed on for some additional sightseeing at our own pace. Although I've traveled with other tour groups, as well as on my own, my preference, all things considered, is RS. I can't say enough good things about them This was my fourth trip with them. 


One of the first times I visited France was with my husband in 1968, when we had our own car and stayed in the Latin Quarter. One of the things I remember most vividly at that time was looking down from our hotel balcony on the street below, where city workers were paving over the cobblestones with asphalt to prevent the students from pulling up any more of them to throw at the police. Our very capable tour guides on this visit weren't even born then.


I hope you and our other classmates are having equally pleasurable 75th year experiences.


Spring, 2015
From Anne Beauchemin St Germaine:
       In the past, I have not re-connected much or often with my Mount Holyoke cohort.  It’s not my nature to be a “joiner.”  But I do appreciate reading about the lives of women I met and went to school with, and today I wake up with my story on my mind and will accept your invitation to tell it. 
      My strongest memory of Mount Holyoke is that it was a place that celebrated my mind.  As a girl from a small town I was often overwhelmed, but was well-supported there by a faculty who march, demonstrated brilliance, generosity and commitment.  I made two lifelong friends while I was in school.  Susan Pomeroy, who embodied joy and didn't live nearly long enough.   Linda Ocker Mashburn has remained a friend, and constantly demonstrates compassion and perseverance. She just keeps on making a difference on this planet.
      I love my college, her faculty, and my friends Pommy and Linda.
      As a young woman I married a man who turned out to be wrong for me. But we did manage to create three wonderful children who turned out to be exactly right.  I encouraged them to be good citizens and they live up to that goal, each loving the people and communities in which they serve for the greater good.  Their children carry on this value, one currently serving in Afghanistan in the Army.  
      This brings war very close to my mind every day.  I pray for families in war zones, in abject poverty, under discriminatory siege, and those hopeless for whatever reason.  Beyond what is in the daily news reports – reason enough to keep these people in mind – I have struggled with major depression in my life.  This has served to keep me tuned into the suffering of other people, and keep them in my thoughts.
       With financial support from competitive grants I have earned a master's degree in nursing and a doctorate in public health. I chose to contribute as the designer, developer, manager and / or consultant for public school-based, multidisciplinary, health care clinics in Cambridge, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portsmouth, and West Palm Beach.  Doing this work was an education in itself!  I believe there are many ways to foster the wellbeing of children, and I’m happy to say that Mount Holyoke prepared me to lead in what turned out to be a very daunting world.
       The love of my life and I found each other 30 years ago.  We have lived together, raised another two daughters and find them and their families precious. These girls also are training to serve in love.  Last year we celebrated our union in marriage. I am retired and Kate and I live on an Island in Puget Sound.  She will retire from her Seattle employment in a bit over two years.  We both look forward to having more time together for life and laughter.  (The best way for you to understand how grateful I am for our relationship is to read her novel, That Crazy Little Thing by Kate Bracy.  This endearing story puts legs under the recently popular states of mindfulness and compassion. And, yes, Kate is as funny in our lives together as in the antics and dialog of her memorable characters. The book has won seven independent publishing awards in literary and women’s fiction.)
       Most of my time is spent, now, enjoying this life that I have built.  I live on an acre of land where I can garden to my heart’s content.  My family and the community where I live are making my retirement the best years – and certainly most peaceful – of my life.  I study Buddhism, weed the beans, and hug children. 
       In sum, I have had a very rich time of it.  Rich in ideas, understandings, opportunities and self awareness.  I no longer seek notice or approval from the world.  I don't look for chances to succeed.  I cook and clean, mow and weed, enjoy music and most tasks, honor my neighbors and all more deeply because I have been dipped in the nourishing broth at Mount Holyoke.  My best to readers of this note in the Quarterly.  
Marcia Gruhn Kohl also wrote that her oldest grandchild is a pre-med freshman in college at Washington University in St. Louis.    Her daughter Laura “has returned to the practice of law after a 16 year break to raise the children. She took a 6 month review course and in 5 weeks got a position in a NY law firm as a litigator. Her clients are architects and engineers. She loves it - much more than she did the first 6 years out of law school in the 90's. We are very proud of her”.  
Bronwen Jenney Anders notes that she has been married to Eric for 49 years, volunteers in Mexico (as well as Haiti) and feels lucky to have good benefits and health insurance from her time at UCSD. 
In November, Judith Austin and Bob travelled to Barcelona and cruised down Spain's east coast to Madeira. They then crossed the Atlantic to Bermuda and Ft. Lauderdale. “During January and February, we will circumnavigate South America, hitting Rio for Carnival. I expect a new grandson in April; that will make one of each sex -- perfect!” 
Kathleen Vreeland Buffon’s Southern Africa trip included “Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and, best of all, 2.5 weeks driving around the Garden Route and the Western Cape of South Africa – amazingly beautiful and vast”.  She and Charlie also visited Pamela Gold Oppenheim’s “adopted” son and his family in Cape Town.
In December, Kathleen and Hester Lindabury Ohbi lunched with Candy Flickinger Rohde  “and other friends of Candy’s from around the world.  She treated us to a reading of her poetry after lunch – truly wonderful!  All these connections after 50 years – we’re so lucky!”
Jenni Macdonald DeWolf spent a rewarding fall weekend in Newport with about 20 classmates and their spouses. “Under the able planning leadership of Helen Weinland, we walked the Cliff Walk, had a guided tour of the National Museum of American Illustration and a wonderful tour of the  historic Touro Synagogue in addition to sampling some wonderful food and listening and dancing to some great music.  It is called the Boston group but it includes many of us from out of town”— Paula Kaplan Freshman (NYC), Margy (PA) and Maddie (IL) MueckeStephanie Smith (ME), Pat Pickett Wecker  (NH) and Jenni (RI).
From Phyllis Ellickson, one of our class scribes
November 2013
Don't the scarves look great?
Kitty/Karin Torgerson Randolph, Lindsey Reber, Ginny Johnson Potter, Jane Bruce, Cindy Prescott Hedin and Julie Touchette Lavorgna shared a dessert on Scarf Night of their 5 days in NewYork City.
Ground Zero-9/ll Memorial, The HighLine, IPCNY, the Met, MoMA, Neue Gallerie, the Museum of Arts & Design and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens were some of their stops in NYC. Tea at the Plaza let Jane and Cindy check off one item on their buckekt lists. Five great days!
October 2013
From Suzy Eberson Adams: “I am not alone in thinking that our 50th reunion was spectacular.  What an amazing class we had and have!  Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to make it a success.”
Cynthia Mariaschin Melenson just “came back from a cruise to the Marquesan Islands and a couple of atolls--known for their black pearls-- in French Polynesia, on the Aranui III. The latter is a combination cargo and cruise ship that holds less than 200 people.  These islands are relatively untouched by the world and a great place to relax and see a different culture (without worrying about picking up tropical diseases) and maybe see a few manta rays in the process.  If anyone is interested and would like to ask me about it, I'd be happy to talk with them.”
Responses to Question about one’s Major at MHC:
Karen Kayser Benson writes: “A "speech/drama" major at Holyoke? There was no such thing - so I was the only one in the class most of the time. A total win/win situation.  I parlayed that into a lucrative career as a talent agent, talent manager and casting director in New York, San Francisco and now Naples, Florida.
And I am fully prepared to lead not-for-profit organizations in my senior years, getting up in front of people to deliver speeches. "Sing Out, Baby June!!"
Muriel Trask Davisson-Fahey, who received the Distinguished Alumna Award at our 50th reunion, writes that she majored in Zoology, “which was the closest I could get to my first love – Genetics – and went on to get a PhD in Genetics at Penn State University”.  She then spent 41 years developing mouse models for human inherited disorders at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. As a retirement gift to herself, she took a long-planned road trip across 24 of the lower 48 states, visiting friends and relatives and traveling with her physician sister, Emmy. “ It was a spectacular trip and I can hardly wait to cover the other 24 states!”
Genya Currens Hopkins majored in French Literature, studied at the Sorbonne, taught school, and returned to school herself for a Master’s at Middlebury when her children were in high school.  She writes that she has been “fortunate to have jobs where I could use my French skills, including translating letters from the French government to the art college where I worked (Maryland Institute College of Art) while we negotiated the rental of a chateau for artists in residence.” She’s currently enjoying a French Lit book club with French and American participants and feels fortunate that she had the luxury of living in a society that appreciated French culture in a way that is less common now that there “are so many more choices of cultures to explore in depth”  and French is no longer “the language of diplomacy.”
Vandy Stissel Humphrey’s chemistry major plus physiology minor led directly to a challenging career teaching high school science in 4 states.  She writes, “Initially my jobs were all ones in which I replaced a man, but due to a Mount Holyoke education, that was never a problem, at least not after I found the stepladder (because I was a foot shorter than the previous teachers who had stored a lot of items way above my head).” 
Mirya Perkko Muncy majored in French and minored in Sociology.  “How did I use what I learned?  My first job accidently landed me teaching French in MD. I knew nothing about teaching but I did speak French.   After one year of accelerated Spanish at Thunderbird in Phoenix while my husband John was  getting his MBA, I went on to teach Spanish in CA, a great skill for anyone living in CA.   My sociology minor came in handy during volunteer work overseas, including a Refugee Camp in Thailand. Finally. managing a lifestyle publication in Hong Kong  fulfilled my ambition after one high school journalism class to be a writer.   Twenty-three exciting years living/ working in Southeast Asia during the business boom were a continuation of my liberal arts education.  Retired to Sonoma, CA where I walk the vineyards every morning and spend my time helping needy nonprofits.  The post-MHC years have been full – how did we fit it all in?  Not sure, but it has been a good ride!” 
Libby Meehan Short majored in Philosophy (of Science).  “It has stood me in great stead ever since. The skills of reasoning, dialogue and analysis were key to my success in the academic world, in medicine and genetics, in research, in navigating the politics of Washington DC and in trying to understand the meaning of life. Certainly not all you need for marriage and raising a family, but I think they helped there, too.”
From Phyllis Ellickson, one of our class scribes