2016 BACK TO SCHOOL MINI REUNION
Eighteen hardy souls attended this year’s mini in beautiful weather and trees at their peek of fall foliage. Nancy Lane and Dee Barstow organized us—like herding cats—with delicious meals, cocktails and class schedules that woke up our latent brain cells with a jolt.
We started with a bang. Dinner at the Acting President’s house arranged by, of course, Wink in appreciation for our very loyal Class of 1955. There is a definite perception throughout the faculty that we are indeed a special class of uncommon women!
Sonya Stevens and her husband were the gracious hosts at sit down dinner. She spoke about the challenge of integrating foreign students from many nations into the social and academic fabric of MHC, noting that the diversity of the student body (27% foreign students) makes it rich in learnings and cultural experience. A warm and lively person, Sonya seems perfect for the college right now as it grapples with its growth—largest class ever 550 +-- and the financial and social challenges that all colleges face today.
Morning brought a not-too-early (9:45) meeting with the Head of Facilities, Paul Breen, who showed plans for the new about-to-dig-the-foundation Community Center that will serve as the central dining hall for all dorms, replacing the 5 remaining dorm dining rooms and the Blanchard student center where over half the students eat now. Yes, ladies, dorm dining rooms are as obsolete as hats and gloves, strange as it seems. Besides its dining facilities, which will consist of several small areas, the plans are to make it a central destination for both students and faculty, as well as housing offices for all the various clubs and activities of the students. Completion is scheduled for end of 2017 followed by renovation of Blanchard.
Onward to classes: Middle East was a favorite; also Stars and Galaxies where measuring distances to stars through Keplar’s Third Law left us in complete bewilderment. One thing we did understand: the Force of Gravity, the enemy of all aging women! Vinnie Ferrara did his magic in World Politics first discussing China, then Iran, then outlining the macro trends of empires from Phoenicians up through the U.K. and colonial powers that grow, expand too much then implode. America? Not declining yet, he assured us.
Those of us who attended Buddhist Ethics were treated to a Climate of Ideas on the moral order of the universe, the landscape of the mind and the doctrine of humility. The class seemed like an oasis in the middle of the political desert we were in. We can all aspire to be Temple Sleepers, wise older persons who act as counsellors for the young.
Ellis and Wink opted for Short Stories from Around the World which took place at the Japanese Teahouse & Meditation Garden, which was very interesting. The hardest part was they asked them to sit on the floor for the class. Little did they realize that they were dying. Try sitting on the floor for half an hour with nothing to lean on ladies. The amazing thing is that they were both able to get up off the floor when the class was over!
Wednesday night dinner brought out our three wonderful honorees, Eleanor Townsley and Edwina Cruise were also able to be with us and gave very funny ad-lib updates on their activities. Edwina said she writes ’55 all the time but somehow the letters never get mailed. This time she did it and you can view her correspondence on our Honorary Page. Eleanor and her family have moved to Amherst and they are very busy working on their new home. So much so that both Eleanor and Ron had to take sabbaticals in order to make some headway on their new exciting project. Oxford University is publishing their new book soon and we’ll let you know when it hits the shelves. Once again we made Vinnie Ferraro work for his dinner and he spoke about the election and its consequences especially if Donald Trump were to be elected. The first thing the new President should try to do? Reform the tax code.
(Note: Well forget that as we now know the outcome)
Lucas Wilson, professor of African studies and economics, joined us on Thursday morning to discuss the MHC common read, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. We had a lively discussion of racism and discrimination in today’s world, and discussed how different Mount Holyoke was today from when we were students.
All in all, mini reunions are great for bringing together old and new friends and getting us back to the classroom. Thank you Wink, Nancy and Dee for your organizing talents! Holyoke, Holyoke colors waving…..
The host and hostess with the mostest
Ellis Batchelder, Sonya and Nancy Nutting
Rhoda Ernst, Joan Willenbrok,
Nancy Boardway, Sonya and Janie Barth
Our Hostess with her new yellow class scarf gift of '55
Is this diversity or what??????
3 old pals back at our MHC mini...last week they were together for their
65th Scarsdale High School Reunion!
Wink, Chirpy and Willie
Rhoda Ernst and Nancy Boardway
OUR FANTASTIC HONORARIES!
Les Nash, Deb's husband and Vinnie Ferraro
Edwina and David Nasjleti, (Margot Roy's husband)
Eleanor and Mills Ripley (Wink's husband)
Saffordites...Remember Back When....
this was our home away from home!
61 years later and we came home to visit.
Rhoda Ernst Bannon,
Dee Lamb Barstow,
MC Bachmann Churchill
Gay DeLong Goodheart
Miz Comey Grant
Carol Pilloni Johnson
Nancy Nutting Lane
Willie Willenbrock Leonard
Sylvia Johnson Lucas
Chirpy Wesseler Monroe
Deb Hazzard Nash
Margot Roy Nasjleti
Wink Winkel Ripley
Ellis Bachelder Weatherly
Plus or co-eds: Les Nash, David Nasjeti and Mills Ripley
Dee Barstow and Miz Comey