“MC” Bachmann Churchill invited all ‘55s from the Palm Beach area for lunch. Her apartment, overlooking the Intercostals and Palm Beach Island, was the perfect setting for lots of catching ups, remembrances and tons of laughter. No awkward silences in this group! Gwen Barrington Nichols, Dot Lehrfeld Flood, Peggy Henry Weeks, Judi Segal Drexler and Nancy Nutting Lane all agreed that this should be an annual event. Judi agreed to host us next winter. We missed seeing Jean Piser Zuver who called to say she was not feeling well and Cynthia Pinney Hammer whose sudden death the previous day was unknown to us at the time.
On the west coast Mary Lou Judd Carpenter enjoyed getting together with several “55’s including Les and Deb Hazzard Nash and Bonnie Scott Conway, while back in Minneapolis she often sees Joyce Howard Mc Farland and Sydney Mautner Reed.
A recently published book, “Cooking with Adrienne” by Joan Harper describes Adrienne Becker Zausner’s culinary adventures in France with the country’s top chefs over the last several decades. She is currently in an assisted living residence suffering from a rare neurological condition, Fronto Temporal Degeneration. She can no longer speak or understand anything said to her and cannot even read or walk.
The pretty town of Freedom, NH was originally Sally Birnie Stoops’ family summer home. She and her husband now live full time in this great little town where they have many relatives and friends, are involved in the community and enjoy a simple lifestyle. Sally reports that they are in relatively good health. She must be since she still goes hiking. She and her husband have enjoyed travel and cruises. Sally has three children, the oldest son lives in Vietnam, second son, an avid ocean sailor, lives in Portland, Maine and her daughter, Caroline Stoops Marson, MHC ’81, lives outside Middlebury, Vt. and used to run Vermont Bicycle Tours. The Stoops have three grown grandchildren.
Prudy Barton Bishop is going to England with her daughter, Betsy, who lives across the street in Barrington, RI. How lucky is that!!! She must be the only member of our class still in the “sandwich generation “. ( Prudy’s mother, age 108, is in a nearby life care facility.) Still optimistic and thankful for all her blessings, Prudy describes their life as slow but energetic. She now plays more bridge than golf.
Still painting, Connie Spence Powell (aka Snow White and just as lovely) lives in Scottsdale, Arizona when she isn’t visiting her 4 children or on other adventures. I’ve found that because of time zones she is perfect to call when I can’t sleep. It’s like having my old roommate back. You might remember that Connie did the art work for our yearbook, so I begged for some pictures of recent paintings. Connie recently sent me a few which I sent to our website for our Creative Display Room. She tells me that most of her work is taken from photographs she’s taken or from magazines.
Gay Chaffee Hartman, along with Dee Lamb Barstow, took a trip to Cuba in March with her husband Rick Hartman’s Dartmouth 1954 class. "It was an educational tour with several local lecturers and guides. Cuba only accepts tourists as part of academic groups. It was an eye-opener! We saw three cities, two rural and the last, Havana, the capital city. In the first, Holguin, we saw the poverty that is evident all over Cuba, even in Havana. We passed many horse-drawn carts/carriages and bicycles. In Santiago, San Juan Hill is impressive, and the cemetery where Jose Marti and Fidel Castro are buried is complete with an hourly changing of the guards. Havana is a mix of well-maintained public buildings, old American cars and impressive parks. Most of our meals were eaten at paladars (restaurants in private homes). Tourism is being encouraged, and as there are few public tourist-quality restaurants, these home venues work well. This entrepreneurship is wonderful to see. We had a dinner with Cuban artists and were often entertained by local musicians. Quite an experience.
"Under the present Communist rule all children must finish school so the population is well educated but the jobs are few and do not pay well. Our young Cuban guide was a lawyer but says he can make more working as a guide for this American travel agency. Also health care is mandatory with an emphasis on prevention. Regular exams are required. Wonderful concepts but not backed up by a thriving economy. As we were driven around you could look into buildings which were in shambles and you’d think them not livable. Then you would catch a sliver of light through a window grill and see a family eating dinner. The poverty was very sobering. A real Third World country.
Although there were areas in most towns called parks, these had few gardens because of the dry conditions and poor upkeep. Instead, parks mostly had imposing statues of revolutionary heros or bas-reliefs to commemorate a political event. Along the roads there were also many huge bill-boards not advertising products as you might expect but with portraits of Che Guevera and/or Raoul Castro or other. All in all, a very interesting but sobering trip."