Fritz Newman checks in: “In June, Zonnie and Lex Breckinridge celebrated in Madrid their recent completion of the Camino Portugués with a very Galician ‘mariscada y queimada.’ I joined the couple while I was enjoying a few days’ rest halfway through my own Camino Francés. Ultreia et suseia 1970!”
Members of the Form of 1970 gathered at The Yale Camp at Great Mountain Forest in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut for a 48th reunion as part of their energetic lead-up to the 50th. They were joined by longtime friend of the form Bob Rettew ’69. Between birding and hiking, discussions revolved around the hopes for engaging the entire form in a great shared experience in 2020, the recent successes of the Sparks initiatives, the current state of the School, and the future involvement of the form.
J.T. Howell writes: “I still live in Bucks County, Pa. I see patients one day a week and spend the rest of my time programming the electronic medical record (Epic) to meet providers’ needs at University of Pennsylvania, where I am one among several ACMIOs (that’s associate chief medical information officer – surely everyone needs this acronym in their vocab). My bailiwick is ambulatory. When I fly through Chicago to Wisconsin several times a year for conferences at Epic, I spend the weekend with our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter (another on the way). Not long ago, on a chilly spring walk along Lake Michigan, my daughter, granddaughter and I found the footbridge memorial to our classmate, Harry Chandler. As you might recall, he dedicated a large portion of his adulthood to the issue of accessibility in the Chicago area. After I saw the footbridge memorial, I looked Harry up on the Internet and found an excellent obituary from the Crossroads Fund and found it to be worth a share (https://crossroadsfund.org/news/chicago-saddened-loss-henry-t-chandler-jr).”
From Henry Laughlin: “Linda and I visited with Lisa and Mark Wheeler ’71 in France in April and had a lovely time. We spent two nights with them at Rochefort-En-Terre, a very old French village in Brittany, which was very charming. Their house is over 300 years old. Had a great time catching up. This weekend I am going to a wedding for Oliver Wolcott’s daughter, Cornelia.”
Frazer Pennebaker writes: “I still live in the heart of Manhattan with my gorgeous, generous, gifted partner, Pam, and we thrive on the city life, where we’ve spent a gazillion years, knowing that we can get out to the coast any or every weekend. The business of film distribution and filmmaking continues to percolate. “The Team” recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first (and best) music movie of all time: Monterey Pop. It was a blast to travel back to the late sixties, in different venues all over the country, honoring the times and the work of my pop. At this point in time, I am working hard on researching what rosés should we stock in the summer fridge. Stay tuned!”
A note from John Tait: “I recently had the pleasure of a surprise visit from Charlie Bronson. He was in Seattle doing some world-class dog sitting and was able to spare a few minutes to sit with us humans as well. We had a nice dinner at our house, Pacific Northwest salmon a la Katherine, of course. Charlie and I also had lunch at the UW Medical Center, where I work. After lunch, we strolled along Seattle’s Montlake Cut, which connects Lake Washington to Puget Sound, to the old University of Washington boathouse. It was there that English boat builder George Pocock revolutionized the construction of racing shells in the 1920s by using wood from the western red cedar. His boats set the standard for racing shells all the way up to the fiberglass era, and you can see Pocock shells in the SPS boathouse. As you will recall, in the Lower School, we all participated in crew, one of the best benefits of having been a six-year man. (I thought these details might be of interest to SPS crew aficionados. There is much more in the inspiring book, The Boys in the Boat, about the crew from the University of Washington that won the gold medal against long odds in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. These boys were not introduced to crew at boarding schools).
Jonathan Whitney checks in with this news: “Having discovered running and marathons at 50, I completed my 17th marathon in New Orleans this spring. You can see from the surprised-but-hopeful look on my face, with the finish line in sight, that it has become second nature – not.”
From Dierk Groeneman: “I awoke from a decades-long dream of professional coding to find a society that has gone badly astray. So, I’m now active in different ways to remedy the situation or reconcile myself to it: rabble-rousing on Facebook and Twitter, joining the ACLU (card-carrying member finally!), and volunteer canvassing on the weekend for a progressive candidate for Colorado governor. Meanwhile our younger son has reached the milestone of earning a bachelor’s degree. Today, he started his first full-time job. Fingers crossed. Good health gives rise to ambitious plans. I may yet realize the dream I first formed at SPS; living for an extended time in a foreign country (Japan) and learning a language by immersion. I’m also rediscovering the value of reading and learning. Unsure yet how to give more structure to these activities but going back to school in some form is not out of the question. All praise once again to those formative SPS years.”
And a message from Jeffrey Zellers: “It is hard for me to maintain sanity in the world we live in today. It takes me back to our days at SPS, the political upheaval, issues of racial inequality and bigotry. Two things are helping me to cope this time around; family and the outdoors. I tapped into both recently when I traveled to Seattle to see my youngest son, his wife, and the youngest of three grandsons, Kasper Hart Zellers. We traveled north and east about four hours into the Northern Cascades and spent a long weekend in the Methow Valley. Kasper entertained and reminded us to be present in the moment. After all, what can be better than eating dinner naked and rubbing food on your stomach, in your hair, on your feet. . . . The valley and the saw-toothed mountains brought us awe and humility. Stay calm. Be well. Don’t give up the fight for justice and equality.”
Ben Dewey submitted this note ahead of Anniversary Weekend 2018: “Many thanks to Katherine McMillan for your dedication to the remembrance process. I can forever recall the shy and superb grace of Lee Bouton, the sprawling and exuberant urban patois of Mike Porter, the grounded, insightful, sweet, and endlessly humane brilliance of Steve Perkins, to name but a few. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to join you this weekend, but work and other obligations keep me away. Mindful as I am of diminishing attention spans, endless links of “must reads,” and an array of political sensibilities, I felt pressed to cite Jeff Flake’s recent speech at Harvard Law School-see link here: time.com/5289380/jeff-flake-harvard-commencement-address-president-trump. The speech is a model of balancing strong sentiment with restraint, solid history with personal accents – in short, a compelling, humble, and forthright description of our current malaise. Yes, we may have hit the bottom, the very bottom, but it could all easily sink further. I’m hardly a Republican, neither a neo-liberal, often succumb to invective, but remain deeply impressed by those that can muster an energetic civility.
I would be remiss if I did not cite the efforts of our classmate, Sheldon Whitehouse, for the impressive work he has accomplished and bedrock commitment to climate change awareness. Sheldon, I think of you often and tip my hat. If you have the time, you might visit the Chapel where, I believe, you may find a statue dedicated to Col. A. Peter Dewey ’35. First publicly identified by Stanley Karnow in his 1983 book Vietnam: A History (but featured more prominently in Ken Burns’s recent Vietnam series, episode No. 3). Col. Dewey was the first known American casualty in Vietnam (not listed however on the wall), killed at a roadblock by the Viet Minh south of Saigon in perhaps a case of mistaken identity in September of 1945 as he was planning to leave the country. He was part of an OSS team that had befriended the nationalists in the Viet Minh, much to the consternation of the Brits and French. His last message to his superiors, and I paraphrase, were “The French are done, the Brits are done. Get out of Indochina.” Would it be that we could have all lived that.
I close with a tidbit from our collective SPS history. John Kerry ’62 and Robert Mueller ’62 were on the same hockey line together at St. Paul’s, Robert as right wing and John as center. Senator/Secretary Kerry was something of a puck hog (“Give the puck to me! I’ll score!”). Well, let’s all now collectively will the puck to Robert and ensure that he is able to score.”
Scott Taylor submitted these highlights from Anniversary Weekend: “After not having picked up a stick since our 25th reunion, at which Mark Walsh, Terry Wardrop, and I were the three oldest alums to play, I decided, being of somewhat sound body (but certainly questionable mind) to give the alumni lacrosse game one last try. My comeback got off to an inauspicious start as the airport TSA confiscated the stick I had borrowed from a neighbor’s son. Luckily, my friend Jon Sweet ’78 (who I met at an SPS function in L.A.) came to my rescue as he brought an extra stick. No one who had seen me on the fields at SPS or U.C. Berkeley (where I was the two-year team captain, he said immodestly), I trust, would have mistaken that guy for the clumsy old dude doddering around during the game. I came away humbled, but, thankfully, uninjured. Mark Walsh (who continues to play on the senior lax circuit), on the other hand, looked sharp and spry among the young’uns. At the end of the game, I couldn’t help but to send thoughts of love and thanks to Cliff Gillespie, whose coaching and mentoring taught everyone who played for him much more than what could be accomplished on an athletic field.”
Kevin McCaffrey and Gregg Towsend submit these notes.
A quick note from Walter Manny: “I have moved with my wife, Amy, to Tacoma, Wash., where I hope to close out my teaching career at Charles Wright Academy. Our three daughters have settled in Montana and Wyoming, our son is in Japan, and so here comes a Pacific Northwest unplanned adventure.”
Nicholas Chapuis submits this news: “After a tour of two and a half years as French Ambassador to Canada (2015-17), I came back to Paris and took an interim position of officer in charge of EU-China relations and international digital strategy at the Planning and Policy Department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I have now been recruited by the European Union External Action Service (the diplomatic service of the EU created in 2010) to be the EU Ambassador to China for the next four years, starting September 2018. Meanwhile, I have been busy working on an ambitious personal project – the full annotated translation in French of the great Chinese Tang Dynasty poet, Du Fu. Two out of 10 planned volumes have been published since 2015. For those who cannot read classical Chinese, but recall their French language courses at SPS, do not miss it (https://www.lesbelleslettres.com/contributeur/du-fu)!”
Despite Halcyon success, this year appeared to be a perfect Anniversary Weekend. I missed the Parade, but hear that Severo Nieves attended with his sister, Isabel ’78, who was celebrating her 40th reunion, as well as Alison Zetterquist and Marny Kittridge, who attended with her sister, Nancy Stockdale ’74, and their father, Kit Kittridge ’43, who was celebrating his 75th reunion. Toni King Callahan was also there with her brother, K.C. King ’74, and their father, Clacky King ’48, who was celebrating his 70th Anniversary. I am sorry I missed seeing all of you. For those who are interested, the Memorial Hall talk was Q&A and provided little new information about the legal and publicity challenges the School is currently facing. Despite having to account for those past failures, the School is thriving and many adjustments have been made to address aspects of the culture that led to those failures. For those who have not been back in a while, there is much more there than friends and funds. The spiritual guidance that builds and motivates future generations of leaders continues in the School’s traditions.
Alexis Johnson checks in with this news: “I visited my daughter, Emily, in Flagstaff, Ariz., for Memorial Day 2018. Son Sam is still in Moab, Utah, building sustainable, affordable houses out of whole earth materials with the mayor of Moab. SPS reunion ought to be a time of many questions.”
Lee Walker Hughes writes from Bethel, Maine: “Daphne Firth ’75 is back in the U.S. after spending the last 2 1/2 years in Brazil. Boy did I miss her. Friends from our formative teen years at SPS are irreplaceable. She spent the weekend with me and Woody, catching up and cycling in our beautiful area.”
In May, Alison Husting Zetterquist and Epilepsy Foundation New England gratefully hosted a mighty SPS Sparks contingent to register walkers and serve lunch at the Boston Walk for Epilepsy.
Rich Ryerson, Jr. will be inducted into the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame in October. Rich played under Bill Matthews ’61 and he was a co-captain during his senior year, along with Matt Soule ’77. After his stellar hockey career at SPS, where he scored 38 points as a junior, Rich went on to have an equally stellar career at Dartmouth. I can claim to have played on the “The Lower School All Stars” team with Rich, and I remember he could score on a slap shot from center ice.
Talie Ward Harris writes: “We are enjoying our first grandbaby, Walter Ward McGee Harris, born February 23. His parents work at Choate, where Walt has quickly become a fixture at seated meals and sporting events. Highly recommend this stage of life.”
A message from Kim Henning: “We celebrated my daughter’s graduation from Santa Fe Prep this spring. She was surrounded by my SPS sisterhood of Shelley Robinson, Betsy Armstrong, and Cynthia (Marshall) Shore, along with Cynthia’s daughter and my sister. What a milestone to see one’s child graduate from high school. We shared a lovely evening in our garden with dear friends and family.”
Formmates Christopher Willis and Peter Santry squared off in the finals of two doubles squash tournaments this past winter. Chris and his partner, Yvan Badan from Switzerland, prevailed in the North American Open Pro Am played in Greenwich, Conn., over Pete and his partner, Zac Alexander of Australia. In the Country Club of New Canaan Member Guest A Draw, Pete and his partner, Jim Parsons, edged Chris and his partner, Jon Old ’78, in a nail-biter. Both matches went the full distance, with the winner posting a score of 15-14 in the fifth game.
Dick Soule sends this note: “Hey, my fellow youthful classmates (mind over matter). I have recently moved across the pond from Brooklyn to London. I am the Chief Revenue Officer for Culture Trip, a cool, millennial-focused travel/lifestyle site. Check it out. It’s been great hanging with Dr. Hiram Samel – an esteemed professor at Oxford (plus Brigid and his kids). Sadly, Big H is moving back to the U.S. And seeing Bets McLearn Richards is so great. Billy Schlosser visited London recently from Nashville. And Art Zeckendorf visited a couple of weeks ago with his daughter, Jenny ’07. We took a chilly plunge in the men’s pond at Hampstead Heath. We skipped the nude sunbathing section. I live in Primrose Hill and have plenty of room for visitors and plenty of cool pubs a stone’s throw away. Kim should join me in the fall, so an empty house for a bit. Come visit.”
Nora Tracy Phillips
Katie Thayer McCammond writes: “My son, John Eliot, graduated from St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy. He’s going to Augsburg University and will play football.”
Amy Nobu and Curtis Starr were sorry to have missed the 40th reunion, but they had a good excuse. It was the only time they could gather all their family – from Tokyo, New York City, Washington, D.C., and North Carolina – to join them for a family trip to Europe.
Els Collins wants members of the form to know that she was “so sad to have missed the 40th due to the more complicated bits of life intervening, but is so grateful for all of the bits and pieces of the magical weekend she was able to see through the pictures and messages shared in its aftermath.”
Bryan Bell sent his regrets for not having been able to join those at the reunion in June. The date coincided with the graduations of both his eighth grade daughter, Sky, and his fifth grade son, Cole.
A message from D.J. Mitchell: “It’s been a long time since you heard from me, so here’s a quick update on my unconventional life. You may have heard that I ‘cleaned up my act’ in 1985. I worked in Sri Lanka with Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya full-time from 1993 to 1995, completed my B.A. in theological studies and peace studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 1999, and worked as a strategist and field researcher in Sarvodaya’s Peace Initiative from 1999 to 2001, supporting grassroots work that helped make possible the Cease-Fire Agreement of 2002. I spent the next decade or so doing tax accounting and research and raising goats and making artisan cheese in Southern Utah. I never was one to do things according to a normal schedule, and in 2014 my wife, Carrie, and I had my first son, Samuel Robert Mitchell. I also have a 13-year-old stepson, Ethan. In 2016, we all moved to Harrisonburg, Va., where I am now two-thirds of the way through the master’s in divinity program at Eastern Mennonite University. I interned at my home church, Immanuel Mennonite, which is the originator of the colorful, trilingual neighbor signs you may have seen popping up all over the country. (“No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.”) In my studies, I’m choosing my electives to focus on helping those who struggle as I did. So far, I have no idea where we’ll be after I graduate.”
Sarah Bankson Newton and her husband, Jeff, hosted more than a dozen Paulies, including a large contigent from the Form of 1979, at their house on May 20 to welcome Jessica ’81 and Sandy Douglas to the Boston area.