From Mason Wells: “Our son, George, just graduated from Middlebury College magna cum laude as an economics/Spanish double major. He starts his full-time job in early July at Barclays in New York City on the credit markets desk. His Spanish will be tested in the Latin American markets.”
In this installment of “News After the Pews” (aka alumni notes), we hear from Jeff Leonard, who is living in the U.K. and owns a Xerox concessionaire. Jeff has two kids in university and one in junior high. Jeff had lunch with Jamie Purviance during his recent travels in London and invites others to call when they are in the U.K.
Carl Weatherley-White says hello from New York City, where he is working with a solar development company, which he reports is a dynamic industry.
Alan Murchie sent a great picture of a mini-reunion in Stonington, Conn., with Alec McCabe, Polly Boswell and Noel Danforth. Alan just started as rector of Trinity Church in Nichols, Conn., and continues as a lecturer in music history at Fairfield University, which is just a few miles away.
John Bankson reports: “With both kids out of school (Madeline, Vassar College 2018 and Walker, Bard College 2021), my wife, Mary Beth, and I pulled up stakes and moved to Durham, N.C., home of Philip Azar. Have seen Philip several times in the few months we’ve been here, and it’s been nice to catch up. I’m still on the road for big chunks of time as a property master on shows, currently Raising Dion for Netflix. Spent a year bringing the next installment of Godzilla to life (Spring 2019) and am finding location work much easier with the youngsters on their own adventures.”
Erika Zuckerman Christakis sends this update: “With our three children launched into adulthood, life seemed a little dull, so my husband, Nicholas, and I became licensed foster parents a year ago. My adopted state of Vermont has been hit hard by the opiate crisis and there are many needy children. It’s been a transformative experience in all the best ways, but not without pain. When not wrangling kids and badly behaved dogs, I do a little coaching with early childhood teachers and I write about young children and families when I can. I would love to see more of my St. Paul’s friends.”
I was happy to get this note from Jutta von Falkenhausen, my newbie Fifth Form year. She remembers her one year at St. Paul’s fondly and will be taking her children to see the campus this summer. She also writes, “I still live in Berlin – an exciting place, come visit! Practicing law as a sole practitioner focusing on corporate advice to non-profits and art law. On the side, I am active in a number of non-profit capacities, mostly dealing with the empowerment of women, foreign policy and education and I feel very privileged to be able to spend my time on things I care about. And, of course, enjoying family life with Ellen (14) and Otto (12).”
Here is the response of Biddle Duke to my eleventh-hour plea for news and some soul-searching: “It’s seems trivial at this challenging time at SPS to whip off a note about this or that going on in my life, or about seeing old SPS friends, of which I seem to have so many good ones. Conversation at every get-together inevitably comes around to the troubling news that continues to emanate from the School. But that connection, and those friendships and powerful memories remain. A month ago I snuck in with a friend to surf at Little Dume in Malibu. It’s a huge private community with some of the best breaks in the Los Angeles area. You need a key to the gates that access the beaches and a friend of mine who works at Pepperdine was able to obtain one for the day. At the end of a great day of surf, as I was locking the gate behind me to leave, a very handsome man said “hold up.” He was headed down to the beach to have a surf. We looked at each other and there was that flash of recognition. It was John Samuels ’78, aka the actor and producer John Stockwell. It had been 40 years but we recognized one another. We caught up for a few minutes. I gushed a bit about one of his movies, Blue Crush, particularly its soundtrack. He gushed about my senator, Bernie. Now, best of all, I have someone else I can tap for a key to the breaks at Little Dume.
The other night I had dinner with Nancy Weltchek ’78 and Richard Schloss ’78. They’ve remained very close all these years. Our little gathering was a few days after their 40th reunion at the School, and we compared each of our class’s impacts on the world; in arts, politics, jounalism, and business. This is a uniquely St. Paul’s thing, the form scorecard – if you don’t have a few noted politicians, a John Kerry ’62 or Robert Mueller ’62, or successful writers, or mega-gazillionaires, somehow your class is unexceptional. So, I began to go down the list in my memory of the many people in their class who I admired for this or that reason: Todd Purdum, Judd Nelson, Beth Alexander, Marc Robert, John Samuels, and I named a few, like Rick Moody ’79, whom I mistakenly placed in the class of 1978. The list went on a little longer until I said “and, by the way, your class pulled off the miracles of miracles – the Cars played twice your senior year!” Which reminds me: Congratulations to the always exceptional Lee Cummings Rhodes for her amazing entrepreneurial adventure and much deserved Alumni Association Award (awarded this spring).”
Katie Atchley reports that she is happy and well, living on top of a mountain in beautiful Santa Barbara, Calif.
As for me, I spent my 55th birthday with Helen Strate Kielty and Nia Chiodo Eismann in New York City. We went to the Whitney. Yep, just that – some wicked good art. Nothing else happened!
And finally, Andrew Zelermyer has given me permission to report that his son, Isaac, is volunteering at my workplace, Boston Medical Center, in the Grow Clinic for Children as his Bar Mitzvah social justice project. He also reminded me that I owe him lunch.
An update from Ben Scully: “On April 16 (same day as the soggy Boston Marathon), I completed the North Pole Marathon in 7 hours and 25 minutes. The air temperature was -33 Celsius, or -27 Fahrenheit. It was a beautiful clear day. We started the race at 11 p.m., as already it was 24 hours of sunlight. It was a very tough course as the underfoot terrain was a constant mixture of uneven snow and ice. I was part of a team of 12 sponsored by a HK life insurer called FWD, and raised over $10,000 for a charity called Humanity and Inclusion, thanks in large part to many generous donations from Paulies too numerous to name. It was an amazing event, and with certainty, I can say the North Pole was the coolest place I have ever been. The race is held every year. I’m now thinking about the Antarctica marathon. . . .”
Forbes Black writes: “I just finished up my first year working as an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). It is an amazing place.”
Nick Spooner has successfully found the portal to the Land of the Lost. He will continue to hate Trump from that location.
Ashley Knickrehm writes: “After eight years of loving labor, I’ve finished my first novel. Dream of Istanbul follows a couple of American empty nesters on an impassioned journey through Turkey. It’s a psychodrama that offers readers an obsessive and morally ambiguous female protagonist named Kira Vallis, a brooding and charismatic tour guide named Münir Çelik, a generous portion of wacky comic relief and, ultimately, a question to wrestle with: What do we hold sacred in this life? And if anyone has any agent or publishing connections where I could submit the manuscript, please let me know. Thank you!”
Minot Maser and John Lehrman ’89 finally caught up after 30 years this March at Vahalla Lodge in British Columbia. Although they’d heard rumors of one another in Montana’s backcountry ski scene, they hadn’t managed to cross paths. John runs Downey Mountain Lodge, a backcountry ski center in the Bitterroot Mountains south of Missoula, while Minot practices criminal defense in Missoula and additionally reps for Backcountry Access, an avalanche safety products company. Minot was amazed, given how fast John skis, he wasn’t on the SPS alpine team. John was glad he hadn’t encountered Minot (yet) in the context of his normal line of work.
Laura Lepler Munro