1966 – Spring ’22 Class Letter
Dear Class of 1966,
1966. Seems like yesterday…except when I get up in the morning with a pain in my lower back. But yoga takes care of it until tomorrow morning. Then, it starts all over again. But who’s complaining? I’m here to see the sunrise for another day.
I’m sorry that those who wrote me for the Fall ’21 Letter didn’t get posted. My confusion. But, here we all are in the Spring ’22 Letter!
For me, besides the slight aches and pains of aging, things have been going fine. I love Albuquerque after 40 years in a traffic-clogged L.A. We even had two snowstorms this winter! Plus, we have over 300 days of sunshine.
Here are the messages sent by our Class members:
HELEN HANSEN and Bob Collier of Saint Paul, Minnesota, write, “Thank you so very much for picking up the 1966 Class Agent role. I loved doing it until my husband’s Parkinson’s simply left very little time. We now know more about Parkinson’s than we ever thought we would learn.” [Agent Note: In February 2022, HELEN wrote that “all is good.”]
SUSAN SCOTT LASHLY and MARK LASHLY of Chesterfield, Missouri, write, “Both MARK and I are beginning to find a new path with a little more freedom from COVID-19. Both of us are retired and are involved in some community work which we enjoy. Our travels have been cut short but we have still managed our annual Door County family vacation where we love being together with our entire family and also enjoy the opportunity to renew friendships with Ripon friends – the Goodes and the Matheses.
“Our three granddaughters bring us great joy and are quite grown up now – ages 22, 19, and 15, with two in college at Missouri State University and one a sophomore in high school. Happily, our children and granddaughters live here in St. Louis so we can get together often.
“We look forward to the time when everything can get back to normal and hope all of our Ripon friends have managed to stay healthy and will continue to do so.”
PAM KURZ GOODE and TERRY GOODE of Bailey’s Harbor, Wisconsin, write, “As for what we have been up to (other than being extremely careful due to COVID-19), still enjoying life in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin! So much to do with an active theater and art scene, plus classes at Bjorklunden and the Clearing. Retirement had been good to us.
“Under normal circumstances, we usually travel quite a bit – a month in Mexico, a couple of weeks out East, etc. We are both Civil War buffs (thank you Ripon history professors for that) so many of our past trips have been to visit those historic sites.
“We are very fortunate that our daughter and her family live just a few minutes away from us, so we see lots of them and are able to attend many of the events those two teenage grandsons participate in. Our son and his family live in Syracuse, New York, so we don’t see them very often, but we try to keep up with that grandson’s activities as well.
“Having both lost our mothers to Alzheimer’s disease a number of years ago, we are trying to do our part by volunteering at the Alzheimer’s wing of the local care center on a weekly basis. We also tend a local wildflower garden in a nearby park, which is open to the community. TERRY serves on several boards, including the Merriman Board of Regents.
“We were back in Ripon briefly in August with friends RUTH POTTS FLECK and BOB FLECK ’65 and managed a nice visit with Dr. Hannaford P’68, aka Spud! Also, I touched base with SUZIE SCOTT LASHLY and MARK LASHLY this past summer here in Door County. We also stay in touch via email and phone with SUZAN HELGERSON PRUIETT and her husband in Tampa. That’s our life in a nutshell! Take care and, again, thanks for assuming the class agent mantle!”
WILLIAM DESCHER and PATRICIA OLSON DESCHER of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, write, “We support Hillsdale College and Prager University as do most of my friends of 60s at Ripon. Your Ripon College president turned us off when disinvited the previous U.S. V.P.”
JOAN CHURCHILL of Exeter, New Hampshire, writes, “Suffice it to say, my life has been amazing. I left in ’66 on my way as a technician to Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico where I am now a patron. Then, I went onto Pittsburgh where I got my MFA at Carnegie-Mellon in Scene Design. The rest of the history is pretty much fairy tale.
“As a Santa Fe Opera patron, I am invited to NYC for a preview of any new opera they will present the following summer. In October of ’21, this was for ‘M. Butterfly’ with both David Henry Wang, librettist/playwright, and Huang Ruo, composer. The real star of the evening, however, was Kangmin Justin Kim, the countertenor playing the title role. He would be a great reason to travel to Santa Fe this summer, if for no other reason.
“While in New York, I saw “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” at the re-opened Met. It was too long, but I found it interesting and obviously a breakthrough piece. The house was packed. Two days later I went to the “Turandot” which was only half full. Strange; everyone needs to see that Zefferelli production at least once. (Agent note: The MET in HD broadcast will show Turandot on May 22nd. Check to see if it’s playing where you live. Putting aside questions about ethnicity and cultural appropriation, Turnadot is a must-see, mind-blowing production [the set even gets applause] whose music is glorious.)
“I return to New York for another round at the Met in March, seeing the premiere of the new ‘Don Carlo,’ along with an ‘Eugene Onegin.’ Since I haven’t yet given myself over to flying, I take the Amtrak Acela that goes along the coast and it is pretty breathtaking.”
PAMELA BEEKMAN ROGERS and STEPHEN ROGERS of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, writes, “We are both retired, and we have been married for 55 years. We have two children, two grandchildren, and we vacation in Florida during the month of January. Both of us are enjoying good health.”
JERRY THORNBERY of Baltimore, Maryland, writes, “Here is a brief summary of my life after Ripon College:
- 1966-1967: attended Emory University and gained a MAT degree
- 1967-1970: high school history teacher at East Atlanta High, Atlanta Public Schools
- 1970-1977: graduate student in American History at the University of Maryland, College Park
- 1977 dissertation: The Development of Black Atlanta, 1865-1885
- 1977-1979: part-time college teaching
- 1979-2016: high school history teacher and coach
Here is a link to the Gilman School newspaper that discussed my career and retirement. Most of the information is true.
- 1969: Married Carrie Himes, since 1969 Carrie Thornbery
- 1977: Son Reece was born – now lives in Chicago (with his wife) and is a projectionist at the Music Box
- 1980: Daughter Meredith was born – still lives in Baltimore with her husband, still a Thornbery, and is a 911 dispatcher for Howard County
Note: all our grandchildren have four legs
“In the second semester of our senior year at Ripon, a movie series was shown. It included five or six Bogart films. When I moved to the DC area to begin my near-decade-long career as a grad student (surviving in part on Carrie Thornbery Renewable Scholarships), revival movie houses were popular. I must have seen every film that Bogie made after 1940. I will sail away with Bogie and Bacall to Key Largo any time, but some of my favorite films have been made by John Sayles, at least the ones from 1979 to early 2000.
“I was so impressed with what Brother Metcalf had done that I resolved to run a series on my own if I ever had the chance. For a decade in the 1980s at Gilman School, I ran the Brand O Film Society, promoting a Sunday fall and spring series. I gave extra credit to my students and, using two 16 mm projectors, made enough to break even. (Agent Note: This was the only way a fan of film could see older films since the video wasn’t invented yet. As a film careerist, I envy young people today who can see any film at any time, even on their phone!) At first, I hired a student to show the films but toward the end, I did it myself. The trick was to thread the third reel in the dark and have it set up so perfectly that the audience did not know that I had moved from one projector to another.
“By the end of the decade, however, students no longer had much interest in movies (except mall action or slasher flicks) and some complained so much that I concluded they thought that attending my films was worse than writing a term paper. Consequently, Brand O sadly was shut down. Later, I tried to give extra credit for seeing certain films at The Charles (where my son worked). But, when several students told me that Riffi was about a bank robbery, I knew that it was time to end the movie extra credit.
“And now with the pandemic, who knows if movie houses can survive? I have lost much of my hearing so I need to see a film with Open Captions (OC), meaning the subtitles can be seen on the screen. Fortunately, I get an email each week from OCDC (Open Captions Washington, D.C.) that lists every film and the times that will be shown in OC in the D.C. area. Both the AFI Silver in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the Avalon in Chevy Chase, D.C., show OC films and both require proof of vaccination and masks. So, we have started back to attending movie houses. We don’t tell our daughter.
“Did you happen to see the 1969 French film La Piscine with Alain Delon? We saw it at the AFI this summer and then read the review In the NY Times and decided to see it again at The Avalon a week or so ago. The next night we streamed the American remake of A Bigger Splash with Tilda Swinton. It blew us away. What a brilliant remake. But to appreciate it, you first have to see the original.
“You are scratching your head, no doubt, wondering why anyone would want to leave the comfort of their TV room when they can stream movies at home. But, I like to see films on the Big Screen and want to support my favorite houses. Note that no movie house in Baltimore shows anything in OC. Yes, we are a provincial town. But as the bumper sticker says, “Baltimore, Actually I Like It.” And we live in the city, near the Johns Hopkins undergrad campus. Gosh—it just occurred to me that if you aren’t deeper into movies (thank you, Pauline Kael) you must be asleep by now. If so, so sorry.
“Okay, one more Ripon story that has never been mentioned to my knowledge in a class of 1966 note as classmates get deeper into nostalgia and prove once again that they are closing in on senility. Digression: if so, what does this email say about me?
“In the spring of 1964, George Wallace entered the Wisconsin presidential primary. His opponent was Governor John Reynolds, an LBJ stand-in. Johnson claimed he was too busy carrying out JFK’s legacy and running the country to enter any of the primaries. He got state pols to run in his place, especially in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Maryland. Reynolds had run for governor as an enemy of the sales tax, but once elected, signed a bill for the sales tax. Then he said that a vote for Wallace was a vote against him. Not a great move. And that did not factor in all the Wallace supporters in the state who were going to vote for the Alabama governor anyway.
“Wallace was to speak one night in Oshkosh and two of his critics that same night came to Ripon College to attack him. William Bradford Huie was an Alabama writer who wrote a number of novels (several that became movies— “The Americanization of Emily,” “The Revolt of Mamie Stover,” “The Execution of Private Slovik”). Today he is remembered, if at all, as the journalist who got the killers of Emmett Till to give him a story in Look about how they murdered the youth. They did the interview for the money and because, after being found innocent of the crime, they could not be prosecuted again. The other speaker at Ripon that evening was the famous Socialist, Norman Thomas.
“I remember both of them and some of what they said. Huie pointed out that Wallace was still getting mental disability checks from his World War II experiences. Wallace later replied, “So what. I still have more sense than any or all of those Washington politicians.” Thomas began by asking the tech people to turn off his mic. He explained that he still was not used to those new fangle inventions. And clearly, he did not need amplification; his voice boomed across the auditorium (or was it the gym?). He asked the students to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. When we got to “one nation under God” he exclaimed, “You can stop right there. Sit down. Students and friends, you have in a nutshell, the only contribution Dwight Eisenhower has made in eight years in office. He added ‘under God’ to the Pledge.” And then, he ripped into George Wallace and why all should oppose him.
“That’s more than enough THORNBERY for one sitting. But, here’s a little filler for the newsletter: Every summer since 1975, Carrie and I have gone to Belgium for July and August. Then you can add, that’s Belgium, Wisconsin, where we have a couple of shacks on Lake Michigan. Thanks to the pandemic (better not call it the Trump Virus in the newsletter), we did not make it there in 2020 as our daughter had us on lockdown in Baltimore City. But, we returned this summer to see that our $20,000 rockpile has stopped, for the present, Lake Michigan’s attack on our front yard. So far, so good. Our cottage is located on Sandy Beach South which currently has neither sand nor beach.
“Another piece of filler: Since 2016, I have spent part of my retirement in Wisconsin at our cottage and part of it in Baltimore, back at Gilman School, sitting in on a colleague’s fall English class on the literature of the 1960s. It has forced me to read two Kurt Vonnegut novels, Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five. I’m not a big fan but still glad I read them. In the spring semester, I read four or five Cormac McCarty’s novels. I came to appreciate the film version of No Country for Old Men after reading the novel. My real contribution to that literature course was to make sure that both my friend the instructor and the students knew that the correct pronunciation of that famous Wisconsin killer Ed Gein was Ed Geen, not Ed Gine, that came up in a discussion of McCarthy’s Child of God.
“Finally, a third and last filler: With the pandemic preventing me from attending a class at Gilman School, I had to do something to make Carrie think I wasn’t a total slug- Fat chance. For several months this spring, 2021, with the help of recently discovered letters my folks received from me in the late 1960s, I wrote a memoir about my first teaching gig, as a history teacher in the Atlanta Public Schools. It was written to amuse my former students of a half-century ago. Best comment: “JERRY, how do you remember all this crap?” The Johns Hopkins Medical Center has rated the memoir the best cure now known for insomnia. So, when I send it out, the reader is asked not to read the memoir while driving. I thank all of the contributors to this, my first “Class of 1966 Newsletter.” Given our ages, we have all lived very interesting and full lives, and I for one appreciate hearing about them.
“Let me add that this summer I am foregoing my annual trip to the Santa Fe Opera (if you have never gone it’s quite an experience given its location and the quality of its productions) and instead am going to the Central City Opera in Central City, Colorado. It’s located in a historic opera house built in 1878 (!) by Welsh and Cornish miners and town residents who had a tradition of music. Fortunately, it has been renovated several times over the past century and a half. Sitting in this theater is like going back in time and imagining what living in this once-thriving mining town that built an opera house must have been like.
“But before Colorado, I’m going to Brooklyn, New York, to see my granddaughter for the first time for her two-year birthday. My stepdaughter keeps me and her father, my husband, up to date with pictures of Raia nearly every day. But it will be great to actually see her and hold her in person. Plus, it’s New York City which means lots of theater-going, assuming the theaters will stay open and there’s something to see. Finally, I’m starting to make plans to see the Northern Lights in 2023 which assumes I will see 2023!”
In conclusion, as you may have read in the Winter Ripon Magazine, 2021 was the highest fundraising year ever for the college. However, just over 38% of our class contributed to this historic accomplishment. If you are in the 38+% who contributed, thank you. If not, perhaps you will consider making a donation during 2022 and, perhaps, we will not only beat the 2021 record but will increase the percentage of our class that is contributing. I look at it as planting seeds for the future as we help sustain the College while we help students by funding their education. It would be great to report an increase for the Spring 2023 Class Letter.
Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from more of you for the next Class Letter. There are 168 of us still around, so let us know what you have done and are planning to do. My email is [email protected]. Don’t be shy.
Also, this summer’s Alumni Weekend will be June 23-26, 2022. After our 50th Reunion, we become part of what is known as the Golden R Reunion, which means we have a special celebration and dinner that we are invited to every year during Alumni Weekend.
This Class Letter is being snail-mailed in order to reach the most amount of Classmates. It is cheaper for the College to email out this Class Letter only. Therefore, I would encourage you that if you would like to stay up-to-date on your classmates’ activities, consider updating the College with your preferred email address using this form: alumni.ripon.edu/services/update-info/, or you can email me directly.
BARRY SIMON ’66
Your 1966 Class Agent