In Memoriam


                                                         60th Reunion Memorial Service

                           MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE

                        May 27, 2017


            “Mem’ries light the corners of my mind.   Misty water-colored memories of the way we were.” begins the Barbra Streisand song.   According to something I read recently, “Memory is a stream running through the middle of our lives”. Those thoughts bring up many water colored pictures in my mind. It occurs to me that when we were young the stream was small, but as we grow it becomes a river that is wide and deep. Along the way rocks have purified it, and eroding soil has clouded it, and sometimes the rushing water has even changed the course of our lives, but still we stand beside that river and ponder all that has gone into it over all these years, and it is from that river that we nourish our souls and our lives are sustained.

            Our Judeo-Christian faith is built upon memories.   Many of them involve water. Moses led his people through the Red Sea on their journey from slavery in Egypt.   Psalm 137 is written by someone caught in the Jewish exile and it begins, “By the rivers of Babylon – there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion” (Psalm 137:1)

            Moses, who was never allowed to go into the promised land, stood at the top of Mt Nebo and looked across the Jordan River to see all the land that the Lord had promised to his people in the coming years. Jesus was baptized in that same river.

            Memories, streams of them, are important to our lives.   They nourish us, they lift us up, they sweep over us. Memories, like water, can scourge us and purify us, can nourish us and sustain us. (Alas, they can drown us, too, if we do not learn to swim.) And so we come to this day — each of us with a stream of memory running wide and deep through the middle of our souls.

            It is good to take time to be aware of this and to honor those of our class who have gone ahead to their own promised lands.   And while we do that, please remember that water has the force to lift us up. It can buoy us up and quench our thirst.  We still stand, like Moses, and look across that river and see our own promised lands.   Let us do so knowing that we, too, can be sustained as we drink from this river of memory in our hearts.

            Hear this poem that appears in the Jewish Reform Movement’s collection of writings…..

( by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer.)   At the end of each short verse is the phrase, “We remember them”   When I indicate this sentence to you, please respond in unison.)

“In the rising of the sun, and in its going down, we remember them.

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.

In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.

In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.

In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them

In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them

When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.

When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.

When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them

So long as we live, they, too, shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.”

Let us be quiet. Let us sit on the banks of this deep river and remember. Let us drink from this stream of memory and be lifted up.

Rev. Miriam Stone Howland, Class of 1957


   Click>   60th Reunion Memorial Service Video    (When video comes up, click box on lower right for a full screen view).  


Fran Needham Roethgen


Class of 1957

We remember them…..we remember them…..we remember them”.   Interestedly, unbeknownst to the other one, Miriam and I both chose the same words of comfort, of poetry, of remembrance – which touched me deeply.

As we honor these classmates who have passed on, I want to also remember those classmates who are not able to be here with us today – and to include them in our memories and remembrances.

We were and are Sisters, Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Partners, Friends. As I watched the video and saw so many dear and familiar faces, many memories surfaced for me as I’m sure they did for you.

The fall of 1953 – 64 years ago – and yet as clear as if it were yesterday. Sisters all – Uncommon Women. We were determined and courageous, embarking on a new journey, a new stage of life and experiences. We formed groups of friends. We shared laughter, joy, mischief, dedication – and sometimes disappointments, bewilderment, tears and fears. As we looked at these familiar faces, I’m sure each of us had swift and clear remembrances of times with those we have lost. Over the 4 years – Mountain Day – the CI, new dorms, old dorms, new friends, old friends. Kendall – passing the swimming test – playing sports, hiking the mountains, blue books, papers, Chapel, the library. And many more too numerous to mention here. But I stand in awe of the courage of all these women and challenges we faced. As I have aged I have experienced many more challenges, and I know you all have too. Mount Holyoke prepared us to face them. Standing together in support and most importantly, with love, enabled us to face them and live life.

In these memories, in these remembrances. I feel love in my heart and gratitude for all that was and all that is – the things we each can cherish. Throughout scriptures and religious writings of all kinds – Old and New Testament, the Koran, Buddism and other Eastern traditions –whatever spiritual discipline one follows – there are innumerable references and commandments to love. How much better the world would be if we simpy acted and reacted with love. I think of this particularly now with the tumultuous times in which we live. Our college community was and still is an example of people loving one another. Love can envelop us, sustain us and heal us.

As I was pondering all this, I came across these words by Rabbi Allen S. Mailer entitled “When All That’s Left is Love” which spoke to me of a different way to remember:

When I die

If you need to weep

Cry for someone

Walking the street beside you.

You can love me most by letting

Hands touch hands, and souls touch souls.

You can love me most by

Sharing your goodness and

Multiplying your acts of kindness

You can love me most by

Letting me live in your eyes

And not on your mind

Remember what we teach

Love doesn’t die. People do.

So when all that’s left of me is love

Give me away..


I ask you to remember – each in your own way and with your own memories – that the most

Important gift of all is LOVE. Share it – give it – receive it – live it.


Please let’s take a moment of silence in remembrance and then conclude this service

By saying together, Psalm 23.

Thank you.

Rev. Gail Fenbert Paige-Bowman.

Class of 1957




















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