September 23, 2019
On August 22, Judy Kennedy, Carol Benson, Dee Abrahamse,Bobbi Sampson, Diana Diggin, Marian Moore, Barbara Douglass and her daughter Julia ’87 met at a coffee shop in North Conway.
Marian requested a fact check on the origin of “uncommon women”. The Quarterly gave credit to Wendy Wasserstein but we have strong and fond memories of Pres. Gettel coining that phrase at our convocation in 1957, as well as his greeting to us, “Fellow Freshmen”. Judy was going to follow up.
Dee also had press coverage for her work in supporting their library. Kim Kimball Holmquist sent a copy of the article in the Santa Barbara Times which is posted on the ’61 website. Dee located over 134 book groups in Long Beach who have since donated more than $14,000 to the Billy Jean King Library.
Diana told of a bibliophile who left his annotated collection of books for friends and relatives and how meaningful this memento was.
Marian is very happy in her retirement community and still sings in her choir.
Carol has retired from Quarryworks, her local theatre, much to the disappointment of the directors. This prompted a discussion of knowing when to say no, to stop. We seem to have a fear of staying on too long in a position.
Bobbie is discouraged with conditions in Port au Prince, Haiti but pleased with the progress the students have made at the school she’s been involved in for many years, scoring well on state examinations. She visited in April and was gratified that the young people’s sights are on something greater than survival. It was fascinating to learn of her involvement in education in Haiti and the founding of the school on Lagonave Isand. She revisited our theme of knowing when to stop and has decided it is time to say 60 years is enough and have younger ones continue.
And then current political events and the NH primary were discussed. It was refreshing to hear different views on candidates.
For our 60th reunion, everyone agreed to solicit all ideas, to brainstorm a wide net. What will entice our classmates to come? Everyone offered her help to Reunion Chairs Barbara Douglass and Sallie Crittendon to make the reunion a success–wonderful spirit!
We look forward to Diana sharing a Billy Collins poem on forgetfulness
ADDENDUM, some of the notes from the website:
Thanks for an entertaining description of your mini-reunion. It’s fun to hear how we celebrate in different parts of the country.
I also remember that it was President Gettell from whom we first heard ‘uncommon women’. Google came up with Gettell’s inaugural address on November 9, 1957, titled “A Plea for the Uncommon Woman”. Haven’t figured out how to see a copy of it but I think we were definitely the first class called uncommon women. And so we are.
Susan Pogue Krock
I clearly remember Pres. Getter dubbing us “uncommon women.” Wendy Wasserstein used the term for her play but it did not originate with her.
A year ago a high school friend and her husband, who went to Wesleyan, were visiting us. He saw “uncommon women” on my MHC mug and thought it was insulting. I assured him it was not and that we are proud of it. He didn’t get it at all.
Barbara Hartt Hise
I agree. It was Gettell calling us Uncommon Women. I can’t fathom why your friend’s husband thought it was insulting! Did he explain?
Your mini reunion sounded like such fun! I was intrigued by your discussion about when to decide to stop. I was having the same argument with myself about singing another Music Club concert (I still sing pretty well for an almost eighty year old but not like I used to!). I commented to daughter Kirsten that if she would play with me, I’d do it—she hasn’t played her flute in years! She said No, so I was about to turn down the invitation, when she called and said she’d changed her mind and would start practicing so I am excited to report that we will be performing together for the first time in many years on March 21. I guess I am postponing my farewell a bit longer!
Your reunion sounded like such fun…wish I lived close enough to come! Sometime…maybe… I’ll just have to travel there and stay with Judy! In my recollection, it was President Gettell who coined the “Uncommon Women”, and we were the first class that he called that! I, too, am in the process of working to chose to stop some things and take up others…but always keeping in mind that I sure do enjoy my nap time in the early afternoon! I love Dottie’ s “weighing the value and the cost”! We just moved to a condo two years ago, so it behooves me to do things closer to home. I feel very strongly that this next year’s election is super important to our country, so have become active in the League of Women Voters again…tomorrow, am working on registering our young people to vote at a small college close to our new home. Am also going to be canvassing. Have just become a Steven Minister at our new church, so am looking forward to hopefully helping some people in need, by pretty much just being there and listening. I’m also part of a fantastic choir there! Obviously, as Dottie said also, moving does help! Best of “choosing time” to everyone! Betsy