Part 8: Jun 23 – 30, ’20

6/23 – 30, 2020

6/23/20 — Hi All — Barb Freeman Douglass and I have decided that we will definitely host our annual MHC61 Mini Reunion again this year on Thursday, August 20, 2020, either in person at noon at Front Side Grille in North Conway as we have done in the past, or online via Zoom, OR BOTH (!), depending on what’s realistic, safe, and comfortable two months from now.   This will be the 11th consecutive year we’ve done this.
      Attendance is open to anyone in the class of course, and we usually get 6-10 attendees, some times more.  One of the advantages of having this online in whole or in part would mean that those of you living too far away to realistically attend, now could!   And that would be a boon to Barb and Sallie Crittenden, our 2021 Reunion Co-Chairs, since we think that much of the gathering will be focused on Reunion, how it is shaping up so far, what we want for programming if any, and who’s willing and available to help with planning some aspect of the weekend.
     I hasten to say that the college has just written Barb to say that they are very much hoping that the 2021 Reunion can be on campus.
Given that, Barb has volunteered to “Zoom Host and Manage” anything we do online, and I will take over her usual job of recording discussion, and reporting it back to the full Chat group and to Liz for the website.
     So, mark your calendar now for “202020.”   “Regular attendees” might email Barb and me back now to let us know if your summer plans include a visit or a stay in New England, and whether or not, you would want to come to North Conway for the day.   The rest of you don’t need to respond to this email at this time, unless you know that you are definitely going to be in the area and want to come if possible.  One of us will be in touch in mid-August to everyone once again to let you know what exactly is doable on the 20th, and you can let us know then what is possible and comfortable for you.  In the interim, it’s best to take discussion of the Mini Reunion off the Chat Group so as not to “bore” those for whom there is no chance of attending either in person or online.
     Always enjoy hearing from all of you through the Chat, and have especially enjoyed our periodic get togethers, either at the college or elsewhere,  Judy K (Judy Marshall Kennedy)

6/23/20 — Hello and thanks, Judy, for this plan. I would definitely join via Zoom, hope if you do North Conway it will also be available virtually. The timing is great as there will be a MHC webinar the following Sunday re reunions and it would be so helpful to have as many viewpoints/plans expressed as possible. Let’s all be hopeful for all things positive in 2021 at least; here in Maine leaders are cautious and volunteer groups are mostly not planning in-person meetings for the rest of this year. Keep safe all!  Elsa Anderson van Bergen
* Hey. I’ll come on Zoom! Sounds like fun. Betsy
Alas,it doesn’t look as though July/August will yet be safe for flying, and we’ll probably still be here, so we’re now hoping for an October trip to Vermont. But I’ll definitely join you on zoom! I’ll miss our lunches, but if we get to Wolcott in October will come over to see you and Judy then.
* I have a question for reunion planners. Where are the accommodations for 60th reunions?
Barbara Hartt Hise
* I’ll definitely be at the 202020 Zoom. Thanks to all you organizers, and cheers — Liz Webfoot
* Dear Judy – It’s a wonderful moment to join with the class, but not possible. So I am always happy to learn the exciting new (and sad) events of this particular event. Wishing you and all the classmates and joy. Hugs and cheers from Bonnie Stretch!
* Reunion accommodations will be the same, Abbey-Buckland. The changes are that our dinner will be at Willets and that the costhas been lowered to $60. May 22-24, 2021!!
BarbaraFreeman Douglass
* Thank you for letting us all know Judy, will mark my calendar as I, too, am interested in Zoom, helps that we’ve all being doing it, last one for me was my annual physical, kind of a joke!  Amy
* Thanks! I was hoping we had moved up in status and would be in Willets. Guess we’re still too big a group.  Barbara
* Hello. The word I got as treasurer was that all meals would be in Willets (not in the general communal center) and transport between dorm and dining would be provided.  Elsa
* I’ll be in Rockport, MA on the 20th and would love to join you in August (North Conway). Will watch these e-mails for updates. Best to all.  Nancy (Coleman Wolsk)
* I’m getting good at Zoom! Would love to be a part of the mini-reunion!  Sherry Welles Urner
* As best as I can tell from the science people in my family, August is still too soon to stop social distancing. Unfortunately we are all in the high risk group for risk with meeting in a group. In addition to our age, many of us have other issues that put us at risk. I am diabetic which increases my risk. I would suggest we put our energies into setting up a zoom reunion. My son’s daughter graduated from college in May and they threw a wonderful zoom graduation party. It certainly will be a wonderful memory for us all.  Sallie Crittendon
* I have not ever been able to attend the mini reunion but if it’s ok with everyone maybe as class president I could join the Zoom call? I am good at Zoom! Any way could someone let me know if I can be included and hopefully I can be emailed the meeting ID and password. Thanks!  Mary Ginn Weinland
* Absolutely, Mary. Not only would we love to have you “zooming” with us at noon on “202020,” we’d love to have any one and every one in the class on the call — the more the merrier!! (“202020” = August 20, 2020)

6/23/20 — Barb and I will figure out “mechanics” of this in the interim. I’ve been on many Zoom meetings now (book club, Ollie Adult Ed, piano lessons, jazz band, high school reunion, Dan’s fraternity reunion) so like other classmates, I have a good sense of what’s involved. Neither Barb or I have ever “hosted a Zoom meet” though, but as Barb says “We’re MHC’s First Uncommon Women, We’ll figure it out!!” — and no doubt we will.
     I do know from Jazz Band (where there are sometimes 15 or more in the meeting all playing different instruments) that everyone needs to be prepared to be disciplined and not interrupt or talk on top of each other, as the Zoom Robot can only identify one voicing at a time, so it gets rather “ragged” if many chime in all at once.
     Instructions, password, and link to the Zoom meeting will be sent to all on the Chat in mid-August automatically, just a few days before “202020,” so you don’t have to commit now if you don’t know your plans for the summer yet. Some of us may still want to gather in person and appear on the Zoom meeting as one group from the patio at Front Side Grille, or alternatively from my large back deck, properly masked and distanced — so I’m leaving that option on the table until we know more about whether or not New Hampshire can sustain over the summer it’s current very good situation with respect to Covid.
Judy Marshall Kennedy

* Many thanks, Judy and Barbara. As hosts on a Zoom, you can mute everyone and ask everyone to raise hands and you can unmute each person, one at a time. You are wonderful to offer. I think a good agenda is how we can help with reunion planning, if Chairwomen would like. Marian
* Thanks Judy- I too have never hosted a Zoom but have been on plenty. We are leaving for our summer place in Northern Michigan on July 4 and will return Labor Day. But there is good Wi-Fi service so a Zoom call should be no problem. Stay safe and talk to you in August.
* I’m doing a lot of Zooms too, and hosting isn’t hard. We don’t have good Wi=Fi in Vermont, but won’t be there this summer, so I can do some Zooms too. Dee de Ferranti Abrahamse
* Wish I could see you – we’re not going to try flying to the east this summer – are hoping things will be better by October. I’ll miss you – let’s hope for a later get together when the pandemic finally disappears! I’d love to hear what you are reading and talking about related to racism and policing. I’m in a discussion group on “White Fragility”, and am reading some books on the history of racism that I’d love to talk about.  Dee de Ferranti Abrahamse

6/29/20 — The 60th is the last official reunion because then we go in a catch-all honorary status, and yes, that has been Willets in the past. So come to the 60th!  Barbara Freeman Douglass

6/29/20 — Hello. The word I got as treasurer was that all meals would be in Willets (not in the general communal center) and transport between dorm and dining would be provided. Elsa

6/23/20 — While we have decided that we cannot open our Kokosing Vacation Club in Maine this summer due to the restrictions placed on visitors to Maine and our concern for our guests safety, family members will be going to Maine and not leaving our place vulnerable. It is sad but, I do plan to be in Maine for the end of August and will plan on lunch in North Conway or a Zoom gathering. Of the platforms available, I have found Zoom to be the most reliable. Thanks so much, Judy and Barbara. Marian Strong Moore
Editor’s note:  So it’s the end of June, 2020, and nationwide there are several issues:
*  continued protesting about George Floyd’s murder;
*  various states have been unable to control the virus — mostly in the south, especially Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.   Residents of some states are protesting the wearing of masks and the closures of businesses. Some states have opened up too quickly, and so some are having to reclose.  Quite a mess.
* some Republican governors are supporting Trump and thereby jeopardizing the health of the residents — some mayors ordering city residents to wear masks, but some governors saying ‘no’.  
* confusion and unclear directions as to the possible opening of schools in the fall:  distance learning vs on-campus classes.  Economy vs. health and safety.
* Trump sent Federal troops to Portland, Oregon, and the Mayor of Portland does not want those Federal troops in his city. Another mess.  
     We are mostly doing okay — wearing masks, staying home and confining any meetings to outside, and observing social distancing. So I’ll continue with our emails.

6/25/20 — Not requiring temperature-taking when schools reopen seems like avoiding the obvious: what to do with children who test with a temperature. Many would have no one to pick them up or take care of them at home. Plus, is there anyone reading this letter who hasn’t hoped for the best after feeling a child just a bit warm and looking OK, and sent the child off anyway? I know now is not then and we are a superior group, but still…..
     I love reading the Globe every day. I’m FROM Massachusetts even though I’ve lived in Florida for 30 years plus. And I’m proud of the way its citizens have reacted to the challenge of the virus. And oh how I would love to be in Rockport right now, as I have many other years. And I would go to North Conway in August. I’ll be there virtually though.  Dottie Smith Mann

6/25/20 — Hi, everyone.  Yes, Dottie, as you know, I’m from Massachusetts, too, even though I’ve lived in Maryland for over 50 years.  When people ask me where I’m from, I always say “the Boston area.”  I’m curious as to your comment about Florida:  “I’m proud of the way its citizens have reacted to the challenge of the virus.”  I’ve been feeling exactly the opposite.  What we see here on the news channels (but don’t watch FOX) is that Florida has been unbelievably irresponsible about its reaction to the spread of the virus.  Are you in a part of Florida that is reporting good statitics?  Please fill us in on why you think Florida is doing well.  On a graph, it is doing miserably.  Maybe you were referring to Massachusetts?
     A friend just delivered the “Town and Country” magazine May issue which features the horrors of attempted murder at our alma mater.  It is an interesting story, and if any of you haven’t seen it, I can scan it and send it to you.  Unbelievable story, and so sad for faculty and students alike.
     Today we will get our hair cut again in our back yard (our wonderful Hair Cuttery person), and then we start thinking about our trip to “Afterglow” on Sutton Island, Maine, in a week.  Some of you remember how wonderful it is.  Since we plan to take all the food we need for a week, it will take some planning — and some carrying from the dock to the house, about 100 yards or so up a windy and rocky path.  We can’t wait to sit and relax for a week — eat a couple of lobsters, mussels and clams.  I know Bryan will take down some trees and I’ll be forced to pull the constantly-spreading bayberry; but I’m hoping it will be a relaxing week.  These past few years we’ve spent too much of our “vacation” doing heavy work.  We weren’t there last year to help maintain the flower garden.
     We never made it last year because of our huge grape crop followed by peaches.  This year, as I know many of you will understand, here in Maryland all vegetation is twice its normal size — due to our extremely mild winter, tons of rain, and tons of sun.  Our June weather was more typical for July.  So we have three bazillion grapes (fredonia, canidace, himrod and concord)– which will make LOTS of delicious jelly (most all from Fredonia — THE BEST JELLY!).  Hey, reunion chairs, I can offer a couple of jars of grape jelly and peach jam for prizes of some sort.  
I have to run for my backyard haircut.  Cheers and hugs,
Liz Webfoot

6/25/20 — No no no, I meant exactly the opposite.  I’m proud of Massachusetts. Of course Florida is a true and total embarrassment but more seriously of course lives are at stake here. 
     Wonderful to think of you on the island in Maine. Of course I remember when we got together there  planning a long ago reunion. Sitting on your front porch steps at the end of the day eating mussels. 
     I love you all dearly and have inexpressible gratitude for all we shared 60 years ago and have continued to share. 
Dottie Smith Mann 

6/25/20 — Liz – When you have time, please do scan the Town and Country magazine May issue and send it to me.  I’d like to read it.  Thanks, Judy K

6/26/20 — Does anyone know if MHC has made a decision about whether or not to bring students on campus this fall?  And if not, when such a decision is expected?   I’m just curious.  I went on the website expecting to see something about this but couldn’t find anything using a quick search.  Judy K

6/26/20 — Guess it’s not unusual. We have two grandsons who are college freshmen. They have not heard about fall yet. So hard for these kids.  Barbara Hartt Hise

6/26/20 — Dottie found this. Maybe you have it?

6/27/20 — (this is an email from Dottie which couldn’t  get through the first time because of “unacceptable content” — bizarre.)  
     I watched replays of yesterday’s hearings and am reminded of long ago days when math and science nerds would be jeered at in high school classrooms. Earlier than that, on elementary school playgrounds. Those of us without their affinity for numbers and precision were made uncomfortable I think. And may have attributed smugness to them which was perhaps just a quiet comfortable relationship with numbers and formulae and hypotheses. 
     Now I watch Rand Paul confront Dr. Fauci and remember. When I watched the smart kid at the blackboard with the right answer, and heard the snickers coming from the back of the classroom.
     Know what I’m talking about?  Betcha  some of you whiz kids tried to cover-up all that wonderful ability. At least till you got to Mount Holyoke where all kinds of abilities were appreciated. Or at least so I like to think all these years later.   
     Right now  I (creature of variable definitions and enigmatic imagery) value the data/ turned into models /turned into probabilities which  give some reassurance in a scary time. And those calm, serious speakers yesterday seasoned their words with “probability, more likely,” etc. They are dashing romantic heroes these days. 
     Know what I mean?  Dottie Smith Mann

6/27/20 — I’m also in a group reading “White Fragility” together to talk about our own lives and prejudices we may not confront. My main reaction so far is how white my upbringing was – I can only remember one place where I knew blacks and had black friends, when we lived in Cincinnati – otherwise, can’t remember any contacts with blacks at all, including MHC, with the exception of one student in a Latin class – I think she was a year or two behind us.   Am I missing something? We didn’t have cleaners or other servants  most of the itme I was growing up, so I don’t have memories of seeing blacks in those positions.  Were your childhoods as white as mine? 
     Coming to California for my first job was eye opening, and has been a delight – our city has large populations with all different backgrounds – an old black community that has been here for generations, newer and very large hispanic population, refugee communities from the 70s from Vietnam, Cambodia  and  recent immigrant Philippino and Samoan groups, with nearby Korean communities as well.  Made  for a great student population at my university, and for  my sons in high school.  
     Right now, I’m reading “Stamped from the Beginning” – a history of racism from the earliest settlements to the present  by Ibram X Kendi- it’s good,  – even mind blowing – a whole different story about the Civil War than Iv’e ever read,  with Lincoln coming off as much less heroic that we are used to – but long. I’m going to try a shorter book of his  – ” How to Be An an Antiracist” next.  ” Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, was amazing.  What are the rest of you reading or doing? We had protest marches here, but I didn’t go, since they weren’t keeping any social distance.  Best to you all — hope you’re all well and keeping sane!  Dee Abrahamse

6/27/20 — I Am also reading “Stamped at the Beginning “. Yes it is eye opening”!  Judy K
6/27/20 — I have just watched a talk by Carolyn Finney on the Middlebury College website.  I found it very moving and informative about how it feels to be in the skin of a person of color.  I hope yu can find it and see it to the end.  I thought I was not a racist.  I have to think, again. It has helped in my thnking, a great deal.   
Marian Strong Moore

6/27/20 — Tried to watch Carolyn Finney but it isn’t yet available though website says they will be downloading it, so I’ll keep a lookout.  It sounds really worthwhile.
     I remember several pivotal incidents when I was growing up, but like Dee, there weren’t many blacks in my life.   In the seventh grade, I invited all the girls in my class to a birthday party except for Dottie Muse, the one black girl.  I remember agonizing over the decision but we decided she “probably wouldn’t be comfortable” and “perhaps some of the other girls wouldn’t come” so we didn’t include her.  I have never forgotten how distressed that decision made me but I certainly wasn’t strong enough to buck the trend. 
     Another incident that stands out in my mind was after college when I was staying with my aunt in Belmont, MA while I went to music school.  My family joined us for Thanksgiving dinner and discussion moved to how upset my aunt was that a black professor had bought a house in the neighborhood, thus potentially affecting property values.  I tried to argue but ended up in tears and leaving the table. 
     Later on in life, we did have a black usher and black flower girl (not related) in our wedding, and Poppy Cannon for whom I worked at the time, wrote an article about it for the Amsterdam News  –she was a columnist there because she had been married to Walter White, head of the NAACP.   So I guess it was a pretty big deal at the time.   I remember my mother-in-law tried to engage George Shirley’s wife (he was the usher) and she wasn’t very forthcoming so my mother-in-law said “You don’t make it  very easy, do you?” and Gladys replied: “And I don’t intend to!”   When I lived in L.A., I was in a production at the Beverly Hills Playhouse of a musical version of A Patch of  Blue  which of course had a number of black cast members.  I’ll never forget when the lead male came back from lunch, having been stopped and questioned by police, obviously just for being black in Beverly Hills!  I was outraged and sympathetic but I honestly never began to understand what “systemic racism” means until the terrible George Floyd incident and all that has followed.   There have been several Black Lives Matter demonstrations here in Santa Barbara, but honestly, there are relatively few black residents here and I’m quite sure that many times they have been judged as not belonging because of their color.   
     I am cautiously optimistic that this time we might actually see some important changes.   Some already have started to happen but it will still be a long road.  Kim Holmquist

6/27/20 — I know that my Peace Corps experience in Iran during the 1960’s helped me grow in awareness of other peoples’ cultures, faith, and life experiences.  When Paul and I started traveling internationally as well as domestically, I got a sense of how small this world really is. Living on a park, I can see people playing in the park or walking their dogs but I realize that few of them are people of color.
Jennifer Bagster-Collins Seaver

6/29/20 –Here’s a great candidate you probably haven’t heard about  – too bad she’s a Californian, a state Biden will win anyway.  She’s a long shot because she’s a Californian,  but a great person and leader, and hasn’t gotten any headlines (ed. note: soon followed by these headlines from the LA Times):
She’s the first Black woman in the U.S. to lead a legislative house. Will Karen Bass soon be VP?  Dee Abrahamse 

6/29/20 — I started hearing about her a few weeks ago.  The article added substantially to what I had heard, and she sounds like a GOOD viable VP candidate.  I worry more about progressives staying away from the polls because they see Biden as more ho-hum/status quo than I do about moderates staying away because they don’t want to change the ho-hum/status quo.  Frannie Blair

6/28/20 — Those of you who subscribe to the NY Times have perhaps seen this column from today’s NY Times.  I found it enlightening but disturbing. Confederate MonumentKim 

Responses to the NY Times article (author Caroline Randall Williams):
* Wow that is a powerful article!  Maggie
* Yes it is. I heard it referred to and immediately felt a shock realizing what that cafe au lait skin meant.  Dottie
* Thanks, Kim. Disturbing, yes. Thought-provoking, you bet. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we’re all sharing a lot of things to think about. Thank you so much. Cheers — Liz
* Over twenty years ago, Maya Angelou came to Tacoma, WA (the nearest large city to me) to give a talk.  I went with several friends & colleagues.  During her talk, she read some of her poems; one I still remember was about all the different shades of blackness (many of them food-related), which she celebrated while reminding the audience of the causes for those variations in skin-color.  Ms. Williams’ article needs to be widely shared!  Thanks, Kim! Frannie Blair
* Wow! That is a very emotional article that illustrates in a personal way how raw and deep the feelings go. It’s a must read.
I’m glad I persevered (and you persevered) so I had the chance to read it.  Barbara Hartt Hise

6/29/20 — Sending two birthday cards via email. Opening new containers of orange juice and cranberry juice. Replacing plastic sleeve on my hearing aids.
That’s the life of an 81-year-old. Took most of the morning. Each time I almost gave up. Ready to seek help from a distant source. Because my in-house muscle, IT Mann has been gone these eight years. Talk to him a lot. If there was an answer, it was in the form of let’s give it one more try.
     Know what I mean? Dottie Smith Mann

6/29/20 — Even though I’m not in your situation, I do know what you mean. With both hands weak, one from arthritis and the other from a long ago motor-neuron issue, I have to call my in-house muscle frequently!  Barbara Hartt Hise

6/29/20 — I know what you mean, Dottie.  Wearing hearings aids for 71 years now, I still get frustrated and sidetracked when the batteries go dead almost without warning, when the traverse curtain rod hook holders (cheap plastic) break, when important information comes in too-small-font, and when I spend an afternoon vacuuming – the assigned task of my “in-house muscle” Jim, who died almost 20 years ago, whose voice I hear still: “patience, dear.  you’re trying too hard.  slow down…you can do it!”
     Anyone else want to join our group?   Cindy Dennett Yee

6/29/20 — Oh yes, Cindy, oh yes.  Dottie
6/29/20 — Thinking of everyone.  Bette Keck Peterson


Time does not stand still
Yet our lives have
Been changed immeasurably
The past four months.

Beaumont quarantine means
Staying in our fifty acres
But what do we do with
This change of pace?

Some rightfully experience –
Loss, anxiety , fear, pain, and worry.
Others may decide to muse on
What to change as we go forward.

Re-evaluation of our lives is a must,
We are all connected———
Living on the edge forces
One to take stock of ones life.

Our purpose in life, what you do,
What you give, what you love,
What you need to survive,
What’s essential and
What isn’t ?

6/30/20 — Thanks, Bette.   That was lovely.   And congratulations for pursuing what is obviously your passion!  Kim

6/30/20 — I am full of thoughts and poem at this time. A rather new experience for me.  xo  Bette

6/30/20 — Betty.  Beautiful, and so thought provoking at this time.    Thank you.  Betsy Wilson.

6/30/20 — Bette – your thoughts and poetry is “spot on” for where I am in my life at this moment.. thank you for putting my (shared) feelings into words.  Sherry Welles Urner