|Dear Mount Holyoke College Class of 1974,
I just watched and greatly enjoyed the Mount Holyoke Convocation Livestream, and had the opportunity to reflect on a great truth…A LOT has changed since our convocation…and A LOT has stayed the same!! Check out the video and see what you think of the evolution.
All of the speeches held an important theme for us–that we are all, always connected to something larger than ourselves and the pandemic has allowed us to become more aware of the healing outcome of human interaction with each other and with all of Nature…together we are stronger, more resilient, more connected and more likely to have meaningful, restorative joy while evolving in a healthy, integrated way. One presenter stated clearly: Mount Holyoke is about relationships…connections built in residence halls, dining commons…the library and Kendall. I would add ‘and sustained by long term connections through reunions, clubs, mini-reunions and Zoom gatherings’. So, keeping this wisdom in mind, and observing our ongoing mission of Getting and Staying Connected, here’s what your Class leaders have been up to.
I don’t think I need to describe the challenges we have all faced over the last 18 months, nor to predict how the next months will unfold. Following the MHC guidelines for dealing with COVID-Delta, we are not suggesting in-person mini-reunions this Fall. Following the Dr. Fauci guidelines, we will hope that things are healthy again by next Spring, and we’ll be in touch along the way. For one sweet, shining moment, when it seemed that the COVID numbers had slowed enough, there was a great NYC-based mini-reunion recently, summarized below by Cynthia Polk-Allen of our Mini-Reunion Committee.
As summer heads towards Fall, the MHC Class of 1974 Zoomtails will recommence on September 23rd at 7:00pm EST. Stephanie Heim will speak about her work training military dogs. Many thanks to Nan Ward who will fill Maria Mandler’s position as Co-Chair-generating invites, admitting participants, creating breakouts and polls, etc. and to Gail LaRocca who will take Jane Zimmy’s position as Co-Chair/Master of Ceremonies. Much gratitude to Jane and Maria for kicking off and sustaining this meaningful opportunity to connect with each other!!
When other Zoomtails dates are set for this year and next, I will send another email blast so you can add them to your calendars…and that e-blast will contain a new link for the September meeting.
ZOOM MINI-REUNIONS: Also, several classmates have suggested that mini Zooms might be set up in the interim before we can meet in-person. Ideas circulating include: Regional Zooms; Happy hour on a weeknight; Book Club; Dorm groups; Shared interest lessons such as cooking/crafting with demos; Affinity groups such as eldercare, career, knitting, sports, travel, etc.
The MHC 1974 V8s have Zoom mini-reunions monthly…not to sing, since Zoom isn’t great with lag times, but to keep in touch. And here is a clip of a song, Parting Blessing, that Leslie Bowen and I recorded with V8s past and present-in honor of the class of 2021 and all the V8s who have kept our traditions alive during the pandemic.
December 3rd is our virtual Boston Vespers with Zoom minis as a possible add-on.
Please let me know if you’d like to take the lead to develop one or more of these Zoom minis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane and Debby and their Development Co-Chairs, Leslie Bowen and LaVida Dowdell, just sent out a wonderfully enthusiastic letter with the latest update about the growth of the Mount Holyoke Fund and our class contribution, percentage participation and amazing class loyalty, measured in Laurel Chain donors. They are recruiting volunteers so please let LaVida know if you would like to join their team: email@example.com.
MAKE A FRIEND INITIATIVE
Denise McLeod Thomas and Carole LaMond are working together on this initiative. They ask all classmates who have been inspired and pursued the challenge to get to know a class member who they didn’t know while we were on campus to get in touch with Denise at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMEMBRANCE VIDEO PROJECT
Marylloyd Claytor and committee members Debra Orgera and Theresa Salerno have met via Zoom and contacted the MHC quarterly about pathways they can take for this project. More information to follow.
A message from the Chair of our Nominating Committee, Carole LaMond: I am interested in receiving names of classmates who might be great additions to class leadership so that we can put them on the slate at Reunion 2024!
Please reach out with suggestions to Carole at CLaMond@aol.com.
SOCIAL MEDIA: A message from our Social Media Coordinator, Laurie Averill: I have been posting whatever people send me. Any upcoming event that includes classmates and that may be of interest to our class will be posted as an event on the Facebook page and Website. Please send announcements about them to email@example.com.
CLASS NOTES: please don’t forget to send your news to our Class Scribe, Marylloyd Claytor, for our Class Notes in the Alumnae newsletter. For one of the most loyal and connected classes, our Class notes are remarkably sparse. We’re doing great things…let’s share them with the MHC world! The upcoming deadline is October 15 for the Winter Quarterly.
CONNECTIONS CLASS OF 2024
This past spring, I had a really nice half hour Zoom with the VP of the new Class of 2024 Board of Directors, Kyung Ju Lee…just elected then to serve this year. They were facing their last week of classes and then final exams, so the two Class Boards didn’t connect then. Though this convocation was ostensibly for the Class of 2025 to begin their Mount Holyoke journey, our ‘connections’ class, 2024, enjoyed their first time in person at a convocation…with LOTS of enthusiasm! I just emailed Kyung Ju and now have the new Board members’ emails, so I will reach out to them to ask how we might best support them between now and their graduation/our 50th reunion. Please send any ideas you have for cool ways to connect with 2024 as they occur to you.
So…to recap, here’s the layout of our upcoming MHC-related schedule:
Saturday, September 18th (1pm – 5pm EST) – Volunteer Conference run by the College(virtual)
Thursday, September 23rd Zoomtails at 7pm EST
Saturday, October 23rd (time and place TBD)- our 50th Reunion Kickoff—run by our own Jane Zimmy and her Development committee. All Class Volunteers and Class Leaders are invited…so become a volunteer and join us there!
Friday, December 3rd – Virtual Vespers (Boston)…with mini-Zoom or mini-reunion possibilities.
I’ll wrap up with a quote from President Sonya Stephens, which captures our immediate opportunities: “This, Mount Holyoke, is a moment for renewal, for connection to each other and to all living things. The regenerative capacity of this ever-evolving and changing community, the heart and the will of those in it is immense. If we can use our sense of grief and loss to love more, to preserve, to respect, and protect; if we can reflect on and live in interdependence and better use our gifts, acting out of gratitude in ways that are truly radical and deeply reciprocal, then we can do a very great deal to help the environment, to advance equity and justice, and to create great potential for our future.”
Warmest of wishes for a truly uplifting Autumn,
Melissa L. Thornton
President, Class of 1974
P.S. I’ll send these email blasts/class letters ~ 3-4 times per year, whenever we have timely information for you.
Mini-Mini Reunion on an Island in the Bronx
On A beautiful sunny Monday, August 2, 2021, five of us came from our homes in New York City and Connecticut to gather for a meal on an island off the coast of the Bronx. Nancy Arcieri, LaVida Dowdell, Laurie Heller, Cindy Polk-Allen, and Jane Zimmy decided to do a covid safety precaution mini-mini reunion and have a meal together. Some of us see each other regularly; others have gotten together over Zoom; and others had not seen each other since the beginning of this long journey.
We had a blast – catching up on ancient and recent news; talking about subject areas we don’t talk about with anyone else; and sharing ideas and information about future plans. We spent a few hours and it felt as if it had been a brief vacation.
As we enter this new phase of variants, that one special afternoon was more significant than we imagined. A small gathering of college friends had a brief opportunity to see each other live and in-person – the best way to communicate. Though we are grateful for other methods of staying in contact, it is wonderful not to have the barrier of screen or other technology get in the way of our senses.
Looking forward, we have three years to understand and manage this new era. Looking forward, we will meet again in-person for our 50th Reunion on campus at Mount Holyoke. We have three years and hopefully, some of us will have the opportunity to visit in person on an individual or mini-mini basis before then. Until that time, everyone be safe and healthy. Reach out when you need. Remember: We are here to laugh, cry, and support. This or any other pandemic cannot sever our bond.