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    2024 

Page one

Welcome to the first newsletter of the year.  As usual this is a work in progress. So, if you have something you want, or intended to send in, do so, and I will be happy to add a "Page 2" or "Page 3 or as many as needed.  And, if you have seldom or never graced these pages with your own inputs, take a few minutes and tell us all about life since Greeley.  You can be sure everyone will read it with interest.

And with that, let's get to it....

It's becoming a tradition -- The "Gang of Eight" down there in Vero Beach seems to get together and send me a picture of them all at dinner just in time for the newsletter. And it's happened again.  

 

 

Tom Stephens was right on time, and for the third year in a row we lead off with them again. Starting with Tom , who is in the center, wearing the snazzy gray blazer and going clockwise from there, we have Bob Holmes, Patsy Howe, Bob's wife Judy, Susan Stephenson, Bill Holmes, Dick Howe, and Lisa Holmes.

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Doug Weiss with yet another excellent report on his and Marianne's activities and travels.  Here's Doug and Marianne with their grandchildren in Barcelona last summer.

 

I traveled through downtown Chappaqua a couple of weeks ago….kind of fascinating… using google earth.  Some recognizable buildings and roads, but so much has changed.  I encourage everyone to follow the “You know you're from Chappaqua if you remember...” group on Facebook…brings back lots of memories.  We don’t really get to the NYC area these days, unless we’re passing through JFK or Newark on our way somewhere. Our domestic travel is to Boston and Atlanta to visit family (2 grandkids each).  We just returned from a 5 night cruise with everyone since their school breaks this year were the same in both cities.  Wonderful experience…everyone had a good time… it was our 50th wedding anniversary gift to ourselves. Our grandchildren don’t know how lucky they are….they all have frequent flyer miles…we took everyone to Barcelona for a week last year.  Boston family is going on an Alaska cruise this summer and a week in Mexico City. The other family is spending two weeks in Croatia.  Yes, we continue to travel….next cruise is ft Lauderdale to Athens…then later in the year, Amsterdam/Iceland/Greenland and ending the year in the Caribbean with B2B cruises both going into the Panama Canal.  If we are still able, we’re booked to cruise around Japan and then transpacific to Vancouver next year.  It’s our version of having a summer house.  As I’m sure many can relate, we have been joined travelling over the past years with good friends…..We are now cruising alone due to each of the four couples’ medical issues….painful reality of age. 

 

Still volunteering rebuilding donated laptops and desktop computers which we give to children, college kids and the needy in our community…free of charge.  I am actually the techie in the group who gets all the “tough” to fix ones.  Still helping folks find their way around Selby Gardens…I always have a bag of Koi food to give to kids and handicapped so they can feed the fish for their enjoyment.  Still helping giving out food to the needy, working with our local food bank. Marianne volunteers at the public library and local hospital as well as volunteering with me at Selby.  

 

I’m now officially a Southerner….I moved from Scotch to Bourbon 😊I enjoy trying different whiskeys and can’t resist a sale or a (affordable) bottle I haven’t seen before.  Of course, there’s a conflict….the bourbons are excellent, but my Dr and I have decided that I shouldn’t (not can’t) drink more than 2 oz a day….that’s not the real problem….the real problem is that my wife heard my Dr tell me to limit to 2 oz a day 😊  

 

Home automation is an ongoing hobby…when I get near my bar and the light is low, the bar light automatically goes on.  When I turn off the TV at night, Alexa reminds me that our garage door is open or closed.  I can push a button on my watch and the outdoor garage lights go on when we near our house.  Nothing exotic, nothing one couldn’t do without the electronics, but it’s just fun to learn new things.  I’ve just purchased a radio scanner to take on trips to listen to airplanes, cruise communications, whatever…..not sure if I’ll hear anything, but it was just $40 used on EBAY so if it doesn’t work, I’ll just resell it.  Staying active keeps me young and I can still remember my own name, although when I wear a name tag, I now wear it upside down so I can glance at it, if I forget.

 

Looking forward to reading about what and how others are doing in the  next newsletter.  

Peter Kilburn brings us up to date. (That's Peter and Natalie, snowed in for a day in Boulder this week.)
 

Natalie and I moved last November to a beautiful North Carolina continuing care facility- The Cedars of Chapel Hill. We are happily settled in, meeting interesting, accomplished folks of similar backgrounds. After 25 years in Charlottesville and UVA, we are pleased to be here with our daughter, son in law Paul and three adult grandsons. And UNC, another exceptional University. We love the daily academic and athletics activities. 

My sister, Sally, died at 84 two years ago. Brother Tony and his lovely, talented wife Jan are still going strong in Damariscotta Maine. Their art business is thriving- check out Jan Kilburn Artist. Natalie and I are still able to travel 8-10 weeks annually. We have some minor age related health challenges and intend to travel as long as we can board a train, plane or boat. We see Mary Ellen Walsh a number of times annually and she is great- a friend since 3rd grade. So sorry to learn about Mr McGuire’s passing- he was an inspirational teacher. Natalie and I are grateful for our Chappaqua years and experiences. 

 You mentioned post-career non-profit interests. I neglected to add that I served on a number of non profits in retirement. I found these opportunities rewarding in every way. Big Brother/Big Sister, CASA (court appointed special advocates serving at risk youngsters), and the UVA Hospital Emergency Dept. have all been so very satisfying.

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Jean (Bennigsen) Dare sent some nice pictures and a quick update:

 

 

 

My husband of 39 years continue to be in good health and try to keep it that way by eating well, going to the gym and gardening. These past few years I have enjoyed giving back to the community by sharing my art.  I've painted and hidden over a thousand painted rocks in our small city. It's fun to do and people seem to like and collect them. In addition, since the pandemic I started painting cards to mail to people in my garden club who are sick and elderly and I also belong to a Facebook group that asks that cards be sent to people with medical and emotional problems. It is very rewarding and is a way for me to give back for the great life I have given. 

I hope my classmates are well and enjoying life. 

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IKristina (Olsson) Sachs catches us up since the 50th reunion.  (Gee, that's 13 years ago....)

 

I have not contributed since our 50th reunion, but since you “beseeched me”, I thought I would try it now.  David and I have four children and 12 grandchildren, from 2 years old to 20, who all live around where we live in Massachusetts.  Although our legal address is now Northwood, NH, where we spend our summers, and we spend the winters in Florida, we still have a place to stay in MA in off seasons. 

 

At 82, David is still working in the field of transplantation immunology, and I spend my time cooking, baking, walking and reading.  In other words, I am completely retired.  We have also been attending to our bucket list, our plan being to take at least one of our children’s families with us on each trip.  In the last few years, we have been to the Galapagos, Alaska, Greece, Mexico and France.  In May we will visit Tuscany.  We continue to spend a few weeks each summer on our island in Sweden in the house where I was born.  

 

I drive to and from Florida each year, visiting friends along the way, and always stop to visit Anita Lindholm Smith, who has remained my dearest friend from high school.

And she sends a great picture of her family. (I didn't get all the names, but I'm sure you can spot her and David in the middle.)

 

Kristina (Olsson) Sachs

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Anita Lindholm Smith added some comments about that wedding, as well as a nice picture.  She also added an interesting pic of their latest rescue dog, who seems to be interested in the piano!

I was soloist at her wedding in Chappaqua synagogue, singing English and Swedish songs.  She and David had a beautiful wedding ceremony.  What a wonderful life-long memory.

And of course, Anita continues her dedicated calling teaching piano.  

I asked Anita how long she has been teaching piano, and got this delightful reply:

I started teaching piano to my son and two playmates when they were in third grade (8 years old) in 1981. The word got out that there was a piano teacher
in walking distance of the Silvermine Elementary School in Norwalk, Ct……... and so my unexpected career as a piano teacher took off. 
I hired a piano coach to advance my piano technique and to help me feel that my lessons were truly benefitting each student.
This coach taught me in depth classes for one hour each week and it continued for 7 years!  He gave me knowledge of piano music that was invaluable.  

I had no idea I would wind up a piano teacher for so many years and to keep loving all that it brings me via my students.

As you can see below, I may have acquired a new piano student. We also had the annual Christmas recital, and I have some new students pictured below, to include my youngest, Tillie, 6 years old and my oldest, a grandma of 75.

(Ed. note -Anita sent a pic from around the beginning of her teaching career and there it is below.)

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AnitaTillie (Matilda) is my youngest student at present and is now 6 years old, she started a few months before her birthday which is on Halloween. She loves playing scary songs she thinks because of that holiday being her birthday. 
She is playing “My First Waltz” (in previous photo)  which asks for damper pedal to be pressed down at the end  however since she didn’t want to disturb Cooper she said  “I won’t disturb Cooper so I will forget about pushing down pedal this time”. I thought that was very considerate of her. She loves dogs. Has two golden retrievers herself.


 

Jack Duncan sends the latest, to include a big change in residence, and several nice pics. That's Jack and Barb, then Son Mark and daughter Amy.  The last photo is a whimsical one he entitles "Pumpkin Head, the evangelist" in the front yard."

Finally settled down and ready to get something off for the newsletter.  Barb and I are currently on vacation in Ft. Myers Florida, taking a break from packing up the house for a move to a life care village in Nazareth Pennsylvania, about 15 miles from where we live now.  We have loved our current home, but at this point there is too much upkeep and too many stairs!  So, we have opted to move to a very nice two bedroom cottage with NO stairs, inside and outside maintenance, a pool, a fitness center, lots of activities and a bunch of friendly folks.  Our problem is that we are moving from 3000 sf to 1500 sf, so the process of deciding what goes with us and what gets sold, donated or tossed gets to be a burden.  But the new place is great and we love it, so looking forward makes it better.  Projected move is around June first, as they are doing some upgrades to the house.  I will be sending out our new address when we get a move in date.

We will still be close to son Mark and his family. (Mark and daughter Amy keep in touch and keep an eye on us.) We have become the children and they are now the parents!  I admit it is nice to know they are thinking about us, and helping us with computer issues, etc.  We currently live on a golf course, and I’d like to get one more round in with Mark before we move.  I did have, at one time, 7000+ golf balls in my basement.  You might think I am a hoarder, yes?  Down to about 1000 now.  Love to give them away.

We have been involved with our church over the past years.  Barb is a licensed pastor, and currently has a Bible study group of older ladies, many of them widows, on a weekly basis.  More than Bible study it is a great time of fellowship for the group for those who don’t get out much.  We are also involved in cooking for the Easton homeless shelter and collecting food for a local food pantry.  Last week I hauled cereal that filled the entire back of my SUV plus the front seat.  Giving back!


I spend a bit of time making note cards from my photos - lots of fun, and I love giving them away.  One problem we face in moving is that I have WAY too many framed photos on our walls, and it is most difficult to decide which will go to our new place.

Well, I have really gone on here, so I will close.  My best to you all. Love keeping in touch with y’all and reading about classmates' activities.



 

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 Joan (Kather)Henry checks in from her new location in Colorado.

 

 

We moved to CO two years ago to live near our son and this past summer, our daughter and family moved about 40 minutes away.  I’m so enjoying having my kids living nearby and seeing them often.  They have helped me manage on my own since my husband of 58 years passed away a little over a year ago.

 

Here we are at the top of Pike’s Peak (14,115 feet) last August.

My daughter Pegeen, Me, son Bill, his wife Susan, grandson Nathan, granddaughter Shannon, son-in-law Doug

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Gay Mayer writes of his and Mary's doings, with sage observations thrown in, as well as news of the grandkids.

 

 

It seems we live in a bubble here in Boulder -- most of our friends and acquaintances are independent, liberal, moderate. The weather is benign - albeit a bit too dry. (Snowfall at our favorite ski area is down 8 feet from a year ago). Our grandchildren are doing well - 3 in college seem to be eating up the academics and 2 of them about to depart on Spring Break to places that we could hardly think about or even afford 60 years ago. The stock market is cruising. What could possibly go wrong??

 

We also have friends and family who have been in and out of hospital, rehab, assisted living or just too many doctor's appointments. The reality of aging is all around us. Yet, both Mary and I continue to enjoy long walks with the foothills of the Rockies in our view. I keep up with jogging and look forward to the annual Memorial Day 10K run which finishes at CU Stadium with perhaps 45,000 people cheering on the runners as they cross the finish line.  Used to be that I was the fastest in the family - that is no longer the case. One granddaughter is aiming to be sub-40 which I never contemplated ever, ever as a goal. I just want to finish in under 80 minutes and feel good the next morning.

 

It is really hard to get my head around the number 60 --

The 60 refers to college reunions - when we graduated and walked down mainstreet -- the older alums looked ancient, decrepit and very old. Now they offer us a ride in a golf cart....

 And to make it more obvious - my daughter and son in law called a lunch break so as to not wear Dad out entirely when we were skiing 3 weeks ago in Steamboat Springs -- I managed one more run after a bowl of soup and they stayed out for 2 more hours to play in 9 inches of fresh powder...And Mary and I will be celebrating our 60th anniversary at the end of June -- that too is a shock (a pleasant one to be sure) but when we stood in front of the altar and pledged all that we said -- I know for sure my mind was not focused on 2024!!

we have 2 college reunions and our anniversary between May 20 and June 28-- our carbon footprint has just gotten bigger and then in October we are hoping to do a pilgrimage walk along the Camino do Portugal to Compostela de Santiago. Not entirely sure why this was on my bucket list but it appears to be a great group of fellow walkers and promises to be a decent challenge for the both of us.

 

This morning, I was out for a walk and a bald eagle was cruising around overhead - neatly lit up with morning sun, blue sky and enjoying a light breeze. The neighborhood fox trotted by on my way home and spring time robins were singing in the trees. Life is good!

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And here is the latest from Swede Murphy.

In Aug. 2021 we sold our Maryland home that we had lived in for 54 years.
We spend the summer and warmer weather in New Hampshire and the winter in Amelia Island , Fl.

Our oldest Grandchild Finn (18) is a 2nd. year man at Georgetown and on the Crew Team.
Next is Maddox who is a Freshman at  U of Florida. The Julia who is a Jr. at the Bolis School in Jacksonville and one of the top female swimmers for teenage Female swimmers in the US and next year will be a top swimmer at Virginia Tech. AnnaJane (16) and Wallon(15) both go to Mac Danna. Last  is Murphy who is  away on a trip in Paris.

We are all happy with the kids and grand kids. They are a lot better than than their grand dad. Hope all is well with all the class.

(Ed. note:  Good genes may be involved.)

 

Reid Reynolds sends a very nice summary of recent volunteer work.

My Volunteer Story

 

Reid T. Reynolds

February 25, 2024

Having recently relocated to Philadelphia, I have not yet found a standard outlet for volunteerism – an organized activity benefiting the larger community. Stretching the definition a bit, I would like to share my experience visiting an old friend in the throes of Alzheimer's. 

I met “Bob” (I’ll use pseudonyms) over fifty years ago. Bob was a post-doc at Cornell, I was teaching at Ithaca College. He and my former wife shared a common area of study. We bonded, in part, over sailing. I was part owner of a small sailboat on Lake Cayuga, Bob’s family’s 40’ sailboat was moored in New Rochelle. My wife and I were invited to go on a multi-day sail. It was the first of many. In the winter we would ski together. Bob moved on and so did we (to Denver) but we continued to sail and ski together. We were on board when Bob proposed to his first mate, “Mary”. When our kids were young, we spent a week together sailing in the British Virgin Islands. A few years later my parents moved to a retirement community in southeast PA. Since Bob and Mary taught at a nearby university, I would see them while visiting my parents. Reflecting on a life with few meaningful friendships, this was one of the few that withstood the separations of place, profession and religion.

In 2018 Pam and I paid Bob a visit at their new summer home on Long Island Sound. I was looking forward to another sail but something was not quite right. Mary had left to be with their grandkids. There were notes posted around the new house. Bob seemed a bit disoriented in their new home. I was apprehensive about the next day’s sail. When we got on the boat Bob wanted to show me a couple of improvements he had recently made (the last of hundreds Bob made over the sixty years he had been the primary custodian of the family boat). Instead of a sail, he suggested we just sit in the cockpit and enjoy the view of the harbor. (What a relief!)

By the time we began to search for a new home in Philly Bob had retired. (Mary, ten years younger, is still teaching.) We paid them a visit. Bob was clearly having “memory problems”. What kind of relationship can we have with Bob and Mary once we move to Philly? Once the chaos of the move had subsided, I reached out. Their daughter, “Karen”, volunteered to drive me to Bob and Mary’s home in the suburbs. She revealed that Bob had received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the family worried about leaving Bob at home while Mary was at the university. Without a lot of forethought, I said, “I can spend time with Bob from time to time when needed.” (As part of my work in health care policy I knew that the bulk of care for people with disabilities is provided by family members and that caregiver burnout is a serious problem.)

Eight months in you might ask, “How’s it going?” I think well -- for me, for Bob, and for Mary. On several Saturdays Mary has been able to take a long drive to visit their two young grandsons while I spend the day with Bob. His memory of the times we spent together long ago is pretty spotty, but he enjoys my reminiscences and laughs at my jokes. Sometimes he goes off on a tangent and gets stuck. Patient listening is not one of my strengths but I’m working on it. 

I’ve been doing some research and talking with a friend with a similar experience. For the curious, Sandeep Jauhar’s recent book, My Father’s Brain, might be a good place to start. The Alzheimer's Association website (alz.org) has useful information about the condition and caregiving. The rate of decline varies widely. Bob appears to be on a slow glide. My new friend’s report of her experience with a lifelong friend in rapid decline touched me. At their last meeting (before entering “memory care”) they hugged and my friend said, “I love you.” The reply, from someone who had mostly stopped talking, was: “I love you, too. I am not depressed. My husband deserves an A+.” A nice reward for years of hard work."

Bravo to all the classmates who are volunteering, whether it’s to save the world or to make a tiny dark corner of it a little brighter. 

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Lorraine Price and her hubby Bob join so many others in moving/downsizing...

 

Bob and I are leaving our farm and moving closer to town and to our son and daughter-in-law. We’re having some sad feelings about leaving this place but Bob has a bad back with spinal stenosis and he has trouble with our stairs as well as with winter outside work. I think we’ll like our new place. I’m
enclosing a picture of our farm to show off the mountains. After 59 years in the same house we have too many belongings and are getting rid of numerous things. Some of our “stuff” is at an auction place in town, also some at the thrift store, and lots in the trash. We close on our new house on 4/1 and then will put our place on the market. That will give us lots of time to move and also to fix a few things at our farm.
I hope everyone is well and managing to get through the last of winter.

Will Risley joins us with tales of the travails of Memphis in the winter.  He and Dianne have had kind of a rough winter, but spring is on the way!  (Will and I had an interesting email conversation about a story Carlos Ballantyne sent me as he knew Carlos well while they were both at Dartmouth as undergrads.) One doesn't usually think about snow in Memphis, but here's a pic.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t have a lot of interesting news but here’s a couple of items. items(

(1) on October 31, 2023, our elevator was unusable because someone was moving in or out here and the movers illegally jammed the whole elevator full, a complete no-no.  I discovered this and stood in it on top of a chair and rode down to the basement/garage [like George Washington standing in the boat in the painting of his crossing the Delaware River---(which surely never happened: too risky] and told the movers they could not fail to leave SOME space for persons to use the elevator, as we have four residential floors and many octogenarians who should not have to use our awful emergency stairways.  They ignored me, so when my wife Diane was going down to the car she took those bad stairs---made, I always say, for midgets, as they are too tiny and too steep and hard to use---and she immediately tripped after two of them and flew down head and left side first onto the concrete landing, really creaming her left thumb [she tried to break her fall with her left arm], her left shoulder, her back, and part of her face (left cheek)---she landed sort of face-first.  Luckily another woman in the building heard her howling in pain and came and got me, who was heading out for my exercise walk.  Long story short, I sped her over to the nearest hospital, we spent 3.5 hours there in one of the ERs, they took x-rays, stitched up her split thumb [we thought it was broken but luckily it was just separated, disjointed, not fractured, the bones, that is, and it was not a fun time---but I was glad I was with her the entire time, as some of those hospital workers looked and even spoke  like recent recruits from the Bowery.  So her recovery and rehab has been long , slow and not without pain, but I was delighted that her attending ER physician was a   skillful and careful Indian doctor, as was the specialist to whom he referred us for follow-up treatment, who did a fine job over several months.  She is doing well but the thumb is taking a long time to return to its former glory (if it ever will be100%,) and her shoulder still hurts now and then, making her wince if she moves wrongly.

And (2) Memphis, not at all built nor prepared for bad winter weather, experienced another Deep Freeze during January 14-22, 2024, nine days of below-freezing temps, dipping as low as 15 degrees real temp, not chill factor/feels like.  It shut down the city for the most part, as we got SNOW--yes, three-plus inches, in MEMPHIS---which we can't handle.  Here on the local news they show plowing going on---but it's with earth-movers, not real plows, and they do a bad job.  The only REAL plows here belong to Fred Smith's FedEx ones [FedEx dominates the airport]  and he can't afford to loan them to the city.  So that was a cozy nine days with no school, no events, everything cancelled; luckily when we saw the weather predictions before the cold blast we filled the fridge and the pantry, as our roads were later so bad that we would not ven have been able to reach our two nearby grocery stores, which are about three and six blocks away, respectively.  Since this is the second deep freeze/shutdown we have had in two  winters, I hope the city starts realizing that climate change is real, the Gulf Stream has moved, and we can't afford to have downed power lines, frozen pipes and water mains bursting all over the place, and the need to boil our drinking water for a week.  But down here they don't like taxes or spending money and do like letting things ride...

That's all I've got, not very interesting.  I hope none of our California or Florida classmates had to canoe down their streets or any Texas ones had to drive thru and away from those wildfires.  

 

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Here is a picture Carlos Ballantyne as he summited the highest peak in Arizona the day after his 81st birthday. Hiking to over 12,000 ft. is quite an accomplishment for anyone, regardless of age - doing it at 81is certainly an impressive feat.

Now we all know Carlos as an extremely fit, health-conscious guy who regularly makes hike of this nature.

 

It wasn't always that way, as you will see below.  

I had heard from a classmate that in his undergraduate days, he once hitchhiked across Mexico with a classmate.  I asked him if he had any stories about that, and he sent a sort of "stream of consciousness" narrative about that trip and several others.  It reads kind of like On the Road by Jack Kerouac, and is an extremely entertaining and well-written piece.

Just to exercise due diligence, I confirmed with Carlos if it was OK to publish this in the newsletter, and also confirmed it with his co-conspirators that they were OK with it too.

So, here it is:  Fasten your seatbelts.

Stories? I got God damn stories!

Growing Up

I once took an unbelievable trip to Mexico with a friend when I was 19. I had been kicked out of Dartmouth for a variety of excesses and at my father’s suggestion had enrolled in the Marine Corps reserves and was to be inducted to go off to boot camp. However, the Sunday I was to be sworn in I had a funny feeling this was not such a good idea and I didn’t go. The sergeant called up when I didn’t show and I told him I wasn’t coming. He was pissed but I was safely miles away and knew I had made the right decision. No cannon fodder I. My parents were tweaked, mostly because it didn’t look good to have the U.S. Marines pissed at the Ballantyne’s. My father simply said he didn’t want me commuting to work in Manhattan on the same train with him every morning so I went and packed up a suitcase and the next day entrained for Washington where two of my best high school drinking buddies had set up ‘home’. One was working and the other was meandering through school halfheartedly. So, we became a reasonably happy threesome.

Many, many hilarious incidents ensued over the next two years fueled mostly by alcohol in any number of imbibable forms. Fly acquired his nickname by climbing drunk right up the side of a 2 story apartment building gripping only the decorative bricks that protruded ½” from the corners of the walls. His climb was so we could get into some girl’s apartment who were so horrified at our shenanigans they tried to lock us out. As I recall these girls had come over to the apartment and Fly and Berger had gotten drunk so the girls wanted to go home. Berger and Fly refused to drive them and demanded they walk the five or so miles. I magnanimously told them I’d drive them and got Berger’s keys. He worked for the Buick regional office so we were always driving around in brand new cars and Fly had a new Stingray, the first of the modern Corvettes. His would do about 150 mph, I recall him doing 135 past the apartment building one night and he was easily able to outrun the New Jersey State troopers who then drove those big Chryslers that would do a good 130 if the troopers weren’t too chicken thinking of their homes and loved ones. Anyway, the two girls got into the wagon and I got on the road back to DC and put the accelerator to the floor and didn’t let up. The wagon rolled up to about 110 or so, the girls were screaming at their supposed savior and I was keeping a very drunk straight poker face. After the girls ran into their building yelling at me that I was crazy, Fly and Berger rolled up in the Corvette and Fly climbed up the wall of the building onto their balcony and knocked on the slider, totally freaking them out when they thought they were safe from us. Berger and I were on the lawn yelling up at him, “Hey, the human fly! Get ‘em Fly!”

         I got a menial job for $85 per week wrapping paper in a printer’s mailroom. This printer did a lot, as in millions of dollars, of printing for my father’s corporation and Wayne, my father, awarded the contracts. I’m still not sure how it happened but the three of us got drunk one night and decided to go to Mexico for ‘a while’. Berger had to work so Fly and I took off in the Stingray. I told Berger to call my work and tell them I wouldn’t be in as I was having my stomach pumped. He did and I guess the general manager of the printer called up every hospital in the Washington area trying to find me before calling my father in New York telling him I had disappeared. No one knew where I was for weeks. Anyway, Fly and I drove and drank for about 6 glorious sunny days before arriving in Monterey, Mexico where we parked the Stingray in a fancy hotel parking garage and drank for a few days. I can vividly recall pulling into a gas station in Biloxi,Mississippi and opening the door of the low slung ‘Vette and empty Jax beer cans falling out, clattering to the ground. I LOVE that drive along the Gulf coast, the Florida panhandle, Mobile, Biloxi, Baton Rouge.

         Six years ago I was driving cross country with one Elizabeth, who foolishly thought she would like to move to Laguna Beach with me. She had spent a week camping with me in the Sierras the summer I lived in my tent and a friend of mine up in the desert had done a remarkable healing on Elizabeth’s cancer. We were driving her Honda and I drove straight through from West Palm Beach, Florida to Houston, Texas. I was 49 years old at the time and she was 34. I thought nothing of driving like that, like Fly and I had driven. Elizabeth was wrecked. Her back hurt. I told her to lie on top of the luggage and sleep. She slept through the one stop I made at a huge truck stop diner in Baton Rouge. I went in and ordered three bowls of grits, mixed in my own raisins, 4 or 5 pats of foiled butter and ate it all. Then I went into the parking lot and did a little yoga and off I went. The sun was just coming up as we blasted across the Mississippi River with me happy as a clam to be out on the open road. Elizabeth became more and more furious. When we got to Houston I slept for about 12 hours straight in an easy chair I sat down in. When I got up Elizabeth was threatening to return to New Jersey and her Mom’s house and leave me stranded in Houston. Her cousin, with whom we were staying, was a prison guard and had left his 9 millimeter Beretta automatic pistol on the kitchen counter. I had the fleeting thought that I should either shoot Elizabeth or shoot myself. Instead, I called a friend long distance in California and a few minutes later I was OK. Elizabeth flipped again when all the cousins had a Texas style barbecue for us and I opened a can of garbanzo beans at the dinner table and ate them as I am a total vegetarian. Elizabeth and I only made it to Albuquerque before she turned back. A friend later suggested that I should have weaned Elizabeth away from her mother a little at a time by taking her away for two weeks first, then three. Two years later I visited this friend several times in the Orange County jail where he had been put by HIS girlfriend. TWICE. All charges got dropped but he was in for months until it got settled. So much for good advice and so much for the Gulf coast.

         Fly and I were considered minor celebs wherever we went as Route 66 was then popular on TV and the Stingray model of the Corvette was brand new and Fly’s was the first seen in person by everyone. I still recall floating slowly past this little Mexican kid in Laredo having just crossed the border and his eyes getting real big and he looks at us go by and says, “Hey! Stingray!.” From this and a few non-automotive related incidents Fly got that as another nickname. This was 1963 and down south it was to be almost another 10 years before the 1955 Chevy was no longer the most popular single car on the road AND they all wanted to race the ‘Ray. As I recall, the ‘Ray was never beaten on the open road or the streets of Washington including the 427 Ford we drag raced right through the middle of downtown one night.

         Anyway, Monterey was fun. We stayed a few days in a nice hotel. I found a great bar a block away and drank there all night. The urinal was a tiled trough right in the barroom so when you had to pee you just walked over to the wall. It was real homey for me as Animal House at Dartmouth had a big drain around the perimeter of the basement bar where most of us peed and threw up. In my favorite place back home in upper middle class suburbia, Foley’s Bar and Grill in Pleasantville, NY, sometimes I’d just stay at my bar stool and piss on the floor. What did I care? Foley’s is where I met my now ex-wife. Carol and her sister Margaret were drinking shots of tequila with Lowenbrau chasers when I ambled over and introduced myself. This was one of the few drinking contests I ever lost. 
        Back to Monterey. It was about 7 AMwhen I finally finished up drinking one fine weekday morning and I recall Mexicans in buses going to work looking in disgust at me, the ugly Americano, barfing on the sidewalk. We left town after lunch one day. We were having a respectable lunch in the hotel and Fly had ordered arroz con pollo, chicken and rice. He didn’t want much of it so I convinced him to take it with him so he shoved the rice and pieces of chicken into the pocket of the Army field jacket he was wearing. We went out on the street and hailed a cab and I directed the cabby to take us to the edge of town. We got out and proceeded to hitchhike 1440 miles to Acapulco. It was a blast.

         Fly and I found a great hotel in Acapulco for about $1.50 a day and spent 2 weeks there eating, drinking and going to the beach. The hotel owner began to bug us to pay our bill after 2 weeks so I called home collect from Acapulco and asked my parents to wire me $300 so Fly and I could continue vacationing and get out of the country. I still recall the “Oh! Oh! Wayne, Wayne come here” from my mother when the operator asked if she would accept a collect call from Acapulco, Mexico. 
        We left a few days later and, feeling flush, flew to Monterey. The pilot finally landed the ancient DC-4 on the third pass after coming within 50 feet of the ground twice and then applying full power and climbing up again, for no reason ever explained to anyone. You should have heard all these grown men saying their prayers in Spanish.

         More driving, driving, driving and Fly and I arrive back in DC and one day I float back into work to wrap paper and printed matter again as though nothing had happened. No one ever said a word to me about being away. Codependent wimps. A few weeks later the entire company staff was given an aptitude test for computers, one of the first commercial applications in the world. I passed, at the top, of course, and so began my career as a computer programmer and systems designer. I was able to drive up to New York and bring my motorcycle down to DC in one of Berger’s station wagons. Then the wild stuff really began. I still recall shortly before getting kicked out of the apartment complex testing my motorcycle in the parking lot and cramming the throttle full on while fiddling with the carburetor. I looked up and a woman had thrown her two bags of groceries into the air and just jumped out of my way. I passed the groceries eye level in midair on their way down and within a few inches of the woman. I fixed whatever the problem with the carburetor was though. Fly and I found a rooming house across the street from the zoo in DC proper for $20 a week for a nice big room with private bath and we began much more genteel drinking in Georgetown and upper Connecticut avenue.

         I rode my motorcycle day and night, winter and summer. Frequently, I was so drunk I could barely walk, but I could always ride. Once, I sort of passed out after kicking the Gold Star. It didn’t start and I came down on the seat and sat there immobilized as the bike slowly fell over. I hit the pavement full on with my left elbow, pulled myself out from under, righted the bike and tried again. I usually closed the bars at 2 AM and then rode over to one of those diner type places to eat. These were the type of places that made omelets by whizzing eggs in Hamilton Beach malted milk mixers then pouring the mess on a greasy grill. Sometimes we’d go over to the black section of town, safer then than now, and eat scrapple and Taylor ham and chitlin’s and eggs. Fly’s late-night favorite was one of those cheap hamburger joints, 10 for a dollar at one time. We called ‘em deathballs and they were about the size of silver dollars. Remember them? Before Lyndon Johnson devalued our currency to fight the Viet Cong. One time the landlady had put Fly in another room as he had been away traveling for some weeks. This pissed us off so one night when Fly and I came back drunk to the rooming house we went into this kid’s room with Fly’s 30-30 rifle and put it to his head and told him he had to change rooms. We were just screwing around but this kid, Alvin, I think, from West Virginia was so scared he moved out totally the next day and didn’t say a word. I recall us telling him we’d ‘get’ him if he ever said anything to the Burn’s, the landlords.

         The Burn’s tolerated me even though I was always wetting my bed. I hadn’t always been a bed wetter; I started when I was 18 and ‘Dump truck’, the president of Animal House, had beaten me up on the Friday night of the Dartmouth Winter carnival, or carnivoral, as I called it. I was pissing in the gutter of the bar while ‘Dump Truck’ was talking to the weekend’s chaperones nearby, the parents of one of our fraternity brothers. I came back to the fraternity later with a dagger I had in my room and tried to knife him. ‘Truck’ foolishly held up his hands and said “OK, go ahead.” A campus police auxiliary told me to go home, so I did. That was the first time I ever wet my bed. I continued until I was 31 and finally stopped drinking. Anyway, the Burns used to write me notes about my ‘personal habits’, I would frequently have to sleep on the box spring for days at a time while my mattress was on its side near the window drying out and finally the Burns put a plastic sheet on my bed. I assuaged the 70-year-old black maid we had by giving her a huge 25-pound fresh turkey at Thanksgiving from the owner of the printing company’s farm. Anna never complained about us again. We also began to leave Anna money which Mrs. Burns didn’t like as she paid her so little. 
        Fly left for overseas, the Army, and a girlfriend from a Catholic school nearby whom he ended up marrying. I ended up at Burn’s by myself for another almost year, drinking up a storm at the Oxford Tavern right across from the zoo, living with an older guy from Scranton, Pa who stopped going to work and finally he ended up living in Rock Creek Park. I got a girlfriend, my first, as I had never had time for such stuff before while drinking. She got pregnant 3 times in the year or so we were together. She had one abortion at 5 or 6 months and psychics frequently tell me the kid’s spirit is still around me. She never told me about this until long afterwards as I was in the Army and didn’t know. We had gone to New York City for a party and on the way home to my parent’s house in the NY suburbs she mentioned it and said the fetus had been old enough to bury. She refused to tell me the kid’s name so I told Betsy I was going to kill her and sped the car up to 100 or so and then jammed on the brakes. I had to do this 3 times before she finally told me. Peter. This was before seat belts.

I eventually had to go on active duty for 6 months in the Reserves to avoid Vietnam and sometime after that got back into Dartmouth to continue my 'education' after an exciting two years growing up in Washington, DC. I didn’t drink for about 3 months after I got back to college, went back for my senior year, didn’t graduate as expected, for a variety of excesses, a week before my parents arrived for my father’s 30th reunion - and he was the class president. I showed them. I finally did get my degree in 1993, 29 years after I was originally supposed to. I appealed to the college’s president but had to wait until all the professors in the chemistry department who remembered me had not only retired but also died! F’ em.

 

If you bring forth what is within you

What is within you will save you.

If you do not bring forth what is within you

What you do not bring forth will destroy you.

The Gospel of Thomas as quoted in ‘Conscious Dreaming’ by Robert Moss

 

‘He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Mt 10:39

 

 

 

Carlos Ballantyne  775-315-3731 cell & text
"When you come to a fork in the road take it." Yogi Berra
 

RECENT ADDITIONS
We have a couple of more items - not quite enough to start a new page, so here they are:
 

George Flink sends us this, and a couple of nice pictures:

 

Tres and I just celebrated our 52nd. anniversary and my 82nd. birthday here in Tucson, AZ. We are both in very good health with Tres having some hip pain which PT is helping. Unfortunately, she lost all hearing in one ear a few years ago due to a faulty diagnosis at a local urgent care. By the time she got to an ENT it was too late for that ear, A hearing aid in the one good ear and a cross over through the bone aid helped. She just got Earlens for her good ear, a few months ago. A newer technology that is a whole different technology that increases reception by about 2 1/2 octaves without compression. Very helpful as she plays the lap dulcimer. Of course, medicare won't pay. Great healthcare in our wealthy country for those who can afford it.   She is also working with water color painting and is super involved in our "co-housing community" Stone Curves here in Tucson. We look forward to our annual summer move to Munds Park near Flagstaff from mid May to mid October. Right on the National forest and 20-25 degrees cooler than Tucson.

During covid, I took up guitar seriously, for the first time since my junior year in Chappaqua. I now play rhythm guitar in a small band with Dan Levenson on fiddle and Kate Fox on bass. We play farmer's markets, square and contra dances, and other events during the winter. Between jams and the band I'm playing 4+ times a week. I haven't played banjo in 4 years and I love playing guitar. We did an old-time gathering here in Tucson recently. I go down to North Carolina in early June for music camp for a week. I'll drive to Port Townsend, Wa. in July and to Centralia Wa. in August for music gatherings. We walk and/or hike 2+ miles a day even though we no longer have a dog to motivate us. Tres had a sibling reunion in Maine for the three remaining sibs on a lake. We also spent two nights on Monhegan Island. A favorite place for us and still home to some Wyeths. I do miss the loons. Her sister and husband are about to leave Maine to be nearer their son and family in Corvallis, Or. That will probably mean no or very few trips to Maine where we were very happy for a long number of years. Neither of us like flying these days.

That's it for now. Cheers, George

Image 5-10-24 at 4_edited.jpg
Image 5-10-24 at 4_edited.jpg

 

A short, but very interesting note from Lynn Norton

 

I am one of those who hasn't responded recently. I have enjoyed reading about so many of our classmates who  are volunteering and world traveling.  I did many of my travel adventures  early in my retirement. I have probably not aged as well as many others. Quite frankly I wake up in the morning and every bone creeks, and hiking is a challenge.  I still swim laps frequently, play bridge and do wordle. I still go to my condo near the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon for the summer and stay at my house in gold canyon,  Arizona in the winter. The best of both worlds.  Hello to all. I hope everyone is healthy and will continue to keep in touch.

Lynn Norton

Ed. note -- I know what you mean Lynn.  Most mornings, the first word out of my mouth is "ow!"

And Denny Joy checks in, mostly in tribute to Carlos's epic. 

A

Page one was over the top! Thanks for your efforts on our behalf. 

I was most interested in Carl, " the Bum", Ballantine's travels down memory lane; fantastic recall. I don't know how much is real, but he had that covered. Carl is now my " American idol. " He continued on  In an  "I'll do whatever works at that moment in time" trajectory for decades while some of us grew sheepishly conservative; well most of the time.  We have a true hero, so bow down and  raise your glasses to Carl the Bum! Love to all you gals and guys.

Dennis Joy

(Yes he has somehow survived.)

Ok, I'm really done now. But, send me more and I'll add it on.  (Or maybe start a new page.)

I remain your faithful editor

Dave Williams

raccoon1942@comcast.net

14801 110th ave e

Puyallup WA, 98374

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