Paul Marantz writes, “After Neil Krieger died of COVID-19 in April 2020, his two children, Hilary’98 and Jonathan, came up with a novel way to remember him and his playful sense of humor that had its origins in his freshman year at Cornell in 1958-59.
Neil’s first-year English class, which he and I took together, was given the assignment of inventing a new word that did not exist in the English language. Neil came up with the word ‘orbisculate,’ which he defined as being squirted in the eye or elsewhere by the contents of a grapefruit or other food. While my unimaginative made-up word was forgotten decades ago, Neil’s was destined to live on.
Neil used the word ‘orbisculate’ around his kids whenever misbehaving fruit made it appropriate, without ever letting on that the word was his creation. Hilary only found out that it wasn’t an official word when, a couple years after college, Alex Carey’97, a friend of hers from The Cornell Daily Sun visited. She used the word when he accidently got a squirt of juice from his orange. When Alex said they had never heard of ‘orbisculate,’ Hilary was happy to bet $5 that it was in the dictionary. To her chagrin, she not only lost the bet but found out that her father had not let his kids in on the joke.
Over time, this became one of the favorite stories that Hilary and Jonathan told about their dad. With his passing, they decided that a fitting way to remember his humorous side would be to launch a campaign to get ‘orbisculate’ into the dictionary. They created a website (www.orbisculate.com), set out 78 ambitious goals, one for each year he lived, such as getting ‘orbisculate’ mentioned in a podcast, a word game, and Hallmark card, and got to work.
Given the losses that so many of us have experienced due to COVID-19, their story has resonated widely. The media in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and Israel have reported on their unique way of remembering their dad. With the help of friends and of people they have never met, ‘orbisculate’ has appeared in poems, a crossword puzzle, and even on a warning sign surreptitiously placed in a grocery store cautioning customers that citrus fruit are known to ‘orbisculate.’
Cornell has enriched all our lives in countless, varied ways. Every time I get squirted by a grapefruit, I think of Neil, and what we shared during our wonderful years at Cornell and through the decades that followed.”
Dave Nesbit writes, “I’ll always remember the stunning beauty and colors of the campus in the fall, unforgettable. I guess I could say my fondest memory was as just a sophomore competing in only my third race as a member of the crew team, we won the big Eastern Sprints rowing championship, beating all the other Ivy schools for the first time in many years. I’m fully retired after a long career with several high-tech companies and living in Brookline, a close suburb of Boston with Regina, who I met in Berlin while serving with the Army in Germany in 1963, We’ve been married now for 57 years. We’ve had to cancel our annual trip to Germany this past year but hope to resume visits in 2021. In 2019 we visited along with Bing Carlson and wife Marcy and toured the Christmas Markets in Bavaria. And we’re planning to hit the Oktoberfest in Munich on our next trip. Lastly, I enjoyed seeing members of our winning crew team in Ithaca in the Fall of 2019 including Warren Icke, Bob Simpson, Don Spero ‘61, and Dick Schwartz ’60, the latter two being honored for their lasting contributions to Cornell Crew.”
Helen Rabinowitz Anbinder writes, “We are still in Dobbs Ferry, NY after 51 years! I have many fond memories of my time at Cornell. The most special ones changed my life in wonderful ways. My roommate sophomore year, Marilyn Kleinberg, convinced me to join her on a 7-1/2-week tour of Europe that summer, arranged through her father’s employer. It was what kickstarted a lifetime of world travel. The most special one, though, was meeting Paul Anbinder ’60, a good friend while we were still at Cornell, and my wonderful husband – and travel partner – for the past 57 years. Retirement paved the way for even more frequent and extended trips. The pandemic ended our travels, but we are grateful to have done so much traveling while the ‘getting was good.’ We have many beautiful memories and photos to help us revisit our favorite places. I pray that our classmates are safe and well and will come through this nightmare as survivors, ready to convene on the Hill for our 60th reunion.”
Liz Belsky Stiel writes, “My memories of Cornell, from the distance of almost 60 years, are all good. Met my dear husband, Lester’60, there when he was working at my sorority, SDT. Enjoyed lots of wonderful courses and met terrific people. Of course the work was hard but well worth the effort. No bad memories. Hope to go to a real reunion in 2022”
Barry Proner writes, “I graduated from A & S in 1962 in English. I very much hope to come to a reunion one of these years. I am a psychoanalyst and child and adolescent psychoanalyst, having previously trained as a psychiatrist. I left Boston after completing those trainings in 1972 to train in psychoanalysis in London, UK. I have lived in London ever since then. I have two adult sons who live in London, as well. I have been happy to have lived most of that time in a pretty 18th century farmhouse facing the River Thames in west London, and to have holiday homes in Provence and on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. If anyone is coming this way or that way, I would be delighted to get together.” Barry can be reached at 83, Strand-on-the green London, W43PU
From Bill Coggshal: “I belong to the unusual Los Trancos Woods Community Marching Band, which celebrated its 60thanniversary in January. Had the parades not been cancelled, we would have had little trouble staying 6 feet away from each other as we sauntered, not marched, down the street. We began to recognize many of our neighbors who walked (or ran or talked on their cellphones) first thing in the morning. One day I was wearing my “Got Bees” T-shirt (I was the first in several generations of his forebears who didn’t have bees) and we met a woman who did have bees. We even found a mask with pictures of honeybees.”
From Judith Shulman Weis: “I remember with special fondness my years with the Cornell Savoyards, singing in the choruses of Gilbert and Sullivan productions. Waiting in the wings while the orchestra played the overture before we came on was so exciting! I loved it so much that I have continued to do it throughout my adult life in community theater productions. I was sad to hear in the ’90s that the group had gone out of existence, but recently heard it has been reincarnated as the Ithaca Savoyards.”
David Green writes, “Greetings across the decades. My wife (Arlene Goldstrom‘64) and I have for the last 18 years lived in Toronto, Canada, whence we observe the American scene with a mixture of trepidation and hope. As you may be aware, in Canada we have had Medicare for All since 1961 and it works just fine. We wonder what is the big deal about it down there, and why it is that so many Americans seem to have such a problem learning from the experiences of other countries? We have four very happily married kids and six beautiful grandkids. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the only ones we have seen in the last year are our middle daughter and family, who live an hour and a half away in Waterloo, Ontario. The others, who are in Saskatchewan and Vermont, we see on FaceTime and Zoom. We are anxiously looking forward to better times. Arlene is now fully retired from a very rewarding career as an arts curator. After my Cornell B.A., I did an M.A. at Stanford, then returned to Cornell, where I completed my Ph.D. in History in 1967. Although I left full-time academia several years ago, I continue to write and teach on a part-time basis. My book, The Language of Politics in America: Shaping Political Consciousness from McKinley to Reagan, was published by Cornell Press in 1991. Since then I have written several articles on the subject for The American Interest. I presently hold the position of Visiting Professor of History at Cornell, where I teach a Summer Session course entitled, ‘Words as Weapons: Political Vocabulary, Mass Media, and the Evolution of Political Consciousness.’ While in previous years I taught on campus, this past summer I had to teach it via Zoom, and it looks at this point as though I shall have to do so again this coming summer. Loving Ithaca and Cornell as we do, that is one more reason to look forward to better times.”
Cyrus Yeganeh titled his memory: Amazon in Ithaca. “I spent my summers in Ithaca, taking courses and working in the physics library. One of the happiest memories I have of those days is the heavy summer downpours while listening to Villa-Lobos’ ‘Bachianas Brasileiras’ — the Little Train of Caipira transporting my imagination to the Amazon jungle. I’m alive and kicking at 81 in Palm Beach County, FL, hoping to join everyone at a coming reunion.”
From Frances Denn Gallogly: “We are retired and now split our time between condos in Bridgeport, CT and Fort Pierce, FL. Our three children live in LA and Brooklyn and we have two grandchildren in LA. Our granddaughter may apply to Cornell Engineering as an undergrad next year. I have been doing a great deal of photography – landscape and nature. My work has appeared in shows, won awards and been sold on Pixels.com (formerly Fine Art America) and by stock agency Tandem Stills + Motion. My husband, Vin, has taken up birding and often uses Cornell’s ornithology sites in identifying birds. In recent years I have often reflected on the wisdom imparted by special professors I encountered during my time at Cornell: George Healy (poetry), Urie Bronfenbrenner (children and families and research techniques) and Ted Lowi and Clinton Rossiter (both government).”
Betty Kopsco Bennett writes, “I have so many fond memories of my four years at Cornell that it is hard to pinpoint just a few. The beautiful campus and its surrounding gorges and other natural scenery, the stimulation of ideas presented in various classes by outstanding professors, field trips for some of my natural science courses, meeting people from many states and countries, and the opportunity to grow and develop both mentally and emotionally are just a few of the highlights of my Cornell experience. Although I have not been able to return to campus for more than 20 years, I still retain vivid memories of my time spent on The Hill. Those four years were some of the most formative and valuable of my life, and I am forever grateful for the experiences I gained from them. Even today, as an 80-year-old still teaching part time as an adjunct (remotely due to the pandemic), I continue to draw upon the knowledge and ideas I accrued while at Cornell.”
From Margaret Sandelin Benson: “In State College, PA, my husband, Tom (PhD ’66), and I have been very isolated during this pandemic. Our daughters live far away, Daisy in Vermont, and Sarah (PhD ’01) and her husband, Rick Ruth (PhD ’07) and their daughter, in Maryland. Like other families we have turned to Zoom for get-togethers, and one of the things we decided to do last summer was to read plays together. We had just started reading Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals,’ when the request for memories of the years at Cornell arrived. At once I was transported back to fall ’58 on The Hill, and the Cornell Dramatic Club’s production of ‘The Rivals,’ in which I played a part. It was the second CDC production of the term. The first was ‘Bell, Book, and Candle,’ for which I worked lights. I had gravitated to the dramatic club like a homing pigeon, and it became a central part of my life for the next five years. Even after Tom and I were married (fall ’60) I still worked on several plays and worked the front of the house for all the rest. Those years, all those productions, represented work, fun, and camaraderie. I have a sweeping collage of memories, which I hope others share – The Taming of the Shrew,’ ‘Under Milkwood,’ ‘My Three Angels,’ ‘The Boy Friend,’ ‘Death of a Salesman,’ O’Casey’s ‘Pictures in the Hallway,’ ‘Volpone.’ Stephen Vincent Binét’s dramatic poem ‘John Brown’s Body,’ and ‘The Fantasticks.’ I was in ‘As You Like It’ the spring before Tom and I left Ithaca, and Cornell.”
Fred Hart writes: “I read my copy of the Cornell Alumni Magazine today. I thought as I read it how many I’ve read over the last nearly 60 years. Frankly, I got emotional about it. The Cornell story is special. The Class column is special. Our friends are special. It hit me when I read the tribute to Jan (McClayton Crites) from Anne Hoffman. There are many special people we know because of Cornell and particularly, being in their class. The wonderful thing is that we have influenced many others – in ways we can’t imagine like Ms. Hoffman. I occasionally get a compliment from a former associate, and it is wonderful to know you’ve impacted someone in a positive way. (Emphasis on the occasional.) We treasure them. The column is such a great place to read those stories. Thanks for your column and including those tributes.”
From Neil Schilke: “Ro and I were married on June 8, 1963, after I received my bachelor’s degree (engineering was a 5-year program) and before I went on to get a master’s. I was named head resident of University Halls #3, so Ro and I moved into the basement apartment and had 150 ‘kids’ the first year we were married! Tom & Nancy Williams Clark, Phil & Nancy Halsey Young and Bill Wilson and Kiki were also married on June 8, 1963. Ken Blanchard was head resident of University Halls #4, so Ro and I saw him and his wife, Margie McKee Blanchard, quite a bit during the 1963-64 academic year.”