March 2023


Receipt of some holiday letters from classmates is the basis for this class column, and a good way to highlight current activities from some very active classmates!  Please send me yours so I can add more recent news in upcoming columns! [email protected].

Alan Flaherty and spouse Patti Myers enjoyed an early-January visit with their New Jersey family, plus a dose of four Broadway shows. “Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt tells the story of a Jewish family in Vienna from 1899 through 1955.  August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson tells the story of a Black family in 1930s Pittsburgh and its most prized possession, a piano of which the cabinet has been carved with images of forbears by an enslaved ancestor.  Anthony McCarten’s The Collaboration focuseson the unlikely but successful three-year interaction between Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Adrienne Kennedy’s Ohio State Murders brought to Broadway for the first time the work of an esteemed 91-year-old Black playwright, starring Audra McDonald. The actress met Kennedy a while ago, and her desire to star in the 30-year-old semi-autobiographical play got it to Broadway.” 

Don Juran writes about a dizzyingly active year. “As the pandemic eases, we cautiously resume once-normal lives. We keep vaccinations current and mask up at chorus rehearsals and performances and other indoor activities. Still, we’re amazingly lucky thus far to have dodged covid despite at least two exposures. Life is kind to us, and we are grateful. My final concert with City Choir was the Brahms Requiem, among the greatest of choral masterpieces.  We drove to Cornell in June for the 60th reunion. As always, lots of camaraderie and good food and drink. Again, I served as chief registration nerd.  We hosted our daughter and two grandsons for about six weeks including trips to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and to Diggerland, a construction-themed amusement park in southern New Jersey. The kids loved Diggerland; my favorite thing about it was knowing I need never return. We traveled to Warsaw to join our son Adam ’94 and his family for a leisurely, relaxing visit. We celebrated our 53rd wedding anniversary. I completed my latest composition, In Remembrance, 2020-2022 and finished reading the complete works of Shakespeare. I once again got clobbered in Maryland Senior Olympic (MSO) table tennis singles but medaled in doubles. I completed my 26th — and most likely final — season managing my age 60+ co-ed team. It’s been a wonderful ride and an unparalleled growth and learning experience. I will continue to manage my age 70+ team. In January I will sing my final concerts with Polyhymnia (chamber chorus). I also hope to compete in power walking and table tennis at the National Senior Games in Pittsburgh in July.”  WHEW!!!

From Judy Prenske Rich: “My husband Bruce ’60 and I have been trying to make up for time lost during the pandemic to travel as much as we can for as long as we can. Last spring, we made our annual trek to Paris (the city of my heart) and to London where our daughter Stacey ’92 lives. Last fall, we finally made it to Istanbul and Cappadocia with a pit-stop in Lisbon. Had I only been as diligent studying the topography as I was learning about sites and restaurants, I would have been forewarned that all those places are situated on very, very steep inclines. We loved Turkey and Portugal, but they were not easy for the orthopedically challenged as we be these days. With that in mind, our mantra for our next venture was flat, flat, very flat!!! Thus, this spring we are heading to Copenhagen, Amsterdam (tulips and Vermeer, anyone?), and, of course, London, where we will arrive, due to spectacularly bad planning on our part, during Coronation Weekend!  Still, very grateful that we can yet get up and go.”

“Can We Mine Our Way to Sustainability?” was the subject of this year’s annual Fred H. Hicks ’62 Memorial Lecture held at Hicks Nursery on Long Island on January 29. When Hicks, a longtime supporter of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, passed away in 2004, the CALS Alumni Association chapter on Long Island decided to memorialize him by naming their annual faculty-speaker lecture after him. The Hicks family has ties to Cornell dating a long way back. Fred’s late wife Marilyn Bosley Hicks was our classmate; their son Stephen ‘64, now runs the family nursery, LI’s oldest garden center, which Fred inherited from his dad Edwin ’30. Hicks family forebears founded the town of Hicksville, Long Island.

And from our intrepid class president, Neil Schilke: “Ro and I both try to stay in shape and spend a lot of time walking and exercising.  In the warm months, that includes playing golf. This year, I had a bit of an epiphany and won my Thursday Golf Group championship.  That never got any ESPN notoriety, i.e., it was no big deal, but it was rewarding for me as the oldest golfer in the group. I continue to bowl as well.  I have kept my 160+ average and have a rare moment of success; this year a 236 game.  I have also continued as treasurer for our home-owners association.  That job has gotten more complicated over the years as our subdivision has grown to 156 owners.  We continue to enjoy Detroit Symphony Orchestra concerts, Broadway in Detroit plays at the Fisher Theatre, and plays at the Oakland University Meadowbrook Theatre.”

And to close, a slightly tongue-in-cheek comment from John Neuman, a retired visiting lecturer at the Johnson Business School. “Many chatbots are now available using AI (artificial intelligence) to write clear intelligent sentences/paragraphs on various subjects. And the resulting grammar is often quite good. The NY Times had a recent lead Business Section article on the use of ChatGPT, etc. being used to teach in a high school. Recently, there was an article in Wall Street Journal comparing three different chatbots. Some chatbots even do research on a topic and find interesting perspectives to include in a written piece.  One very controversial use, and not the only one, is by students in high school or college to write essays, etc. and submit them for grades. NOT a good idea of course.  But other uses can be legitimate and productive.  Possibly, with some experimentation, a chatbot could help write the class column and reduce some of your effort.“ 

Nancy Williams Clark, ever-busy creating her lovely watercolor paintings, reports that she and husband Tom ’63 enjoyed “joyous” snow-filled holiday visits with all their family (including the 10 grandchildren!). This proud parent of three Cornell graduates also noted that granddaughter Brooke Shachoy ‘22 is now a Cornell alum and her triplet grandkids are finishing up their freshman year at Cornell!

Your class correspondent does not see this in her future… but if I don’t have any submissions, I might get desperate!!! Please let me hear from you! Don’t be shy if your life doesn’t include world travel, athletic medals, or music composition – it will make the rest of us feel better to know that there are some classmates enjoying life in the slow lane!! [email protected].

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