Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Class Notes Submission Request from New Secretary

From our missing-in-action class secretary, Christine Thomas Freedburg:

Have I got a missed deadline excuse for you! This summer, just after our 15th reunion, I took off to Israel to excavate an ancient Phoenician city. When I should have been demanding your news for the Alumnae Quarterly Winter Issue, there I was, happily schlepping dirt and artifacts. Then, to make matters worse-- at least for the class notes-- I came back home and got married a couple of months later.

So after Tamzin’s wonderful newsy column this summer we will have NO NOTES for the 1994 Winter column. So unless you are buried in ancient dirt or marrying your true love at city hall, quick! DROP EVERYTHING AND SEND ME YOUR NEWS FOR THE SPRING ALUMNAE QUARTERLY!

Did you get married? Have a child? Discover the cure for the common cold? Great- let me know. Are you simply enjoying your life? Having the occasional dinner party? Just managing to make rent? Even better-let me know.

People who knew me at Smith won’t be surprised: I got an extension. You have until MIDNIGHT, THIS SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21. Send that news to: smith1994notes@gmail.com

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Share Photos from Reunion

I've had lots of requests from folks who'd like to see photos from reunion. We have a photosharing group on Flickr. It's free and easy to use. I'd love to see more of us using it. I think right now only six people have joined.

If you're sharing photos on another site and would like to invite classmates to share, post a comment below this post to let others know.

Some folks are also sharing photos via Facebook. Our class group is here.

I've been in the midst of moving ever since reunion, but hope to post lots of photos once we get settled into our new house this fall.

In the meantime, I've shared a few photos from our college days (like the one above), as well as some more recent photos, at the Flickr group.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

We Remember, Class of '94 Memorial Service (2009)

On Friday, May 22nd, 2009, after our Groove is in the Heart Yoga class, members of the class of '94 gathered in a clearing by the pond on the other side of the crew house. We were joined by the parents of Laura Swymer-Clancy '94, who brought four daughters to Smith and have lost two of them far too early.

This is what I read:
"In Memoriam"

Four years ago, I attended the wedding of a dear Smith friend in Mystic, CT. Despite some of us not having seen each other in several years, and despite the many different paths our lives have taken, the Smithies at the wedding embraced one another with jubilation, appreciation, and great affection. We were as familiar to one another then as we were on the last day we sat down together for Sunday Brunch in Cushing House more than a decade earlier.

During the outdoor reception at the Mystic Seaport, I stepped away from the dance floor for a moment and I watched my friends dancing as the sun set into the water behind them. The sky was filled with brilliant swaths of color, the last vestiges of day embraced by the first dark arms of night. In that moment between the bright shining day and the deep velvet night, there was a pause for celebration, a great joining together of colors, a hello and a goodbye all in one. The sky, like the bride and the groom, and my glorious friends dancing beneath it, was gaining something and losing something both.

I wanted to be in that moment forever, but since that was impossible, I reached for a pen so I could write down what I saw.

A few days later, I found the note I’d written on a napkin crumpled at the bottom of my purse. And all it said was this: “Describing my love for these women is like trying to draw the sun with nothing but a crayon.”

Even eleven years after moving away from our shared Smith home, words failed to capture the light that dances between us when we come together in any room. Our happiness in one another’s company is almost impossible to describe (particularly if there is music and a meal involved). This, I believe, is the Smith Experience.

We are here today, exactly 15 years after we graduated, to honor that unique connection, the inimitable togetherness that a Smith education affords, and to mark the loss of seven of our classmates:

  • Kimberly Tyler, who passed away 2/11/1991.

  • Linda Miller, who passed away 10/15/1995.

  • Judith Grubbs, who passed away 11/20/2000.

  • Carol Boyer, who passed away 4/17/2001.

  • Laura Swymer-Clancy, who passed away 10/21/2001.

  • Deirdre Flaherty, who passed away 8/12/2004.

  • Jennifer DelVecchio Gustafson, who passed away 8/1/2007.

[At this point, I was overcome with emotion. I gestured for the Reverend Alyssa May ('94) to join me, and she was kind enough--and composed enough--to help me invite the group to offer a moment of silence to these women we have lost. During this time, I also offered loving thoughts in memory of Robert Nylen, my beloved teacher, who was a guest lecturer at Smith during the 1990s and who passed away in December 2008 after a long, gutsy battle with cancer, and in memory of the spouses and loved ones of classmates and other Smithies who we have lost.]

After our moment of silence, Lesley Reidy, who was very close with both Laura and Jen, read a poem (Snow Geese by Mary Oliver) and shared some of her memories. She also described some of the ways in which she still actively feels the sweet presence of her good friends in her days, and the ways in which she shares that love and warmth with her children.

Laura's mother, who brought along photos of her daughters, also read a moving poem. And both of Laura's parents shared their appreciation at being able to experience our remembrance of their wonderful daughter.

Other friends and classmates shared their grief at losing friends and their gratitude for having known them.

We then performed our offering:

Earlier today, I came to this clearing, I said a blessing, and planted seven lilies-of-the-valley, one for each member of our class who has passed away. Lily-of-the-valley is also known as Ladder to Heaven and Our Lady’s Tears. It is said to have magical properties and is used to improve the memory and the mind. When placed in a room, these flowers are supposed to cheer the heart and lift the spirits of anyone present.

It is my hope that these lilies-of-the-valley will grow and thrive in this clearing. So that we can return year after year to this quiet spot and witness their bloom and remember how we were when we were young here and what a special thing we have become a part of.I have filled this watering can with water from Paradise Pond. I invite you now to join me in offering a drink to these lilies we have planted, in recognition of the life that this water gives, and as a symbol of our connection to Smith and t o Smithies, whether they can be here today in body or only in spirit.

As those gathered came up one by one, to offer water to our lilies, I read our benediction:

In this moment between the bright shining day and the deep velvet night, let us pause for celebration, a hello and a goodbye all in one. Even fifteen years after moving away from our shared Smith home, words fail to capture the light that dances between us when we come together. Our happiness in one another’s company is almost impossible to describe (particularly if there is music and a meal involved). This, I suppose, is the Smith Experience.

After the benediction, I thanked everyone for coming. There were hugs and tears and, I think a great deal of joy at our connection--followed up, most appropriately, by music and a meal at our class dinner.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Groove is in the Heart Yoga at Reunion

One of the highlights for me at reunion was the Groove is in the Heart yoga class that took place on Friday afternoon. The space (Studio Helix in Thornes) was lovely and everyone who came seemed really happy afterward. Throughout the weekend, attendees could be heard--half-serious, half-joking--asking one another if they were opening their hearts (while thrusting out their chests...I mean hearts. :-)

The yoga class was something I had envisioned and begun planning more than a year before reunion and it was beautiful to finally have it come to be. There were total beginners and people committed enough to yoga to bring their own mats!

Amy Reed '05 was our teacher and she took us through a delicious and challenging class themed around our grooving hearts. Thank you to Amy, to Kirse for helping plan it, and to everyone who came. Perhaps it can become a regular reunion event. (And anyone willling to pay money for pictures of Kirse's bottom, I have *lots* from the yoga class. Drop me a note and we'll talk. ;-)

Later, skaters! Namaste.

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New slate of officers 1994

At our class meeting, held May 23 at class headquarters, we elected the following slate of officers who will lead us into our 20-year reunion in 2014:

Treasurer: Bert Ritvo
Secretary: Christine Thomas
VP: Nicole Wilson James
Co-Presidents: Liz Kase and Moneshia zu Eltz

Congratulations and thank you!

I will continue to keep the class blog. If our new officers create another Web presence for our class, I'll link to it from here.

Stay tuned for reunion photos. Some classmates have already been sharing at Facebook. Come join us, if you haven't already.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Whither weather

Hi, friends: it's been very cold here at night the past few weeks, but it looks like the atmospheric tide is turning and we're in for a scorcher this weekend. I still say, pack warm jammies just in case, but it looks like no one will be in danger of freezing overnight whilst on campus--but maybe overheating instead.

Pack a little fan, if you can.

I'll be at headquarters tonight from 8-9pm if you want to swing by and say "hello."



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Will there be Wi-Fi?

A classmate wrote today and asked me if there would be Wi-Fi available on campus during our reunion. In case you were wondering the same thing, here's my reply:

>>I'm not entirely sure what the Wi-Fi situation is on campus, but I
think there are hotspots in at least some houses and some academic

There's free also Wi-Fi at Forbes library, adjacent to campus (closed Sunday). And
both pay-for and free options at in-town businesses.

On campus, I think you need a Novell account to get access. More on
that here: http://www.smith.edu/its/tara/account_forms.html

There are computers available to the public in the campus center and
athletic facility, but not good options for secure data or prolonged
work sessions.

Verizon Wireless offers a $15/day access fee for it's mobile broadband
data service, although you also have to buy a USB wireless modem for
about $200, if you don't already have one. It may actually be more affordable to buy a whole month from them, instead...

More on Smith Wi-Fi here: http://www.smith.edu/its/tara/macintosh/iphone.html

You may be able to contact IT and fax in an application form--or
something--to get a Novell account set up by Thursday or Friday. I
used to have one, so I know that alumnae are eligible--at least, they
used to be. They may have some accommodations for visiting alumnae, as
well. Perhaps a generic temp username and password for everyone?>>

If anyone finds out something concrete and helpful, please let me know and I'll try to post!



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