We send our condolences to Gwen Jordan Bausum whose husband, Howard, passed away in January, 2013. Gwen’s grandson, Josiah Bausum, lives with her and Gwen finds his company a blessing. Gwen misses her Hood big sister, Lori Ball Chase ’59, who passed away in 2009, but is thankful that Lori’s husband, Steve, still keeps in touch. Gwen is also thankful that she has recently reconnected with her Hood half sister, Alice Pearson.
Hilda Koontz is looking forward to a busy year of providing lectures on Civil War topics for a wide variety of historically-oriented organizations. So far she has six lectures scheduled, including three for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, the Historical Association of Carroll County, and the Civil War Round Table of Harpers Ferry, WV. The season will start with a very special event concerning female spies at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office site in Washington, DC. If you are in the area on March 28, Hilda says, please attend. The restored site was Miss Barton’s wartime home and the inspiration for the American Red Cross.
Work continues on Hilda’s book recounting the lives of family members at home and on the front during the Civil War, all based on a wonderful cache of letters preserved for more than 150 years.
Spencer and Hilda are also busy with re-enactments and their newest love, Steampunk, which they discovered two years ago. Hilda encourages those of you who love fantasy to give it a try – it’s a blast.
Hilda visited her family in Iowa last summer and is planning another such trip this coming August.
Marty Miller Strickland recently returned from a ten day visit with her college “roomie,” Jackie Post Farrell. Jackie lives in Sebastian, Florida. They shared lots of memories, laughs, and good food. It was a very relaxing visit for Marty and it was also nice to have a break from the cold weather in her area.
Marty’s family surprised her for her 75th birthday in May, 2014. She went to a restaurant for lunch with her son and his family and there sat all the rest of the family. Marty had five granddaughters at her home for Grammy Camp at the end of June, 2014, and in July, 2014 the whole family (19 total) went to Nags Head for a vacation.
I (Kathie) visited my sister Ginny and her family in Pasadena, MD, from Dec. 24-26 and my brother George and his family from Dec. 26-29 in Potomac, MD. It gave me a chance to see Ginny and Gary’s two daughters, Lucy (with husband Clive Turner and their 3-year-old daughter Ayla) and Judy and her husband Ryu Suzuki. Judy and Ryu were married May 3rd this year in Washington, DC, after meeting as Peace Corps volunteers in Panama. It was a real reunion for many of the Panama volunteers.
George and Julie’s three sons were visiting them. Kevin, the youngest, traveled the farthest–from Melbourne, Australia, where he is working; Ryan and his wife Cathy Vu came from San Jose, California, and Derek, the oldest, from Pasadena, CA (near Los Angeles), with his wife Rochelle and baby son Brayden. It was a mix of delicious food, catching up on everyone’s life, and comical interactions between the three dogs on hand (at Ginny and Gary’s).
I spent a week in Paris, France, with my dear friend Philip. He lived there in the past and still has good friends he enjoys visiting during semester breaks from teaching his world literature course at Medgar Evers College, a branch of the City University of New York. We visited several museums and enjoyed dance and jazz performances. This past year, we have continued to enjoy each other’s company, Scrabble games, off-off-Broadway theater, modern dance performances, and classical music. A highlight in January 2014 was a trip to Philadelphia, Philip’s hometown, to see the Magic Gardens, an amazing folk-art venue featuring mosaic walls and a sculpture garden. This fall we attended an interesting series of three versions of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, by American, Italian, and Korean companies.
I remain engaged in local progressive Democratic politics through my role as a vice president of the Village Independent Democrats. We endorsed Green Party candidates for NYS Governor and Lieutenant Governor following the primary loss by our preferred Democratic candidates, Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. I’m also a greeter at Sunday services for St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery and volunteer at their weekly food pantry, helping give out fresh vegetables and fruits donated by a nearby farmers’ greenmarket to needy neighbors. During warm weather I open the church’s west yard on weekend afternoons for use by those who seek a quiet space to read, study or think or to converse with friends or family. Through a local non-profit agency, Visiting Neighbors, I volunteer as an occasional escort for other seniors who need help shopping or going to doctor’s appointments or exercise classes.
In June, I made a rare outing to Broadway with my friend Fran to a memorable show, “All the Way,” about President Lyndon B. Johnson and the tumultuous events of 1963 and 1964. During 2014 I also participated in a reading group and meetings at Manhattan churches about conditions within Israel for Palestinian citizens and discussions of possible solutions to the long-running conflict there.
I also enjoyed some of New York’s great blues, jazz, rock, popular and classical music including memorable performances by my neighbor LaLa Brooks, former lead singer of The Crystals (seen recently on the David Letterman show); blues guitarist Bill Sims, Jr.; ragtime pianist Terry Waldo, and pianist-composer Ellen Mandel and husband guitarist Michael Lydon. Two other favorites are the People’s Symphony low-cost series of chamber music and solo concerts by well-known artists at a nearby high school and free concerts Friday evenings by faculty of the 3rd Street Music School (actually located on 11th St. around the corner from me).
In July, I had a brief bout of sciatica which fortunately was resolved by a month’s physical therapy on my back. Otherwise, I’ve been in good health which I try to maintain with exercise classes, walks with my friend Martha around a nearby park, and eating healthy meals. The greenmarket which opens in a park on my block from late spring through November helps with an amazing variety of fresh vegetables and fruit. Unfortunately, in July also, construction across the street caused damage to street gas pipes in front of my building and resulted in testing and replacement of our building’s gas pipes. We had no service to our stoves and no clothes dryers for 3 1/2 months. Some people got hot plates, but I just ate out and bought nutritious salads from a local supermarket and went out to nearby laundromats.
In October I attended the 57th reunion of the Class of 1957 of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland and visited brother George and his wife Julie and sister Ginny and her husband Gary. Brother Chris and his wife Sonja moved that month from Colorado Springs to Northglenn nearer Denver, CO, where their only grandchild lives.
Recently I and many other New Yorkers have been troubled both by the deaths this summer of Michael Brown near St. Louis and Eric Garner on Staten Island in New York City and the assassination of two NYPD officers by a very troubled individual who later committed suicide. These bring back memories for me of the gun and civil rights violence of the 1960s. NYPD police officers in the past used to walk the streets and were able to interact with the community personally. However, the nearby Ninth Precinct gives a Christmas party every year providing much appreciated gifts to hundreds of children.
One sad note, I had to have my chubby feral cat Spooky “put down” just before Christmas before I left town for family visits. I got her from a vacant store about 8 years ago. She had stopped eating for a couple weeks and was diagnosed with severe kidney failure from which the vet said she would not recover. My friends Martha and Fran came with me to provide moral support. Feisty Spooky managed to leave a few memorial scratches on me before her departure.
Philip and I started the New Year with a quiet New Year’s Eve party with some of his friends from the dance world, a New Year’s Day visit to the Matisse cut-out exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, and an evening poetry reading at the Nuyorican Poets Café including Philip among many others.
I (Marty) have had lunch with Gwen Bausum a few times during the past two years. This winter I read Eleanor: The Years Alone, an account by Joseph Lash of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life between the death of her husband, Franklin, in April, 1945 and her death in 1962. (The book was given to me by a former neighbor, a lifelong bibliophile.) The book was interesting to me because I remembered many of the persons and events discussed in it and also because Mr. Lash had access to letters and papers which provided behind-the-scenes information not available to the average citizen at the time of the events.