With just two years to go, our 50th Reunion Committee has started to communicate and share ideas. Joslin Cook Ruffle, our reunion gift chair, sent this personal note to classmates: “Please plan a trip back to Hood in June, 2015!” She and Lynn Reagan Johnson celebrated the advent of their seventh decade with a five-day trip to Savannah and Charleston. They focused primarily on the cities’ history and homes and enjoying the local cuisine. Jamie Barr Gartelmann wrote that nothing much was happening in her life, but with three homes and associated activities up and down the East Coast, the Gartelmanns certainly couldn’t have many empty hours to fill. Their two married sons, Jesse and Chris, and five of their grandchildren, age 5 to 12, keep them busy when at home in New Jersey, and there’s still the “farmie” thing, which includes producing some flowers, cutting firewood, mowing, trimming and gardening. “But we do get a winter break in our home near Wilmington, N.C., which we love for the golf and the beach,” Jamie wrote. “Peter’s friend of 60-plus years and his wife visited us there in February, and we picked up right where we left off and laughed for a week. We’ll visit them in New Orleans next year.” Jamie was reporting from Maine, where they were putting in Peter’s sailboat during a stretch of unusually warm late-May days, but they had to return home for the primary election on June 4 for Jamie’s election-supervisor duties. Diana Beers Lobdell reported a similarly satisfying “no-news” life. “I am now Grammy to five grandchildren, who, by the end of 2013 will be ages 8, 6, 5, 3 and 3,” she wrote. “That’s right, a pair of twins at the end!” The Lobdells’ two sons are “great fathers,” with one living in California and the other in Oregon. Florida is home base, but the Lobdells spend summers in Utah with visits to the sons’ families as well as trips to Arizona to see Ralph’s mother and to Oregon to visit his dad. Catherine Byers Meredith had unanticipated triple-bypass surgery at Johns Hopkins on April 26, but by early June she announced that she was fine and did her part of this class news report. Barbara Casey Ruffino and Russ have spent the last four years dividing their lives between Italy and Washington, DC, with occasional stops in Stuart, Fla. Actually, Russ has been in Italy almost full-time, and Barb has traveled back and forth while still working as a management consultant for government contracting firms in D.C. area. Russ, an Episcopal priest,was sent on a three-year assignment to Orvieto, Italy, after retiring as a parish priest in Rhode Island. He was there to set up a mission church, a challenging but ultimately successful effort. They had a small apartment in a 17th century palazzo right in the middle of the medieval part of town. Now Russ is doing a six-month assignment in Milan where Barbara recently spent five weeks. Daughter Jane, a Hood graduate, went to Ireland for her Masters in Archeology in 2001, then stayed for an ABD at University College, Dublin, and hasn’t come home since. She has been a freelance journalist, radio guest journalist and is now a marketing director for a technology company. Son Mike is in the Hollywood Hills writing and composing music for several TV shows. Ramona Elbin attained a unique status in our class when she married Bob Kissner between our sophomore and junior years. The fact that the talented music major from Houston continued to matriculate as a married student was quite remarkable in that long-ago era. Ramona and Bob are celebrating “50 years of wedded bliss” this summer by taking their two sons and one son’s girlfriend to England and then on a river cruise in France. The Kissners moved to Sun City in Georgetown, Tex., 10 years ago and have found it to be a very friendly, active community, conveniently located about 150 miles from their oldest son and two grandchildren. This fall their grandson will be starting Southwestern University in Georgetown. “We’re so happy about that,” Ramona wrote, “but we keep reminding ourselves not to smother him with too much attention.” Though retired, Ramona continues substitute conducting for two choirs, which allows her the pleasures of making music without the drudge work. The first months of 2013 brought a major change to Ann Fulton Warren, who was enjoying the last days of a trip to Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Hong Kong, where daughter Jessie and family are currently living, when she got word that her mother was ill in Florida. The Warrens headed to Jacksonville in time to be with Mrs. Fulton for her final days. Mrs. Fulton died on Feb. 3 from complications of the flu, and Dr. Fulton is now living with the Warrens in Potomac, MD. They’re looking forward to having Jessie’s family for a two-week visit this summer. Joan Joice Taylor has been living in Henderson, Nev., for the past 23 years with her husband, Rufus. Joan is retired after a career in education that led from classroom chemistry teacher, through a professional-development specialist for regional secondary science teachers to teaching future and current science teachers at Univ. of Nev.-Las Vegas. The Taylors enjoy traveling to see their children and grandchildren in Virginia. Luke, the youngest grandchild, was 2 in December, while his mother, the Taylors’ younger child, was just promoted to Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army. A mountain vacation cabin in Idaho, about 20 miles south of West Yellowstone, Mont., allows the Taylors access to snowmobiling and fly fishing in that area. Though Joan hasn’t skied for the past two years, she’s recently had hip and knee replacements, so who knows? Carolyn Oldman Gregory’s life in Albuquerque has undergone some changes: A spotted cocker spaniel rescue named Higgins is now in the household, and Carolyn is working with RiverXchange to connect classrooms across the country to the cause of environmental stewardship. She continues to “play with” her friends at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, direct Youth Ed at the Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living and miss her grandkids and son in Australia. Jo Ann Sether Bowes is busier than ever in Loch Haven, Penn. Last year, while she and Ron were in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji for 30 days, the local historical society ran out of money and the paid staff resigned. As president, she took over to keep the programs going, which includes managing four properties and doing taxes, grant writing, zoning applications, advertising, program planning, etc. The Bowes’ younger son lives in Gaithersburg, Md., with a second child due in November when the first will be only 16 months old. In addition to the Australia trip last year, Jo Ann took her older son to Botswana and Zambia, but this year, travel will be limited to a few weekend weddings and a convention in Reno. “I hope to add some more countries to my passport in 2014,” she wrote.