My semi-annual plea for classmate news got some welcome responses, and I am thankful for each one of you who had a moment to share some news. Kenni Ward James Pinckard sent an email from what she called, “the opposite end of the U.S.” She is in Gainesville, Fla., and I am in Anchorage, Alaska. She traveled a lot this past year, visiting friends and relatives from Maryland to Texas, and then attended her 50th high school reunion in Bethany Beach, Del. Husband Tom’s daughters and their adult children live in Indianapolis, so a trip there was added to the travel itinerary, with a special feature, seeing a new great-granddaughter. “Two beloved grandsons” live in Round Rock, Texas, and are both in high school, playing football. When Kenni finds herself at home, she spends time volunteering at church.
Another classmate living in Gainesville, Fla., is Betty Schmidt Martin. She and her husband Harold were in Anchorage this past summer, and the three of us had a delightful lunch together at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. I was there as a guest artist with the museum’s summer art potpourri program. We talked about children and grandchildren, the fact that we felt “left in the dust” when it comes to today’s technology, but were up to speed when it comes to dealing with ailments we were never going to encounter! News came from Harriet Sue Fox Riehl’s husband Jack. He has been updating us on Harriet’s condition since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in May 2006. Many will remember that Harriet was named Hood’s distinguished alumna in 2008, after her diagnosis. Today, she is in hospice care in Chapel Hill, N.C. Jack tells us that “while her speech and mobility have been affected, she continues to respond to messages she receives from her network of friends.” Messages can be sent to Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Melville emailed from Cincinnati, Ohio, that she finds great joy in her present state, retirement! She retired from teaching in October 2012. “I had received national board certification and ran the gifted program at my school until it was cut due to the budget,” said Mary. Her son Lanier is married and living in Albert Lea, Minn. “He married a gal with three boys, and they had a girl––born on my birthday. She turned 4 years old in December.” Daughter Margie is divorced and has four boys, with the oldest in college, and one graduating soon from high school planning to enter the Marines. Son Jon is in Brooklyn, N.Y., with a career in music composition and performing. There are a lot of men in this family! Youngest son Charlie is a banker, married and living in Lansing, Mich., with two sons, now ages 16 and 13. Mary ponders how she could possibly have grandchildren so old! (I confided that mine are 16 and 22!) Facebook friend Susan Worth Fiala answered my urgent plea for news. She and husband John are both retired, living in Forest Hill, Md., and enjoying life. One of their three sons, oldest son John married to Tammy has “at last produced a grandchild, little Rose.” The trio planned to arrive for a visit the day after Christmas, to Susan and John’s delight. Susan has a trip planned to Port Saint Lucie, Fla., to meet up with Hood roommate Beth Harlow Foster, for their annual trip to Key West, Fla. Sounds wonderful, especially as I write this in early December, with the temperature at 14 below outside our Anchorage home!
One more personal note from me, Dianne Beebe Barske, in praise of Bonnie Kloeblen Hagerman and her project to provide knitted clothing for premature babies. Husband Elliott and I were sitting in the Bull Restaurant in Cadiz, Spain, this past August, part of a Prairie Home Companion Cruise to Spain and Portugal, celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary. I was visiting over wine with a woman seated across from us, who shared she was from Maryland. “I went to college in Maryland,” I told her. “Oh, I take part in the knitting program for premature babies, organized by someone from Hood.” That would be our classmate, Bonnie, and this was a warm-hearted example of what a small world it can be!
Dianne Beebe Barske