Dianne Beebe Barske
It’s mid-December, the holiday season, and early Christmas cards are providing some of the cheerful news for this column. But I feel drawn to share some very sad news first, news that came to me in early September through two of our classmates, Cheryl Carlson Peyton and Kandy Kiefaber Higinbotham. Esther “Estie” Paist died Sept. 6. She had heart surgery earlier in 2016 and seemed to be doing well. But on that Tuesday, she experienced severe back pain and was flown by helicopter to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital where she died. Estie and I were roommates in grad school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, having driven across country together in her little yellow VW Bug. She had an active mind, a big smile, a calmness and warmth. She was planning an Alaska trip this coming summer. I will miss her so much, but am grateful for a reunion we had in Scottsdale, AZ, two years ago. I am also grateful to “The Terrace House Girls” who decided to honor Estie by purchasing a Hood Blazer Brick in memory of her. News came from four classmates who attended our June Hood 50th reunion, friends I had a chance to visit with, making me wish for more time with each of them. Geneva Butz was one of the ministers, along with the Rev. Alice Coffman McDermott, who spoke at our Sunday service in the Hood Chapel. She wrote that she recently downsized from a three-bedroom apartment to just two large rooms—a living/dining room and an office/bedroom. Geneva adds, “But I do love this new location—on the 12th floor of a high-rise next to the art museum in Philadelphia.” Laurie Wheeler Brown is another friend who returned to campus for the reunion. Laurie wrote, “It was fun to see you in June.” We did laugh a lot. Laurie also mentions a family rafting trip in August down the Green River in Utah, “all 14 of us!” Carole Ann Kemp Lovett and I also got to visit a lot during reunion weekend, often in Coblentz dining hall. She stays in touch with her Hood Big Sister, Kay Starcher Klausewitz ’64, who had just recently sent her pictures of travels to Ireland. Carole Ann’s mother, Eleanor, turned 98 in November and danced at her birthday party with Carole Ann’s husband, Bill—“her favorite son-in-law.” Winter months will be spent at the Villages in Sumter County, FL. She adds, “I look forward to visiting nearby pals Ginny Wheeler Jones, M.A.’88 and Pat Kehoe Tylander.” Speaking of Ginny, on top of organizing our 50th Hood reunion, she has been busy moving to this new Florida location. The house in Germantown, MD, sold after 16.5 months on the market. She and husband Charlie had spent many months moving furnishings between Germantown and Hernando, FL, earning the title of “snow flakes,” according to her! They plan to spend August to December in Annapolis, MD, and January to July in Hernando, FL. Joan Theobald Wentling shared triumphant news. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2015, but I have apparently emerged the winner in that battle.” Such good news. Joan states she is so grateful for the support of former sister-in-law Jeanne Perkins Hofferkamp’67 and Barb Maly Fish ’64. “Our grandchildren continue to be a source of happiness for us. Their ages are 9, 10, 11 and 12, and all live within 10 minutes of us. We are so lucky!” Jane Dearstyne Veeder. “We have been very blessed this year.” She and husband Chuck drove across the continent and back in their travel trailer from mid-August to mid-October. “It was an amazing experience. We visited places in both the U.S. and Canada. We spent a delightful day with Hood classmate Bonnie Scull Hawkes and her husband, Geoff, in Vancouver, BC. It is such a beautiful city!” I stay busy, volunteering, spending time in my little art studio and writing monthly features for an Alaska statewide publication, “Senior Voice.” I’ve been able to travel to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians (think “Deadliest Catch”), St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands of the Bering Sea, Sitka in Southeast Alaska, Fairbanks in the Interior—all to cover stories for this publication. Having a son who works for Alaska Airlines provides a parental benefit, free transportation, traveling standby. We use this benefit often to fly to Portland, OR, where both sons, their wives and all three grandchildren now live. So I, too, am feeling blessed—and the greatest blessings seem to be people—family and friendships. I’m grateful to all Hood friends who found a minute to share their news!