1977: Summer 2016

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Elizabeth Anderson Comer

Kath Weslock hinted that Gretta Tomb had some wonderful big news but was too shy to tell!  It seems our Dr. Tomb is the recipient of the Department of Veterans Affairs 2016 Veterans Health Administration’s Clinical Excellence in Dentistry award!  According to Steven Speroni, DMD, Chief of Dentistry at the VA Medical Center in Bath, New York, “Dr. Tomb has received this National  Award for demonstrating excellence in the areas of Veteran centric care, customer service, technical skills, interpersonal effectiveness, clinical efficiencies and organizational stewardship.  Dr. Tomb truly is an excellent clinician, supportive colleague and compassionate provider. We are so fortunate as a facility to have her on staff in Bath . I whole heartedly agree with  Dr. Arola’s comments about how deserving  Dr. Tomb is in receiving this recognition.  I congratulate Dr. Tomb for being  the first VA dentist to receive the national award for Clinical Excellence in Dentistry .” Congratulations to Gretta ! Martha Homnack Armenti and Bob sent a note from Hyannis.  I am including some passages and I think you will agree that it is lovely: We were participants in the process of natural selection:  we selected from the unfamiliar and then established routines.  This year was one of verbs (listening, watching, noting, trying),  a year of recovery from decades of rising and shining, from all kinds of people-produced pollution, from assaults on peace of mind.  This year was  a year of reflection, time to pull from the past and present and possibly inform the future, a transitional year. (Aren’t they all?) But now, tulips are at their peak.  Forsythia is on its way out.  Returning from Costa Rica, Baltimore Orioles, here called Northern Orioles for abandoning Maryland’s oppressive summers for this milder climate, are now nesting in open woodlands up and down the Cape. So, are we returning to Hyannis to teach again?  We are not.  We are returning to Baltimore and not seeking re-employment there or elsewhere.  We are elated, grateful and excited.  To make this decision, and it wasn’t easy, we considered the overarching picture and remembered (in spite of how we feel and look–like you, of course!) our ages. Not trying to be morbid, but we see that most of the mountain range is behind us.  We, like you, have witnessed shocking and tragic fates of those we have known and loved.  Considering the accumulation of evidence, the decision became clear. Torches are being passed and we’re enjoying the view. Further, some of you already know that the first generation Z Armenti baby was born during your blizzard on January 22 to David and Lisa and we are all thrilled. We remain surprised by the question that some of you who have learned our plans to return to Maryland have asked, “What are you going to do?”  Please do not think that we worked because we needed something to do.  I, for one, as you know loved teaching.   To anyone who thinks about asking us or anyone that question, hear the words of a wise Cape yoga teacher who reminds her students in every session, “think about being, not about doing.”  Not wanting to get overly zen-like, think about Bob (who has promised to go to one yoga session with me–picture that!) who has, as long as I have known him, rather seemed to find work an interruption to what he really wants to do–read, listen to music, sing, bike, travel, cook (oops, no!), play games, enjoy his family, watch sports, pray for the Cleveland Indians, support the liberal cause; however, he has not let his career “get in the way of [his] education” and now, he won’t have to. His halcyon perspective inspires.  Existence could be likened to a garden:  we may divide and cultivate the sections– the physical, social, spiritual, environmental, humanitarian, cultural, the intellectual–that make us whole.  Cultivation of our plants can happen in infinite ways.  So, we are looking forward to further tending and enjoying our gardens–with you, of course!”  Thank you Martha and Bob for sharing with us! I stand (yes I have a stand up desk thanks to Barrie Briscoe Reightler!  She sold me on the idea several years ago at the Grand National Steeplechase in Baltimore and I thank her every day…try it and you will see) and cobble together this column.  I have lost track of the years I have done this but truthfully I love the reconnection with you all!  I hold down the fort in Baltimore as Doug travels the globe (apologies to Denise Swan Isacson but I tried to steer him to Delta instead of United) trying to protect World Heritage sites as the president of ICAHM. Many years ago I realized one of the archaeologists needed to be a little closer to home and offspring and I never regretted that realization and attendant decision!  Anne (our youngest) just finished her freshman year at Bard.  Margaret is pursuing her Ph.D. in Heritage at Cambridge and Jacob is working with Doug at Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, and Meroe, Sudan.  Anne and I joined Doug and Jacob in Peru during spring break and spent 2 nights on a floating island in Lake Titicaca! I have some fascinating projects including Catoctin Furnace and just returned from a research trip to Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire.  Thanks class of 1977 for all your news…send me more!



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