Laila Grabowsky Bottomly and Kirk have had a great first year of retirement. They traveled to DC, Mexico , Paris and New England and spent a month as campground hosts at Yosemite, among other camping trips. Their two kids (Jenny, Emergency Medicine doctor and Matt, Intellectual Property attorney) are both happily married and have given them 7 grandkids between them. Yet another due in 2019! They keep busy with church, exercise (her 10th year doing Master Swim), local food bank, Master Gardener and home/garden activities. Sacramento area has great weather and they live in a beautiful wooded suburb with rolling hills and dozens of fruit trees. Laila and Kirk are loving each day!
Life is still wonderful south of the border for Rhea Bel-Jon Calkins and Steven. Steven just returned from a daunting swim trek in the sea of Cortez and they are both looking forward to their whale watching adventure in the Baja in February. They are finally at the end of their years of construction and renovations and the silence is heaven. Just when she thought they would kick back for a while, Rhea offered to help a local NGO and there went the kick back. She is now treasurer of Mujeres en Cambio (Women in Change) which evolved into far more time and work than anticipated, but this kind of “work” is a true pleasure. We provide scholarships to 175 under-served girls and young women in the surrounding rural communities.
Jackie Testa Ciminera and Bill now have three beautiful grandchildren. Their newest, Nathaniel, was born to their daughter Bonnie and her husband at the end of May. Their other two, Ella and Liam, are almost four and almost two, respectively. Bonnie and her family live in New York City and Bill Jr. and his family near them in suburban Philadelphia.
Happily, Jackie reconnected with one of our classmates, Libby Miller, who’s doing well and living not too far from them in Pennsylvania.
KC Henry is downsizing her business and moving toward retirement. Woooohooo! She moved her office Into her house and started a pottery studio! She has been honing her new skills at the very progressive, fantastic and new ceramic department at Hood! She loves taking workshops on our beautiful campus and the enthusiasm and professionalism Joyce Michaud, associate professor and director of the ceramics program. Our old science labs are now ceramic labs – much more fun than those chemistry classes were.
Diana Beck Walters became active in rescuing and training herding dogs after the sudden death of her husband. She found her new passion in flyball, which is a team sport for dogs. She manages and trains a local team (24 dogs, 18 people) in Fayetteville, NC and race just about anywhere she can drive to. Flyball is a wonderful sport for “older” people; her dogs run approximately 25 mph but the handlers do not. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your dog, look up your local Flyball club!
Al Weinberg joined Hood’s Board of Trustees in October and is looking forward to helping President Chapdelaine move the College securely into the future while navigating the difficult issues facing liberal arts colleges. Based on his first series of meetings, he is extremely optimistic about Hood’s outlook. Meanwhile, he is enjoying retirement in their new home at Wormans Mill in Frederick. His daughter gave birth to his first grandson, Turner, a year ago, while his two granddaughters, living in Pittsburgh, keep getting taller and more talkative. Al’s partner Connie Schlee and a friend have mostly completed work to save the Helen Smith studio. He is gearing up for a new project interviewing Vietnam veterans.
Thank you to everyone who shared their news. I continue to work full-time designing the retirement plans for small businesses. My mom, living in South Carolina had massive stroke Mother’s Day weekend and we were so fortunate my brother was visiting at the time. She’s improved a lot but still needs skilled nursing care located in Tryon NC. On the happy side, my son Matt and his long-time girlfriend Samantha got married in October. Matt, Sam and a group of us went to Cabo and had a great time celebrating, relaxing by the pool, eating great food and drinking margaritas. We survived the October wild fires in Northern California which came within two miles of our house. It’s so nice to live in the mountains, but the California droughts make every summer and fall stressful. Wishing you, your families and friends the best for 2019. Debbie Page Rath