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Class Notes Winter 2023

Class Notes Winter 2023

Thank you for all the news!


Mary Smith Podles:

Margaret Griffin recommends a book that sparked a lively discussion in her Wellesley book club last month, Yale Needs Women, 2019, by Anne Gardiner Perkins.  The author was the first female editor of the Yale Daily News, who published the book on the 50th anniversary of Yale's admitting women.  Many of you will recall "coed week" at various Ivy League male-only colleges during our freshman year and even some classmates who transferred to those schools; evidently the idea was dreamed up by a handful of students (from public schools) and somehow the university went along.  The book is both a history of the times and the crazy story of how Kingman Brewster completely changed his views (when the admit rates at Yale fell below Princeton!) and what life was like for the brave women in those first classes.  This book feels like the history of the Class of 72.  Also, Margaret wants to thank the many classmates who wrote such thoughtful and heartfelt stories of their own struggles for the class record book.  What a lot of interesting women!   

Liana De Girolami Cheney, PhD Class 72

Prof of Art History (emerita) UMASS Lowell, presently residing in Ocala, Florida is now the Editor in Chief of the journal Paragone: Past and Present: She published several articles on Italian Mannerist painters, a female painter from Ravenna, Barbara Longhi (1555-1638):

“Barbara Longhi’s Saint Agnes of Rome: Icon Images of Purity and Virtue,” Journal of Cultural and Religious Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3, (March 2022): 115–136.

“Barbara Longhi’s Maria Purissima,” Journal of the Arts and Humanities, 11, 1 (Winter 2022): 12-22.

“Barbara Longhi of Ravenna: A Devotional Self-Portrait,” Journal of Literature and Art Studies, 12, (January 2022): 61–85.

And on the Florentine painter and writer, Giorgio Vasari’s Madonna of the Rosary: A Rose Garden of Blessings,” Journal of Cultural and Religious Studies 10, 1 (February 2022):1-31.

Her book on Lavinia Fontana discussed the painting of Lavinia Fontana’s Holy Family in the Davis Museum at Wellesley College.

Martha Morrison Veranth deeply regrets missing Reunion. The previous weekend, she and her husband went to his MIT reunion, where the Covid precautions weren't nearly as stringent as they were at Wellesley, and two days before our reunion they both tested positive. Sunday morning Martha dressed in her reunion whites and Joan Lovell FaceTimed her into the beginning of the parade. That evening she and Cheryl Pope Handel enjoyed a mini reunion on Zoom.

Ellen Cahn writes that she enjoyed going to her 50th Wellesley reunion in June 2022. She liked wearing the tiara, visiting the Wellesley art museum, eating lunch under the open-air tent, and visiting with classmates.

Judy Rousuck sold her novel, Please Write, to Bancroft Press, which will publish it in November in hardback, audio and ebook. Here’s how she describes the book: "The alter ego of a recently widowed artist launches into some correspondence with a mixed-breed terrier whose owner’s life is unraveling. Please Write delivers a distinctive account of coping with heartbreak and loss through the power of imagination and love.” Judy says if this sounds familiar, it’s probably because she mentioned working on the book in her last few reunion essays. Please Write will not only be Judy's first published novel, it’s the first novel she’s written since her English honors thesis.

Harriet Chessman had the chance to go to Bern, Switzerland, for the opening of the opera Sycorax.  She had conceived of this opera -- about the day after Shakespeare's The Tempest! -- and she created the libretto, which the Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas then put to music.  The five characters in this opera include Sycorax (the "witch" Prospero describes in The Tempest, whom he claims has died), Prospero, Miranda, Caliban and Ariel, plus a Chorus singing the part of the Spirits of the Island.  The production was beautiful and moving.

Roseann Miller Trott reports her doctors can't find any evidence of cancer at this point.  So plans are back on to spend a couple of months in a village in Belize teaching little kids to read and to play without fighting (too much).

On a beautiful September day, Mary Jo Nelson and her husband Mike, were pleased to watch their son Lowell Naas marry Kayla Jensen in western Minnesota near Lake Alexandria. His brother Bill was best man and his sister Mary Naas 2019 (who took her first year at Wellesley before transferring) was a bridesmaid.

Sophia Paraskos Hill is still living in Sherborn, MA in the house that she and NIck, her husband of 47 years, had built over 35 years ago. It is on a beautiful lake, surrounded by lots of natural beauty, hiking and biking trails, and only 5 miles from the Wellesley campus. She enjoyed the 50th Reunion and hopes to attend more! Fortunately, she is still in good health, able to bike, walk, and jog a bit, after having a hip replacement last year. She loves cooking, reading, and socializing with friends and family when possible. She still enjoys working part time as an Urgent Care physician at Harvard University Health Service, seeing primarily students and staff. She has 2 daughters, one is an environmental lawyer working for the EPA in Atlanta, and the other a physician in family medicine training in Denver. No grandchildren yet, but still a possibility. NIck is still working full time as a pulmonary/critical care physician at Tufts Medical Center, planning on cutting back int he near future to allow for travel adventures. Life is still good, despite the recent world challenges. Looking forward to the next gathering!

ChorSwang Ngin's work continues to keep her away from retirement. Since the reunion, she presented at a conference at Oxford on the integration of culture into the legal system. In November, she was invited by the American Anthropology Association to deliver a Distinguished Lecture on “Who Gets Permission to Teach and Write What? Cultural Expertise on Race and Anthropology”.  She is thankful for all the opportunities given to her.    

Bonnie Lucas writes that she will be having a one person show at the ILY2 Gallery in Portland, Oregon opening in March 2023. This will be the opening show in the gallery's new space in the Pearl District of Portland. This is very exciting Maidie!  They will be flying me out two times to do a multiple artwork either at a glass making workshop or a print studio! The gallery will have an art and design store and a library for artists as part of the complex!!!

Unlike many, Robin Straus is still working full time as a literary agent although thoughts of reducing the workload are popping up.  Two granddaughters (almost 4 and 2) thanks to ER doctor son David Kanon and professor wife Kara Alaimo are bringing joy into our lives.  Son Michael Kanon is a DJ in Santa Monica. Husband Joe Kanon recently had his tenth novel, THE BERLIN EXCHANGE, published with Scribner and is working on a new one set in Shanghai. Finished apartment renovation which gives us more room for visitors who seem to be coming to NY post pandemic (we hope) in droves.  Build it and they will come!

Elaine Shiang made a move from Brookline to Cambridge after 40+ years and now lives in vibrant Kendall Square. Retired from the practice of medicine, she drives her RV across the country visiting friends and especially to North Carolina where her daughter Margaret’s family lives. Her children all have careers in the restaurant business which has also provided her with a second career of sorts. Son Andrew runs Flora’s Wine Bar in West Newton and daughter Irene is about to open MeiMei Dumpling Company in South Boston. Irene was awarded a James Beard Leadership Award this past year for her efforts on behalf of the food and restaurant industry. Margaret is finishing her second cookbook “Perfectly Good Food” and is a consultant for composting and food waste policy. I thank classmate Louisa Kasdon for always supporting their food aspirations and dreams.

Amy Sabrin and Iris Yang spent 3 weeks in Italy in September. The first week was spent sketching in Florence and Tuscany with a small group and Vermont art instructor Susan Abbott.  They absorbed the art, saw a stunning full moon rising over the Ponte Vecchio, and learned to make homemade ravioli. Then they were joined by their husbands Evans Witt and Rich Brown for a leisurely visit to Bologna, Ravenna, Vicenza, and four glorious days in Venice.  The weather, art, shopping and food were perfect, and well worth the mild cases of Covid they all came down with the day after their return to the U.S.!

Elisabeth “Betsy” Griffith ’69 did Wellesley proud when she spoke about her book Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality 1920-2020. (See a book review in this issue’s Shelf Life section!) Pictured are: (back) Susan Kirchheimer Doull ’69, Dectora Coe Jeffers ’69, Carol Herzman Fishman ’63, Eleanore “Lynn” Hoeffel Gadsden ’69, Laura Diagnault Gates ’72, and Laura Wood Cantopher ’84; and (front) Betsy Griffith ‘69.

Mee-Seen Loong ‘72 and Carol Ferring Shepley ’72 paid a Halloween visit to the style guru.

Iris Yang ’72 and Amy Sabrin ’72 took this photo in Ravenna, Italy, during their three-week-long trip in Sept. 2022.

Iris and Amy spent the first week in Florence and Tuscany with a small group and Vermont art instructor Susan Abbot. Here is a page from Amy’s sketchbook!

Iris and Amy absorbed the art, saw a stunning full moon rising over the Ponte Vecchio, and learned to make homemade ravioli during their trip. Here is Iris making ravioli!

Sarah Jane Huber ‘14 and Dan Spritz were married in June in Western Mass. with the help of quite a few alums, including Sarah Jane’s mom, Lucille Bearon ‘72, and alums Kelsey Heroux ‘14, Haley Ling ‘14, Allegra Zoller ‘14, Amanda Coronado ‘14, Sarah Zemlok ‘14, Caroline Bodager ‘14, Esther Mitrani ‘14, and Micah Askins ‘14. Photography by Danielle Norris-Gardner ‘02 of Salty Raven Studio.