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Ned's report from the reunions this year...

Alumni Day/Reunions 2011

Report from Ned Groth, June 20, 2011


On Saturday I drove up to Darrow for Alumni Day. It was a gorgeous June day and the main event was the Class of 1961’s 50th reunion, kind of a warm-up act for ours. As the photo below shows, they had a large turnout—19 guys in the picture, and Chip Detwiller said he believed he had 23 guys there for at least some part of the weekend.  If so, that’s a new record (we had 22 at our 40th and the Class of 1960 tied that number last year), so they have raised the mark for us to beat next year.


Front row, Left to right: Don Blumenthal, Kazu Sohma, Ben Levine, Gerry McGee, Barney Coneen, Howie Romack, Ken O’Brien, Charlie Emerson. Back row: Jeff Hagyard, Andy Wells, Sloan Auchincloss, Chip Detwiller, Bill Ewald, Chuck Currie, Toby Taylor, Jeff Groat, Steve Isom, Pete Morris (partly hidden) and Alf Symonds.

As last year, it was amazing to see all these guys and to note how young and vigorous they seem still to be—considering how much older than us they are! Two of the returnees—Groat and Coneen—were back for their first reunion ever. Kazu got the long-distance award, with McGee and Blumenthal also coming a long way, from California. Howie Romack and Ben Levine gave presentations in the library, Howie on his zoological collecting expeditions in Guyana (photo below), Ben on a project he and his wife Julie are pursuing to record and preserve Native American languages. Former physics and earth science teacher Don Beaver came down for the day from Williamstown; Don still teaches at Williams. Patrick Evans (who had planned to come all the way from France) couldn’t make it (passport problems), and we did not see Des McCracken or Horton Durfee this year.





In this shot from Howie’s PowerPoint presentation, he’s holding a sloth. The main targets of his trips to South America are invertebrates; Howie explained that there’s a species of moth that lives in the fur of the sloth. He brought along several display cases filled with tropical insects and other arthropods, and mentioned that his collection now numbers over half a million specimens and fills a whole room of his home in Cambridge, NY.






Land and Griswold





We had a modest turnout from ’62; the usual suspects at right turned up for beer, food and good fellowship; Tom Bird was there, helping put in a fence around a vegetable garden at Alumni Hands-to-Work when I arrived Saturday morning, and I raised our total to four—a mere fraction of what we’ll see next year. An e-letter will  go out soon with some thoughts as we start in earnest to get organized for our 50th. Right, Bob Lang and Dave Griswold enjoy a cool one.







Bill Ewald set up a Class of ’61 50th reunion web page at http://61darrow50th.myevent.com/ and you can find there (go to the “Guest Book” page) essays from many members of the class as they were looking forward to the reunion. Eventually there may be pictures from the reunion posted there as well.

Well, now it’s our turn. Let’s gear up and show them how it’s done.


Here is Ned's report on the reunions which took place at Darrow last year. It is included here as a bit of an inspiration for the planning of our own reunion next year.


Report on Reunions 2010
Ned Groth, June 21, 2010

I attended Reunions at Darrow this past weekend. Tom Bird was the only other member of ’62 who was there. Although Lang, Griswold and Braun had said, earlier this spring, that they were planning to attend, none of them made it, at least not on Saturday when I was there.

Saturday’s highlights included the memorial service for John Joline and the 50th reunion of the Class of 1960, a huge gathering that should inspire us. I’m planning to go up next year and report on 1961’s 50th, just in case you guys need further inspiration.

The memorial service for John Joline was held in the Chapel, in place of the traditional reunions meeting with the alumni. It was a moving and beautiful service, with tributes to John from two of his successors, Larry van Meter and Nancy Wolf, as well as friends, family and former students.  Two of John’s Princeton classmates were there, in their bright orange PU reunions jackets, and “Old Nassau” (the Princeton alma mater) was one of the musical selections played. (The pianist, who most likely had never seen it before, mangled it, but the thought counted.)

The only former student to speak was at Saint Louis Country Day School when John was a first-year English teacher, back in 1950. John’s daughter, Bitsy, read excerpts from the dozens of e-mails and letters John got from former Darrow students during his final days. She said each and every one of them was read to him, and that he recalled and described each writer. He was lucid and articulate, right up to the end, according to his son, Jo (John F. IV). Jo read a passage from the biography John had written for his Princeton class’s 25th reunion, in 1972, in which John let on that working with high school students had made him less confident of the absolute nature of certain educational principles he had always held dear, and that while he saw the students of that day as perhaps less disciplined and more interested in personal freedom than his generation had been, they were also more open and honest, and just as committed to fundamental values such as fairness and integrity.

The family and the school put together a booklet containing all the messages and letters that were sent to John from his Darrow connections just before his death. You can probably get it from the alumni office; try alumni@darrowschool.org or mdeely@darrowschool.org. The anecdotes some writers shared were hilarious, and many of the tributes were quite eloquent.

The Class of 1960 had a reunion that ’62 would have been proud of. Jim Brooks is their class agent, and has maintained a pretty good class infrastructure over the years, but my spies tell me Bob Warner gets the credit for turning out such a huge group. They did several things we’ve done—mostly stayed in one hotel, had a class dinner on Friday night, etc. Mike Terry (Michael B., that is) put together a reunion book, with biographies and photos of all those who submitted information. Mike also had dozens of photos that he, or his parents, had taken during his years at Darrow, which were displayed on poster boards, and included some wonderful shots. Mike also typed up 12 pages of his “memories” (he said he just got started one night and it all poured out). He gave me a copy marked “confidential” because some of the stories might embarrass someone, but several of the anecdotes about faculty are wonderful, just the sort of thing I’ll plan to use in memorials for former teachers. (In fact, just the sort of thing I have asked all of you to send me, but so few of you have.)

In the “unofficial” reunion photo below, note, first, that there are 23 of them. (Chip Detwiller is officially ’61, but started out his 5 years at Darrow as ’60, so they invited him to join the photo.)  Officially, they got 22 guys. That TIES our all-time record for the largest reunion—we had 22 at our 20th and our 40th. Perhaps this is the challenge we need to get 25 at our 50th! Also note how young, vigorous and happy to be there they all are!

Appearing in the photo below are, left to right, back row, Jon Van Vorst, Owen Kelly (partially hidden), Stafford Keegin, Jon Horwitz, Oran Kelley, Jim Evans, Pete Ruth. Third row, Don Woytowick, Tom Atkin, Wids Delacour, Ted Han, Duncan Henderson. Second row, Van Selden, Dennis Walker, *David Mook*, Chip Detwiller ‘61, Peter Miles*. Front row, Pete von Mertens, Mike B. Terry, Bob C. Warner, Jim Brooks, Pete May, Terry Haig. (*Left Darrow before any of us arrived, but still members of the class.)


2010 Reunions

Think about signing up now for our own th reunion. We will have a great time and break the all-time record too.

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