Home | Class News | 50th Reunion | Past Reunions | Other Gatherings | Newsletter Archive | Links | Memorials | Classmates Search | Classmates Found | Trivia | Queries/Comments | Contacts |


Bob Lang’s 70th Birthday Celebration
Salem, NY,  June 21-23, 2013

Description: C:\Users\Ned\Pictures\2012\2012-08-18\Lang's 70th\Bob\DSCF2352.jpgBob turned 70 with a gathering of family and friends on his farm, about an hour north of Darrow. The highlights included a nature walk, led by a friend and expert birder, on Saturday morning, and a bonfire up on the hill, Saturday night. Bob’s brother Chris, who owns a winery in Maryland and is also a talented cook, provided delicious meals for all. Multiple coolers were filled with beer and other cold beverages, the wines flowed like water, old friendships were nourished and new ones were formed. Bob and those gathered ‘round him enjoyed a mellow vibe that not even a rain shower during the bonfire could dampen.

Description: C:\Users\Ned\Pictures\2012\2012-08-18\Lang's 70th\Bob's Kids\DSCF2381.jpgBob, shown here with Patty, his constant companion and fiancée, seems at a good place in his life. He’s in reasonably good health, and as happy as we’ve known him to be.  He is content to let the farm, several hundred acres he bought a decade ago, lie mostly fallow, providing habitat for a variety of birds and wildlife; this year he’s passing up haying, and earlier efforts to harvest timber haven’t worked out, so that is also on hold for a while. Trails have been cut across the hillsides with a tractor mower, allowing access to most of the acreage with freedom from worry about deer ticks. The views from the high ground are pretty gorgeous. Bob and Patty are spending most of the warmer months here, shifting south to Summit when the snows come.

One of the best parts of the party for Bob was having four of his five kids together with him. They are, shown L to R, Matt,  Lisa, Katie and Annie. Matt lives in Chatham NJ and works for himself. Lisa is a critical care nurse down in Texas, Katie an opera singer in the NYC area, and Annie is an educator in Connecticut. During the weekend Lisa and Katie were seen zipping around country roads in Katie’s Porsche 911 (which is her “tame” ride; she also has a Harley.) Bob’s oldest daughter, Blake, didn’t make it up from her home in Texas. Her son has just finished his junior year at Darrow.

Description: C:\Users\Ned\Pictures\2012\2012-08-18\Lang's 70th\Gris\DSCF2361.jpgBob invited several friends from Darrow to the celebration. Dave Griswold, John Ho and Ned Groth made it. Carl Braun, who was determined to come up despite a very heavy social calendar for the weekend in NJ, was defeated by a flat tire on the Garden State Parkway late Saturday afternoon, and limped back home using his donut spare. Gris is still working hard to make a living from his career guidance business, trying out new fee models and seeking clients in a variety of ways. Elaine is still working; Dave would like for her to be able to retire, but they’re not there yet. His kids are all doing pretty well. Laura and her husband are in Kentucky, and Jeffrey and Eric are in California.  I didn’t get many details on the lives of the two older kids, but Eric, the youngest, is working as a production assistant (aka “gopher” according to his dad) for a company that shoots commercials (I think), and Gris had a bunch of anecdotes about outrageous star behavior and bizarre things that happen behind the scenes on movie sets.

Description: C:\Users\Ned\Pictures\2012\2012-08-18\Lang's 70th\John\DSCF2368.jpgJohn Ho and  his wife Xiao Yun (John asked her what name she preferred to go by this weekend, and that’s the one she chose) drove up on Saturday. Or more precisely, Xiao Yun drove, because, John admitted, his license has been suspended—too many speeding tickets. He still works as a clinical psychologist specializing in patients who speak Mandarin, but this fall he’ll cut back to quarter-time, making him three-fourths retired. All three of John’s kids and his stepdaughter are doing well: Jonathan is still a NYC firefighter, and remains single.  Lawrence and his wife and kids live in Southeast Asia (Singapore? I could be wroDescription: C:\Users\Ned\Pictures\2012\2012-08-18\Lang's 70th\Xiao Yun\DSCF2385.jpgng), while Christina, her husband and kids are in Hawaii. Xiao Yun’s daughter has just moved from their place in Flushing into an apartment in Manhattan, but I didn’t record what else she is doing. In addition to having children and grandchildren to lure them to cross the Pacific, John and Xiao Yun are planning a trip to China, to see her father, who is terminally ill. As John put it, his wife (shown here getting a foot rub) “…seems to want to put it off ‘til the last minute.” John also seems youthful for his (our) age, which he attributes in part to having a younger wife. He reports he has lost some of his high-range hearing; when his doctor, having tested him, suggested that, given John’s profession, he might want to consider getting a hearing aid, John said he replied, “That’s OK—I don’t listen to my patients.”

I (Ned Groth) was there from early Saturday ‘til late Sunday morning, but since I took all these pictures, I’m not in any of them. (John has posted a couple of shots that Xiao Yun took on his facebook page, if any of you want proof.) I was one of the parties in a fairly amazing “small world” story. Within the past year, Bob lost his brother Rick, who died of malignant melanoma. Rick had a girlfriend, Jan, for a decade or so, and Bob says she was the most important woman in Rick’s life, so he considers her in effect his sister-in-law. Bob has known Jan for 32 years, and of course she was at the party. Jan grew up in Pelham, NY, where I now live. In the course of conversation we asked each other “Where in Pelham?,” and it turns out that the house she grew up in, 75 Clifford Ave., is the very same house that Sharon and I bought from her parents, 19 years ago Description: C:\Users\Ned\Pictures\2012\2012-08-18\Lang's 70th\Other People\DSCF2306.jpg(they had lived here for 35 years). We may well see each other again.

This shot (left) shows a typical slice of the land on Bob’s farm. I took it during the morning bird walk; our volunteer guide, Nat, is next to Bob, in front of Patty, leading the way. We saw or heard (mostly heard) some 38 different bird species on the outing, including the distinctive song of a veery (which brought back my fond memories of Mr. Heyniger’s chapel talk, “Listen to the veery,” a spiritual cousin to Horace’s ode exhorting us to “Carpe diem.”)

Six of us stayed overnight at the Barrows House Bed & Breakfast in Dorset, VT, an 18-mile drive over the mountain. The newly-refurbished inn was quiet, comfortable and very pleasant. Bob came over for breakfast the next morning, and we had a pleasant conversation over French toast and eggs Benedict, then I drove home. I was very happy to have been able to join Bob in his birthday celebration and wish him (and Patty) all the best for the years to come.



Description: F:\NED'S PHOTOS\Darrow '62\Reunions\Other Reunions\Lang's 70th\Bob\DSCF2356.jpg


Home | Class News | 50th Reunion | Past Reunions | Other Gatherings | Newsletter Archive | Links | Memorials | Classmates Search | Classmates Found | Trivia | Queries/Comments | Contacts |