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55th Reunion

Darrow School Class of 1962

June 8-11, 2017


Our 55th reunion featured flawless weather and many hours of pleasant conversations, mostly around the Inn at the Shaker Mill Farm, where the majority of us stayed once again. Fourteen classmates and four wives made it back; two other guys who had planned/hoped to come, and three other wives, encountered last-minute complications and didn't make it.


Continuing the pattern of our last few reunions, we really enjoyed each other's company and spent our time getting better acquainted with each other, in some cases learning far more now than we ever knew before about folks who've been "old friends" for decades. Gib Manchester opined after our 50th that we've also become nicer people as we got older. Seems right to me, much less bullshit, more focusing on what's important, strong affirmation that friendship trumps (sic) any political differences.


There was a fair amount of what Peter Golden called "alter kocker" stories, kvetching about these or those aching joints or artificial body parts or operations….comes with the territory. But the consensus was, while we admit we feel "older," we don't feel "old" yet.  As Paul Simon put it, "…I'm older than I once was, younger than I'll be." In the same verse (in "The Boxer," not in the version on the album but performed in concerts) he (and Art) sang "….after changes, we are more or less the same." Amen.


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The school will post its "official" class photo; this is a bootleg version. If you need a caption, L-R, Denny Hopper, Bob Lang, John Ho, Gib Manchester, Tom Bird, Peter Deri, Carl Sharpe, Bill Anthony, yours truly (they made me sit in front, at least they didn't pour the beer on me), Jay Tanner, Joe Coffee, Anson Perina. Huib Soutendijk was there Friday PM and Saturday morning, but had to get back to NYC (for his  brother's 80th birthday) and missed the group photo; Peter Golden was around but somehow was not in this picture (which was taken by Chip Detwiller). Carl Braun and Terry Duvall had hoped to come up Saturday but found things to do at home that are more fun than driving for 4 hours and didn't make it. Only the Class of '67, which had an impressive 50th (15 people) had a larger turnout than we did.


Description: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\55th Reunion Pix\Inn 3.JPGThe Inn, which went through a rough patch, seems largely recovered and poised for success. Ingram had just gotten too old to keep up with needed work; the roof leaked, mildew was everywhere, as one review a few years ago put it, the place smelled. Enter Frank and Michael, who bought the place from Ingram a couple years ago. They've rehabbed and refurnished the guest rooms, one at a time; about 90% of that is finished now. They have rearranged and added new seating to common areas on the first floor, creating several welcoming spaces to sit and converse, eat or (if you were so inclined) work. The dining room in the basement has been redone and the outside area along the stream has been upgraded into a patio restaurant. The setting is quiet and serene as usual. The outside sitting areas have been expanded and there's a vegetable garden that will eventually be the "farm" in the farm-to-table food strategy. While Frank seems to have taken off in pursuit of other dreams for now, Michael has hired a staff of mostly young folks who are earning shares in the company in lieu of salaries. Everyone (right down to Katie, the hotel dog) was sweet and helpful. Only the intrusion of a truly ugly duplex built on a bulldozed lot next door (and what can you do about that?) contributed an off note. We wish Michael and his crew success and hope they will soon be filling up every weekend.



Here is an update from and news about each of the guys and wives who made it back. The photos were taken either by me or by Jay Tanner, credited where it applies.


As I was settling in at the Inn on Thursday, Bob and Anson rolled up. Anson flew in to Newark, Bob picked him up.  Bob brought two cases of wine (one red, one white) from his brother'swinery, whichwe put to good use. The photo of Bob is one I took at our class dinner at Mario's Friday; Jay took this one of Anson on Sunday. We both like the noir-ish look of the B&W format and Ithink itmakeshimlook even younger than he does in real life, which is pretty amazing to begin with. Anson jokes that the hair (still brown) camouflages the empty space underneath. The two of themwere headed up toBob's farm on Sunday (where Pat was holding the fort and Anson was going to help with chores to get the B&B ready for the summer), but we persuaded them to stay around for brunch at Deri/Tanner/Golden's in Lenox. Anson has traveled around a lot (for free) as Bev's spouse while she gallivants around the country teaching seminars for fellow realtors. They recently (May 28) celebrated 23 years of marriage. Anson actually is a prettyconservative guy (in some ways) but he likes to put on "right-wing" airs now and then just to provoke interesting conversations. We had lots of those, all amicable in the end. During the course of it some of us were reminded that Anson may be the guy we were most likely to underestimate intellectually back in the days. He started or took part in many very interesting discussions (a few of which I think were over my head!) Bob seemed a bit more subdued than I'm used to. He lost his second wife (Pat) a few months ago, to lung cancer, which he said is every bit as awful a way to die as those PSAs tell you it is. Much of his life goes on as usual—the kids and grandkids are good, he and his current Pat are doing well, the farm is a main focus. Maybe the lower volume I detected on our rowdiness is just a sign of age, or could we be mellowing out?  


Description: C:\Users\Ned\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Joe by Jay 2.jpgDescription: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\Laurie.JPGJoe (shot by Jay) and Laurie drove up on Thursday from their home in Pennsylvania. Both seem healthy, fit and happy. Joe, believe it or not, still plays on three softball teams, traveling around to tournaments. Part of that longevity is attributable to surgeries he's had on both knees; laparoscopic on one, stem cell implants on the other. He says the latter seems to have had some detectable beneficial effects.  Laurie told me they've been in their new home for 5 years now (!!). They love being near Jeff and Chris, Jordyn and Aidan; she misses the circle of friends they left behind in Virginia but has made new ones ("When you live on a lake, you get to know the other folks around the lake pretty well.") Their major transition this past year was the death of Joe's mother (at 94, I think). Life seems steady and good for David, Stacey, Jack and Nick down in Florida, and Bevin, still in Asheville. Both Joe and Laurie are now fully retired. Much to Joe's frustration, the partner he brought in to run his company (which consults on executive training issues with law enforcement agencies) after he left has taken it in the wrong direction (as Joe sees it, anyhow) but that's out of his control. Laurie had some salient comments in our discussions about learning disabilities (see below) and the state of education today, based on her decades of work with the school system in Fairfax County. Sunday morning, they went to mass at the Catholic church in New Lebanon, the same one Joe attended when he was at Darrow, before coming over to brunch.



Denny and Joan were also around Thursday. This photo of Denny is Jay's; neither of us got a good one of Joan (sorry) but we assure you she was there. The Hoppers still have a big (bigger than they need or want) house in West Hartford, but last year they bought a lightly used RV, and plan to spend much of their Description: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\55th Reunion Pix\Denny by Jay.jpgtime traveling around the country. This thing (RV) is humongous—14 tons, 40 feet long. During reunions it was parked on the campus and Denny gave us a tour. It's the size of a bus, and when it's parked, compartments slide hydraulically out of both sides to expand the floor space. The interior reminds me of a high-end hotel suite, with an almost nautical emphasis on efficient use of space. Their mobile "castle!" Denny has been heavily involved with Darrow in recent years. He and Joan sponsored a student, Jason, from the inner city of Hartford. Jason was in a "covenant school" there—an elementary/middle school that prepares disadvantaged kids to attend prep school, improving their chances to go to college. The "covenant" means the kid swears to work his or her ass off the whole way; the family swears to do everything they can to support their child's success; and someone with the means to do so (in this case our Hoppers) agrees to sponsor the child, i.e., pay his tuition through prep school.  Jason spent four years at Darrow, graduated just this month, was accepted at all 11 colleges he applied to, and is headed for Wittenberg University in Ohio in the fall. Denny and Joan are quite proud of him! They came down to the inn (in their car, not the RV!) Thursday and joined us for dinner at the Backwater, the restaurant on Queechy Lake (which was very nice, BTW). After that evening of lively conversation, our time with Denny and Joan was somewhat limited. They were staying in the RV on campus and Denny spent much of the weekend chatting with the Trustees, who had their own meeting going on. I would not be surprised if he becomes the (4th?) member of our class to serve on the board someday soon. On Friday afternoon, Joe, Laurie and I drove over to Chatham for lunch and some shop-browsing, and Denny and Joan came over and joined us. Denny discovered that the clothing store where his parents used to buy him shoes (he grew up in nearby Hudson), Brown's, is still there, although the "fluoroscope" machine that shoe stores used to have, which let you see an x-ray of your feet, is long gone. I'm afraid I did not use the time we did spend together very well to gather more details on Denny and Joan's family, but recall that Denny mentioned that their grandson Jason (who was a young teen when I last saw him in Bronxville) finished high school and is soon (like their Darrow Jason) off to college, in his case I believe Dartmouth, giving the grandparents more reasons to be proud.  


Friday came around and more folks began arriving at the Inn. Huib came up for the evening, even though he had to get back to NYC on Saturday. His and Bart's older brother, Dirk, turned 80 that weekend and they werehaving a big party for him at the Century Club in Manhattan. We've had recent news from Huib & Kathy (see Class News page), which I won't repeat here, but we caught up on a few things. Let's keep track of how often the word "knees" comes up in this report. Huib had both of his replaced about a decade ago. Lately one has been hurting, and the pain has lasted several months, past the point where a strained ligament should have healed, so his orthopedist is starting to think the artificial joint may be wearing down. As I was finalizing this report, I caught up with Huib. The medics finally figured out that he had an infection in the knee. A bug that is normally present in our bodies, not a very virulent one, but when it colonizes and flourishes in the tissues around an implant it can cause serious problems. So, he had surgery to deal with it in late July. Described it as "surprisingly similar to a knee-replacement operation!" They had to open up the knee, clean it out, and while they were at it, repair some damage to his kneecap he had sustained at one point. He was home from the hospital, taking antibiotics and recovering nicely when we spoke.

During the reunion, Huib played a key role in sorting out the story of Reverend Roberts, which I'll come back to at the end, along with several other interesting topics that we entertained ourselves with during our bull sessions at the Inn. On other topics, asked about Bart, Huib replied that he's still down in Houston, making a living as a "starving artist." Bart is a sculptor and (at least) one of his pieces was donated to the school and is on display, in the Dairy Barn. I asked Huib if he and Kathy have any grandkids yet, and the answer is nope. Steve and his wife are focused on their careers, and Jeff isn't married. Huib also had news from Llew Haden. Llew had not planned to come to our reunion but expected to be in Cambridge that weekend, where Erin's daughter Averil was being awarded a graduate degree from MIT. Both Huib and I had hoped to see Llew (in Cambridge or NYC) at either end of that trip. But it was not to be. Early last week Llew started having chest pains. Into the hospital he went, for test after test. The possibility they focused most intently on was that a stent in one of his cardiac arteries might have come loose. That turned out not to be it. Llew aced all the tests and was sent home, but they have no idea what happened or whether it might happen again. Happy ending, but frustrating. By late July, Llew was out in Colorado, where he got together with Anson in Steamboat Springs and hiked up and down mountains as if to show Huib, "Hey, look who has two good knees!"


Description: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\55th Reunion Pix\Carl in Bushes.JPGDescription: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\55th Reunion Pix\Thank God for these magazines.JPGCarl and Patricia also arrived on Friday. Since Carl is our "spiciest" classmate, livening discussions with his inexhaustible wit, it is appropriate that he was spotted lurking in the bushes. Pat, salt to his pepper, added her own flavors to some of our evening discussions but also sometimes found better things to do. (Thankfully, the inn is now well stocked with great reading  matter!) Carl of course does yeoman's labor keeping our class web site up to date, although his first love, and principal time eater, is his poetry web site. Although both retired from "official" jobs, they stay busy, Carl withhis poetry and Pat with her art. She still paints, and teaches private lessons. They had to get home on Sunday so she could see a couple of students, thus they missed the brunch in Lenox. As reported on the web site, Carl and I had lunch with Frank Phillips last month, and Frank sends his regards to everyone, but despite our best efforts, he seems disinclined to come to a reunion. We'll keep inviting him to the 60th! Meanwhile,though, anyone who expects to be in Boston should look Frank up. He would love to see all of us, one-on-one, and his office in the State House is centrally located.



Description: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\John 1.JPGJohn also arrived Friday. Xiao-Yun had planned to come too, but only a few days earlier they got a call from her daughter, currently in graduate school in England, saying she was coming home this weekend and needed to be picked up at the airport. (John remarked about "kids these days"—bringing up a trans-Atlantic trip only at the last moment.) That pick-up duty fell to Xiao-Yun, and since she is also John's "designated driver" (he no longer drives, his night vision isn't great any more), renting a car wasn't an option, so John took a Greyhound to Pittsfield and I drove over to pick him up. Huib had offered to give him a lift from Bronxville if he wanted to come out and ride up together, but John demurred, having already bought his bus ticket. The ride up was such a pain—traffic, stopped everywhere, took five and a half hours—that John reconsidered that choice and on Sunday was happy to ride back to NYC with Peter and Jay. Picking him up in Pittsfield was easy—Greyhound dropped him off unceremoniously at the curb outside the bus terminal. We went straight back to the campus, to the reception for "old guard" alumni, with the head of school in Whitaker House. After that gathering, which featured a few inspiring words from Simon (who is 40 now, folks, let that sink in), our class repaired to Mario's, for a just-us, off-campus repast, and where I got this picture of John and Huib. Over the weekend we had a lot of discussion about how brains are wired differently, what some are now calling "neuro-diversity," which some years ago was labeled "different learning styles," and (back in our day) was hardly understood at all. We also had a couple of very interesting conversations about bullying, prejudice, and manifestations of both during our time on campus (see later section.) John had plenty to say on both topics, and at dinner Saturday he and Peter Deri and I had a nice chat about the current practice of psychiatry/psychology (including "What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? About $10 an hour." [sorry]) Both John and Peter are trained as scientists and believe in evidence-based treatments. "Is there any other kind?," I asked naively. Oh yes, was the answer, oh yes. More on this when Peter's turn comes up.


Tom doesn't use email (he is sure the government can get into his computer via the internet and doesn't want the NSA snooping in his private business); so he isn't "in the loop" as we plan reunions, and we weren't sure he'dbe there. On the other hand, he almost always is, and he likes to stay on campus, so he didn't need a room at the inn. Not surprisingly, we found him at the reception, and invited him to join us at Mario's,which he did. Jay got this shot the next day after the alumni meeting in the chapel. On Friday we learned that Tom is concerned that Senator Kennedy and one other famous person (I disremember who), who both died of brain cancer, were heavy cell-phone users. I advised Tom that a couple of anecdotes are not real data, the issue is still largely unresolved, and beware of drawing conclusions from associations—most mass murderers in recent years had eaten at McDonald's within the prior few weeks, for instance. Perhaps fortunately, we didn't get into Tom's views about vaccines or who was really behind the 9/11 attacks. Several people observed that Tom can go on at length about topics he cares passionately about, and there are quite a few of those. Tom did mention that his woman friend (I'm sorry but I'm disremembering again, can't pull up a name, but she has come to reunions) is still teaching (US History, I'm pretty sure about that) at Hartwick, and they have been together a couple of decades now. When we left the restaurant there was an old, beautifully restored blue VW Bug parked out front, with the vanity plate "T Aguila," which is a handle Tom has used when he was working in Central America. While technically an eagle is a bird; this car was no T-Bird, but to all appearances it was a genuine, restored bug from the '60s, not one of those retro-bugs they put out in the '90s. John has an apartment in Riverdale (where his father lived) "right next door to Tom," as he puts it but says he never sees Tom around there; however, there is an old VW on the property, not this one, so maybe restoring them is a hobby of Tom's.



Description: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\Gib by Ned 3.JPGGib had planned to arrive Friday, and when we were getting organized to go to Mario's I called him to check on his progress. He had not so good news. He'd left Ohio that morning but encountered an awful accident on I-80, three hours sitting trapped with no one moving an inch. Then in mid-Pennsylvania his car had started acting up, so he had to get off at State College to find an Audi dealer to fix it. When I spoke to him around 5:30 he was just returning to the interstate and knew he wouldn't make it that night, so we said we'd see him in the morning. And we did—he arrived during the meeting in the chapel and joined us before lunch. He and Margeau are still trying to "simplify" their lives; the goal is clear, the execution not so easy. They have three homes, the primary one in Ohio (where most of their kids and grandkids still are close by), the winter place in Florida and summer place on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Logically, the place in Maine is the one they need least—but they remain attached to it (they built it themselves) and have not put it on the market yet. Gib "retired" (i.e., parted from, not entirely is own idea, like several of us) his corporate counsel position a decade or so ago, and has done some private lawyering, mostly in trusts and estates, but is now pretty much done with that too. (Several hands shot up with questions about setting up trusts—which Gib answered cheerfully with a caveat that it was true in Ohio, but find locally competent counsel elsewhere!) He was headed up to Maine to join Margeau and left early Sunday morning, so I barely got a chance to chat with him. He did share with me a story about a bullying incident that he witnessed our senior year, and I'll use that in the essay I'm going to write on that topic. And we agreed to focus on persuading R.J. to come to the 60th. I asked after Liz, his college sweetheart and mother of their four kids, whom many of us met and liked instantly at our 20th. Gib says she is still living in Ohio, as are several of their kids and grandkids; she is happy and healthy, has never remarried.


Description: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\55th Reunion Pix\Bill by Jay.jpgBill and Joan drove up Saturday and arrived early; they were on campus by the time we got up there from the Inn. This photo of Jay's is the best of several good ones we each got; we agree Bill makes a great subject, his craggy face filled with character. Unfortunately neither of us got a useable one of Joan; we may have a few she'd pay us not to publish. Both of them are still actively involved with the Friends of Outer Island (Bill is or was the president of the Friends, a couple of years ago), which supports Outer Island Nature Reserve, part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, off the coast of Branford, CT. Bill designed and built the pavilion there and remodeled an existing cottage to house a marine biology lab. There's a video about the reserve here which shows the pavilion being built (and if you look closely you'll spot Bill, vintage 2001, in one of the group shots). Bill has not stopped working; he still designs and builds, mostly homes, for occasional clients. During one of our bull sessions at the Inn, Bill discussed his interest in historic homes in their part of NW Connecticut, and he told us about the cottages—actual cottages, not like the "cottages" of Newport—that once served as retreats from NYC for many celebrities. Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller lived there in a tiny house, for instance, as did Walter Matthau and (I think) Marlon Brando. Bill said these houses are little more than shacks, in some cases, sit right on the street, no yards, and back in the day their famous inhabitants used to walk into town to shop and pick up the mail, just like regular people. Nowadays there are fewer boldface names around. But Bill and Joan mentioned that one of their neighbors is a former editor of Consumer Reports, whom I knew well and worked with for about 25 years. Small world. I didn't catch up with Joan or Bill on news of their family, but Bill did add some vivid memories to my bullying project (see below).


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Our final threesome arrived on Saturday, Jay, Peter and Peter came over from Lenox; Peter G drove out from Natick the night before and stayed there. Jay got this photo after the meeting in the chapel; I got no good ones of Jay, but he's in the group shots above and below. As has been his wont, Jay seemed ambivalent about coming for a while, decided to come (with a nudge from Peter), and was very glad he did. We had some good talks this time. He says he is feeling freer at this point to be and do things he enjoys than at any time in his life. Focusing on his music a lot. He spent some time in the (newly renovated, beautiful) music performance space in the Dairy Barn, playing his guitar for a small audience of classmates, and had incisive comments to contribute to our discussion of bullying (see below).




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Peter D hasn't retired yet. Though he's cut back a bit, he still works much of the time, with about half his patients children and half adults. He had been looking forward to chatting with Sharon (who has written several books about brain science), was disappointed when a toothache made her cancel out. One of Sharon's books was co-authored with a scientist named Richie Davidson. Peter is familiar with his (RD's) work and says he believes he's right, especially about left-brain/right-brain contributions to personality. Peter had the temerity to email RD and tell him that, got a very polite non-committal reply; we traded Richie stories. At dinner on Saturday I sat with Peter and John Ho, and they both riffed on the use of science in psychotherapy. Nutshell version, there is very little of what is generally called evidence-based medicine (to which our two class shrinks both adhere) in mental health; even now, science is often subsumed by doctrinaire squabbles. Peter observed that while the battle between, say, the Freudians and the CBT'ers has abated a bit, there is still more than enough similar stuff going around. John observed that internecine battles are often the bitterest. Although John is retired from all that now, he affirmed Peter's view. Later on, reflecting on our weekend, Peter criticized himself for having previously underestimated some of our classmates, because he hadn't known them well enough to appreciate their depths. That's true enough, but let's not judge ourselves too harshly. We live & learn, part of why reunions are so much fun.


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Jay got this photo of Peter G and likes it a lot. That's Wickersham in the background, of course, and one of the windows is the room where Jay, Peter D, Pete Loomis and Peter G (the original three-Pete?) were supposed to live junior year, but Peter G didn't come back. "The year that wasn't; bittersweet," Jay says. In one of several long conversations, Peter said Darrow had told him he'd have to repeat his sophomore year; it would have been his third try at 10th grade, so he took a pass. Thinking back to that time, Peter called his early life a "train wreck" and sounded amazed that he had survived adolescence. He kept coming back to the train wreck metaphor. Little did we (most of us) know at the time what was going on, but he described growing up in a dysfunctional single-parent household and was acting out (he says) in many destructive ways. Over a rather lazy hour or so of sharing memories at lunch, I garnered a list of things Peter has survived that could have killed him—he catalogued an array of metal and synthetic body parts (much of both legs and at least one arm); told of dealing with armed gang members when he was teaching in an inner-city school; described being smashed by a car when he was riding his bike; mentioned he'd had surgery for a melanoma on his back. To hear him tell it he should not be alive, but "after 45 years, Tina has finally got me settled down." One of these years we will have to meet Tina. Peter exemplifies both the myriad ways our lives might go off the rails and the dogged resilience that some of us possess. He had a vivid (and iconoclastic) memory of Larry Walsh (see bullying discussion, later). In terms of life back home, Pete still writes, but has had to scramble a bit to find new publishers. He and Tina remain in Natick and we are close enough to get together now and then socially,which we plan to do.


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I guess I should put something in here about myself, especially since I have this nice shot taken by Jay to go with it. Sharon & I have been in Boston 2 years now, still enjoying it. Living right in the city (Back Bay), walking everywhere. Have no car, so I had to rent one to drive out to the reunion. Sharon's job is still entertaining, she is doing good stories, the fact that (as everywhere, always) her editors drive her crazy has not yet made life impossible. She finished another book this spring (Can't Just Stop), currently has weekends free. I have both Darrow and PU friends here in Boston (more than I had in NY actually) so I have a nice social life, and I still make anuisance of myself on food safety issues. Our kids are both in NY now. Dan moved there from SF last year, he and Colleen live in the East Village, will be there another year at least while she finishes a residency (she has a PhD in clinical psych, works with veterans with PTSD, the world needs more Colleens). Dan crunches data for Spotify, is doing well professionally. Sarah lives in our house in Pelham, rents out part of it, works at a residence for developmentally disabled adults in Mt. Vernon, which suits her well and she's good at it. We get down there to visit regularly.


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Beyond catching up with each other, many elements of this reunion were worth recording. On Saturday, just before dinner, 10 of us (Huib had had to leave by then, a couple others were nowhere to be found) walked out the lane to the baseball field, where Kip's ashes were scattered, to pay our respects and commune with his spirit. It was a gorgeous late afternoon, the view was as peaceful and lovely as always. Peter G opined that "Someone should say a few words," we said please do, so he did (I think he's speaking in this picture, that's Peter in the green shirt). He made heartfelt comments about how much we missed Kip and loved him, very moving. Deri said "If you only believed in God, you'd have been a rabbi." A few others made brief remarks, and we stood around feeling the spirits of the place for a while. Peter G had  said earlier in the day that he could sense spirituality around us; Shakers, Native Americans, those who inhabited this space before us. Deri was right, he'd probably have made a dynamite rabbi. I shared several of the pictures from this event with Charlotte, who was very glad to have them.


Description: C:\Users\Ned\Desktop\Carl & John.JPGWe spent a lot of time hanging out at the Inn, bullshitting. Well, not exactly. Sharing a lot of truths, including some we had not talked about much before. At one point a couple of people had said they suffered from dyslexia or a similar learning disability when they came to Darrow. Huib raised his hand and said "how many of us?" and more than half the guys' hands went up. A couple of the guys about whom "I never knew that before!" discussed their learning problems back then, which they have so clearly surmounted.  


We re-massaged yet again one of the most memorable stories of our senior year, fleshing out the account of how the chaplain, Reverend Roberts, got nailed as a pedophile and fired. I have heard several versions of the tale, and they needed to be reconciled. One classmate has said that the chaplain made an obvious, clumsy, unsuccessful pass at him, which really creeped him out, and that he told Mr. Joline about it; that guy thought his report may have led to the chaplain's being fired. Another classmate, who lived in Neale (where Roberts was a house master), had told me he knew of two members of our class who were definitely assaulted by Roberts, and that he had told one of the victims, who was deeply upset by the experience and had shared his distress, that he really had to go tell Mr. Joline, but could not swear that his friend had done so. In the midst of this discussion, Huib said, with authority, "I was there, I can tell you exactly what happened." One night a classmate came to Huib (in his capacity as president of the student body), asked to speak with him privately, and and told him, in extremely graphic detail, about a sexual encounter that, as he told it, had taken place between between Rev. Roberts and one of his roommates. Huib had no doubt that an assault had occurred—the details seemed too vivid to be made up—and he consulted with Llew (his roommate) about what to do. They agreed Huib had to go tell Mr. Joline, which he did that very night. When I asked whether John seemed surprised (since he might have been warned about Roberts earlier by our other classmate), Huib said he couldn't tell about that, but that John was really pissed, so angry he snapped a pencil in two. And Roberts was gone the next morning. As Huib recalls, Mr. Joline took the reverend's place in chapel that day, explained that we no longer had a chaplain, and read a resignation letter from Roberts that said he had concluded that a boy's boarding school was not a good place for him, and he was withdrawing to a more monastic, contemplative life. So, the facts support John's reputation for doing the right thing, swiftly, decisively.  My own recollection is that I was not surprised by Mr. Joline's announcement.  I remember a joke that was going around the student body before those events, that a certain junior who played the organ (and practiced on the instrument in the chapel) was "chased around the chapel by the chaplain, who finally caught him by the organ." Ha hah. That suggests that it was not exactly a secret that Roberts was a pedophile, only a month or so into the school year. But I remember being pleasantly surprised when justice was (swiftly) done. And as we all looked back on these events, given the sordid histories being unearthed from other schools nowadays about pedophile teachers who got away with it for years (which BTW, not a one of us has been shocked to read about), we all felt proud of the way John had handled it. The perv was thrown out on his ass, sent away in disgrace, not just passed on to some other school at the end of the year with a bland recommendation. Hooray, this time, for us.


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I myself was quite interested in the topic of bullying, a phenomenon with resonance today and one I am planning to write about, when I complete my research (soon). I am particularly interested in the anti-Semitic form that was fairly virulent at Darrow in our years, and several people shared sharp memories of remarkable incidents they witnessed. I'll save most of them for my essay, but one that runs counter to type came from Peter G. We were talking about Larry Walsh, whom we who knew him recalled as the leader of the Nazi cadre on campus, and several of us had seen him viciously hectoring Jewish kids. Peter said Larry came up to him one day and said something like, "I probably shouldn't even be talking to you [i.e., 'cause you're a Jew], but I think you should read this." And handed him a copy of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," the poem that launched the Beat Generation. So add to our complex portrait of Larry the fact that he not only was reading a gay Jewish poet but appreciated the literary import of the work, recognized in Peter someone who would perhaps appreciate it equally, and momentarily, at least, put scholarship above prejudice.


Description: F:\NED'S PHOTOS\Darrow '62\Yearbook Pix\2012-05-18 11h32\tanner.jpgJay also spoke eloquently about bullying, agreeing with others that it was a fact of life in boarding schools at the time, maybe a useful gantlet that adolescents had to go through, "but not discussed in the admissions catalog!" Jay described himself as a skinny, nerdy Jewish kid with unmanageable hair (Editor's note: lacking a good shot of Jay from the reunion, I'll use his yearbook photo, in which he looks pretty well-coifed to me.) Jay grew up in a racially mixed town (Montclair),  was bullied a lot and developed defensive skills, in his case, using his wit to needle adversaries. As he worked out his place in the Darrow pecking order he found that masters made the easiest targets, and he recalls himself as having been unfairly hard on two in particular, John Spencer and Des McCracken. (He had lots of company picking on John, though Des was generally treated more kindly.) Several of Jay's other observations will be in the essay.


As we moved from Thursday through Saturday, our nights at the Inn got shorter, the bull sessions winding down at about 1 AM, midnight and then 10:30. We are showing, if not age, a certain declining capacity for repeated wining, dining and sleep deprivation. By Sunday morning, it was time for us to repair to Lenox, for what has become a reunion tradition, brunch hosted at Peter D and Jay's house. This year Peter G was a co-host and John had agreed to help set up and clean up in return for a ride back to NYC. A few folks had had to depart early—Carl and Pat had to get back to her students, Gib was en route to Maine, Huib had gone back to NYC the night before; and the Hoppers and Tom never showed up. Those who made it were treated to a wondrous spread of Jewish deli food (bagels, lox, whitefish, more) from an [Italian? go figure] deli in Lenox. We ate and schmoozed some more and gradually accepted that our current lustrum was coming to its inevitable conclusion. Before we all headed off our separate ways, Jay gathered us out in the driveway for this final photo of nine apparently very happy guys (taken by Joan Anthony—thanks!)



Thus came to an end our 55th, leaving us with a couple of years before we start planning for our 60th. I think a theme for the next one will be getting guys who couldn't be there this time—including those who have never come back yet—to attend. When the time comes I will need to enlist your help, but if you are so inclined, of course, you could start working on it now.


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