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10th Reunion Chatter
Ten years have given members of the Class of ’96 time to explore options, settle down, have children, start careers, and nearly complete long Ph.D. programs.
Tess Napili and Ben Polacco were back at Reed (they met during freshman year) from San Francisco with a toddler in tow. Jacobi seemed to be enjoying himself, flitting between carnival games and swing sets. But when asked if he liked Reed, he offered a noncommittal “Ummmm.”
Adam Warner admitted to having been somewhat out of touch since Reed, as he followed a roundabout path—roundabout the world, that is. His story includes trying to get to the Middle East overland through the Balkans, a broken-down car, and hitchhiking through Hungary. He’s spent the last six years in Budapest translating financial news, and heads to London in the fall to study linguistics (class reunion chair Molly Todd said the only thing that surprised her was how long he’d already stayed in one place). Warner studied English at Reed—“I didn’t even know there was Phi Beta Kappa here until graduation, when I learned the secret handshake”—and is now Reed’s sole alumni recruiter in Hungary. It’s not an easy sell, he reports, because most Hungarians can buy a house there for the cost of one year’s tuition.
As the clock struck midnight on Saturday, Warner, Todd, Amy Enell and Chris (Tiffer) Tarnstrom ’95 were on the patio outside Gray Campus Center in a hot and heavy poker game with fellow alumni. The foursome—who dubbed themselves the “Group Sex” team—experimented with a novel organizational structure in which cards were played strictly by consensus. Betting was slow, ethical dilemmas were numerous, and the chips (the red ones were worth a quarter) piled up. After winning with a queen-high straight, one of the team quipped: “Communism may be inefficient, but it feels better.”
When Todd and Laura Stokes headed home from Reunions, it might not have felt like they were leaving Reed-life-of-the-mind behind. Todd is near completion of a doctorate in Latin American history at the University of Wisconsin (she did a thesis on Mexican history at Reed). Stokes finished her Ph.D. in early modern European history at the University of Virginia, and still works on witchcraft, the topic that has held her in thrall since Reed (where her thesis was Demons and Social Deviants: A Study of the Changing Social Treatment of Witches and Madmen in 16th–17th Century France).
In the “Least Likely to Be Doing What He’s Doing” department was Nic Warmenhoven, who everyone thought would go into politics. Instead, he’s teaching at a small alternative high school in Seattle. He’s reported to be pleasantly surprised by the work, and now thinks there are lots of ways to be political without doing party politics. Greg “Don’t Call Me Stripey” Lam started making board games after college, and now has six available (www.pair-of-dice.com). Apparently the nickname refers to something he wore around campus once upon a time. It had stripes.