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45th Reunion Chatter
The enthusiasm generated among a large group of Class of 1961 classmates during our 40th reunion didn’t translate into similar numbers for this intermediate year. The group that made it for the 45th reunion was diverse, but small enough for some searching and intimate conversations. I caught up with some friends I remember well (Priscilla Watson Laws, Louise Klemperer Sather, Bob Scott, and Fritz von Fleckenstein); it was even more gratifying to find much in common with classmates I hardly knew at Reed (Steve Adams, William Bilderback, Bill Jarrico, Murray Leaf, Arvid Lonseth, Cliff Sather, Armand Schwartz ’60, Lawrence Shaw, and Brad and Rozelle Brown Wright).
We were joined by faculty guests Marshall Cronyn ’40 (an outstanding example of vitality in retirement) and Virginia Oglesby Hancock ’62 at Friday evening’s class dinner. Through Hancock’s good graces, the group had access to Prexy (the music building, where she now teaches): we gathered there to talk at length after dinner on Friday, and again on Saturday afternoon over drinks, local strawberries, and Oregon cheese.
Near the end of dinner, Leaf proposed that after-dinner conversation focus on the decisions and emotions that members of the class have encountered lately, whether they have entered retirement or are still anticipating that change. Several spoke of moving recently from one part of the country (or globe) to a new home in a different place; others remain rooted where they have lived for years. Some spoke of losses and difficult adjustments.
Whether still drawing a salary or mainly involved in volunteer work, classmates remain committed to leading useful and creative lives. (Brad Wright, who has been a member of the alumni board for years and is involved in planning for Reed’s centennial in 2011, made a memorable distinction between a sucker and a volunteer: suckers work alone, while volunteers are connected with others through their work.)
On Saturday afternoon in Prexy the conversation picked up right where it had left off. When we left later to record memories for Reed’s oral history project, some nostalgia came into play as each classmate recalled first impressions of the college and significant events from 1957–61, including the first-ever thesis parade.
On every return to campus, I’m impressed with improvements and with the ways Reed has remained faithful to its history. With other members of the class, I’m eager to gather a larger crowd to celebrate our 50th in 2011.
—Jon Quitslund ’61