The Class of '73
15 January 1996
Dear fellow members of the class of '73, I'm MAGGIE
TOMBACH Sherman, and I'm your new class correspondent. I'm not quite
sure how it happened, but here it is. I guess I started toying with the
idea in a moment of nostalgic weakness after I missed the 20th reunion a
few years ago and, after getting reports from a few of you, thought it might
be a fun way to ease back into something like a job. Somehow, when Claire
actually asked last month, I wasn't thinking quickly enough to say no. Years
of having my resistance broken down by a very persistent only child (and,
recently, the even more relentless PTA chairpeople into whose traps my devotion
to the aforementioned child has led me) has me out of practice. My father,
a reluctant sergeant half a century ago, had always impressed upon me that
one ought never to volunteer. These days I don't believe he meant it anymore
than the local police officer can possibly have meant it when he told my
son's fifth grade class that the best way to avoid substence abuse is never
to take a drink. Oh, I understand that most adults figure it's better (anyway,
easier) to train a kid to an extreme and then let the lesson of moderation
be learned slowly through the years than it is to instruct in the ways of
making choices and exercising reasonable restraint. I am not so sure which
is the way to go, myself. I just know that now I'm saddled with the responsibility
of begging and entreating you all to participate in this new-fangled, online
version of our alumnae/I magazine.
My job description is pretty loose, but I figure I'm supposed to fill this
electronic column with news, information and insights about how we are all
doing twenty-plus years later. My hope is that lots of you have reached
a point from which you can look back and come up with a couple of dozen
words to share with the rest of us. Look, I'd never even filled out one
of those pre-addressed postcards with requests for vital statistics and
now I'm going to have to upload enough bytes of stuff to fill this thing
all by myself if you don't help out. Why? Why not just let them run an empty
box? Too easy. Let's face it, our class notes are a constant... one of life's
small pleasures... an odd sort of soap opera starring us. And now we don't
even have to wait for the mailman to bring it!
Even though I never wrote in, I've always checked out our class notes. There
are some of you of whom, to tell the truth, I have absolutely no recollection
from when we were in school, but with whom I have become acquainted through
the years thanks to your regular contributions to this column. Please continue,
it's been nice getting to know you. And to the rest of you-- those who've
never written in-- do it. Why not?
We're the stuff of modern culture. It's no fluke that we're blazing trails
by conducting our interaction on the Internet now-- we're a vanguard kinda
group. We were the class of '69 in high school. Assuming I'm not the only
one who watches too much television, you all must know just how seminal
that alone makes us. There was a war fought the decade before we were even
born which shaped our parents' and our world which we can remember as clearly
as every other black-and-white movie we watched on the rainy afternoons
of childhood when there were only a few channels from which to choose. Perhaps
less clearly, we remember that other war as... as what? As a shared crisis,
if nothing else.
We are infinitely varied in our early middle-age, but, like the far-flung
members of an extended, dysfunctional family, we cannot ignore the things
we shared because they were so very important to us: a time, a place, an
education-- a past. How could we not be riveted by accounts, be they superficial
or soul-baring, cheering or heart-rending, from long-lost comrades? As survivors
from both sides flocked to Omaha Beach and embraced, old enmities faded,
so we seek out each other. It is confirmation of our youth, of our dreams
(fulfilled or not), of all the years since. Bottom line for me-- it's nice
to know I haven't survived alone.
So share your stories with old friends-- it's so easy now that you don't
even have to lick a stamp. And don't worry, you aren't the only one who
has mellowed; I suspect we all have learned enough not to be too quick to
judge, lest we be judged ourselves.
Another time I'll tell you what's new and old with me, right now I've got
a question for you all, something that might induce you to write. Does anyone
else have difficulty believing that Bill and Hillary are, for all intents
and purposes, our age? Okay, there's a whole group of you who knew them
at law school or thereafter, so I guess you can grapple with this. But what
about the rest of you? Just plain folks, like me? Seriously, have you ever
known anyone our age who seemed Presidential? As capable as FDR? As slick
as Jack? As vile as Nixon? And if you knew someone like that, would she
or he actually consider the Presidency as a goal? Not to mention the First
Spousedom. And this guy has aspired to this since he... since we were teenagers.
What would we have thought of such a geek?! If you'd met someone who uttered
such an ambition, would you have given him your real phone number? If you
married the guy and his/your dream came true, would you let them dress you
up like a grown up? A Republican grown-up, at that?! After you'd won the
election! Why bother? C'mon, Hillary, somewhere in the back of your closet
I know you've still got those jeans and the baseball cap. Just some thoughts.
Now, here's some actual news from/of your classmates thanks to loyal correspondent
PAULA SHAEFFER Lederle in Richmond:
"The house is now two stories-- we added a master bedroom, beautiful
bathroom and a study. Between riding herd on the workmen and organizing
the Junior League's annual benefit (theme is Rodeo), the days are filled.
Thank goodness Duncan's a licensed driver and can handle carpooling rounds
for his younger brother. Speaking of Evan, he's just qualified for State
diving in the Under-14 class. My hair is lank from all the hours poolside.
JACKIE NICHOLS Sanders and hers are
all fine, seemingly as happy as they've ever been now that they're settled
in Newton. Peter, in fact, is downright delightful to be with. DANIELLE
STERN Caesario and her clan visited here a couple of months ago (en
route to sailing in the Caribbean) and they, also, are all thriving.
MARLA FRENCH, working in New York, seems to be doing well, too. I hope
I've covered all the important stuff. If not, I'll catch up in the next
correspondence which will be, I promise, much more regularly paced. Maggie,
we are planning to pass through your part of the world in a little over
a year-- an Asian adventure to celebrate Duncan's graduation. We'll see
Thanks for the news, Paula, we've room for you all (which is what happens
when you plan a house for more than one child and then run into secondary
infertility). Good luck to Evan at State. Would he or Duncan be considered
a dork if he aspired to government service? It's not an unworthy ambition,
I guess, if faithfully performed once achieved. Oh, speaking of MARLA FRENCH-
she is, indeed, doing well in New York. She's just been nominated for an
Obie Award for her one-woman show, "French Kisses". I've got house
seats booked for next month. We are all so proud, Marla. How 'bout a note?
How 'bout notes from all of you?! I'll update this as soon as I have the
material to do so.
To contribute, send
email to me at... firstname.lastname@example.org ... PLEASE!!