The Class of '73

27 April 1996

An interesting development with the latest batch of mail. A half a dozen notes from classmates and I can't remember a single one of you. Nothing. Were those gray cells destroyed by that which I inhaled? Were you all so boring that not one of you left a mark on my memory? Was I so boring that you had nothing to do with me? Maybe you were all in the library while I was at Friendly's satisfying my chocolate cravings with hot fudge sundaes. Maybe you were all at Yale and Princeton in the company of future spouses, comparing notes on Mummy's and Daddy's plans to open the place in Newport early that spring of '70 while I was wondering whether or not to march on Washington. Maybe you were all marching on Washington while I was handling the phones back on campus, deterred at the last minute from boarding the bus by the instructions to remove dangling earrings for fear of torn lobes in a riot. I checked yearbook pictures; not even a visual memory. This saddened me on two levels. First, judging by your present lives, you would probably have been interesting to know twenty-five years ago. Second, and more frightening, it has raised the ego-deflating possibility that none of you remembers me.

KAREN RICHARDSON is "in charge of the MacMurray Foundation's African operations. I divide my time between New York, Nairobi and... well, wherever our help is most needed. We are used to being flexible, though, since the best laid plans of foundations and charities aft gang awry at the hands of African political forces. I would never have believed how difficult it could be to help people. I could never have known how rewarding it would be, though, to overcome the obstacles and actually pull off a project. I understand that "we" were a hot story for about two minutes during the height (depth) of the Somalian crisis, but that interest faded long ago as the media moved on to newer, sexier catastrophes. Without diminishing the importance of Eastern Europe or the Middle East or South-Central L.A., I ask that you please not forget Africa's needs. If there is nothing but death and corruption here, it won't be long before the chaos they produce spread elsewhere."

MARLENE MILLER "always had a weight problem. Not a glandular problem, not a psychological need to feed the unloved child within. Not an eating disorder (if ever someone's eating mechanism was working, it was mine!), not a food addiction. I went through seventeen years of therapy, programs, diets and aerobics before I finally understood-- I'm just a really good eater. It's not just that I can pack it in, I have a knack for combining flavors so that they are really good. It's not just I who thought so. Everyone said it. I always knew my friends. They were the ones who told me what kind of moods they were in and then asked me to order their meals for them when we were at a restaurant. Suddenly it dawned on me. I had to stop denying what I am, what is truly my gift, my genius. Beatrice Foods pays me big bucks, now, to move from one food division to another. I pick the new flavors; I combine the various foods in what we used to call TV dinners; I devise the ingredients pictured in commercials and print ads so as to most thoroughly convince you to buy our products because they will be the most delicious things you have ever tasted. And they fly me around the world to do this for them, feeding me as much as I want of whatever I want wherever I am. I got my just desserts."

PATRICIA JUHASZ Greenburg: has "spent most of the past twenty years, alone and waiting. I am a cinematographer specializing in nature films. I'm the one who spends months getting a few minutes or few seconds of footage over which a British-accented narrator explains the life-style of the mole or the gibbon or the gecko so that you can ooh and ahh and will be a softer touch for your local Public Television station's fundraising efforts. For years I traveled around the world in search of remarkable pictures, but, since my son, Derek, was born, I have spent more time working in my husband, Bob's, studio-cum-laboratory. We recreate the wild in a controlled environment so that we can film animals doing things we would never be able to catch in their natural habitats. Yes, it's not exactly the real thing, but it's the closest thing to reality you'll ever see. And, thanks to our ingenuity, the scientists are observing behavior they never saw before, either, and, together, we are all coming to a better understanding of the world around us-- before we have completely destroyed it." You can well imagine how sorry I was not to have had anything to do with any of these women when I had the chance, for they all sound fascinating. But I was particularly bewildered by a letter from one VICKI MILES-- she wasn't even listed in the yearbook! Then I actually read the note: "Since I am planning an appearance on "The Phil Donahue Show", it seems foolish to maintain my silence any longer (although I doubt many of you are likely to see me on a tawdry, daytime talkshow). I was, when at college, VINCENT MILLS. I completed my sex change eight years ago and have since lived, at long last, the life I always wanted. College was one of the few places I had felt comfortable until then. It was great being accepted as one of the girls by so many of you twenty years ago. It is great being one of the girls, now."

What can I say? Vince was always a great guy and I had wondered now and again what had happened to him. I'm glad to hear everything worked out for her.

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