Putney Post, Fall 2016

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Fall 2016

Putney Post



I crept up on them—a creeper among the peepers— and stood on the bank like a metronome and peeped myself a couple of times, then listened to their slow diminuendo until just one called out his shrill erotic song as if he were deaf to the sudden calm that had settled across the water, or maybe thought that he and I were so spectacular as singing partners that we could share the pond and was waiting for me to sing again, which I did like the amateur I was—so human and wrong without the others whose high professional voices drowned my drone. Chard DeNiord

Poet Laureate of Vermont Putney faculty member 1989–98








Letter from the Publisher and Editor



Place Architecture Education —Emily Jones

Sun & Pasture: The Past and Future of a Field —Michael Bodel




Staying Grounded —Tom Wessels


Cover Artist Briony Morrow-Cribbs —Alison Frye


Work Camp —Brian D. Cohen

Letter from Head of School + Campus Updates



Alumni News + Notes


In Memoriam

56 P.S.





On the Cover: Illustration from Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, published by Algonquin Books by Briony Morrow-Cribbs Picture Above: Milkweed by Briony Morrow-Cribbs



You may have noticed a new format and feel for the Putney Post. More than just a fresh look, this issue represents a new outlook—one that seeks to connect our actions, stories, and beliefs with broader trends in education and challenges in society. We aim to create a magazine that is meaningful to those unfamiliar with Putney, but still grounded in our past and present work creating an engaged, sustainable community of learners. Each issue of the Post will center on a theme, this issue’s being land. In the first section of each issue you can expect to find articles, essays, and artwork exploring the theme. The second section gestures to the myriad goings-on here on campus with opportunities for further reading (and viewing) on our website. The final section continues our tradition of celebrating our alumni and opening space for them to deepen connections with each other and the school. Putney is rooted in the land. It feeds our minds (inside front cover) and bodies (p. 14), and opens inexhaustible channels for creative exploration (p. 16). The sense of stewardship and partnership with the landscape continues to inform decisions about land use (p. 4) as it did the design and construction of JR dorm (p. 12). One feels the connection between land and self-discovery in the history of our rugged Work Camp (p. 8) and the experience of ecologist Tom Wessels (p. 6). We hope to hear your thoughts on this issue and our new format, and are always grateful for the stories you have to share. Yours, MICHAEL BODEL


Director of Communications and Publisher of The Putney Post

Alumni Relations Manager and Editor of The Putney Post

FALL 2016




“Feel that?” With little effort, Pete guides the electric fence post through lush clover and several inches into the soil. “See how easily it goes in? That tells me not only will the cows graze their fill here tonight, but that even without rain there will be grass here for the next rotation.”

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For video footage of the new array (shown here) and details on Putney’s plan to become a net zero energy campus, visit www.putneyschool.org/netzero

We stand at Lower Farm in a nutrient-rich pasture central to the school’s rotational grazing program. When Farm Manager Pete Stickney finishes staking out the portable electric fencing, it will become temporary home to Putney’s few dozen dairy cows. With good stewardship and barring an overly dry summer, these pastures will sustain the herd through the grazing months and provide enough hay for the cows and horses through winter. Most years Putney doesn’t buy hay. This year, however, the drought is inevitably leading to hay shortages across the state, and Elm Lea Farm is no exception. Beside this field is the old Putney School Inn, now home to a few employee families, including Pete and his wife. Behind this historical homestead is another field, whose future use breaks with its agricultural past.

It is the new site of a 446kW solar array—a steel-beamed grid hosting about 1400 panels, which now offsets 70% of the school’s electricity use. The array is strangely discrete for something so substantial, tucked into the northern corner of the field and hardly visible from the road. Thanks to a power purchase agreement, Putney has incurred little direct expense in developing the array and taking this bold step towards becoming a net zero energy campus. This past summer, the array went up in a seamless flurry of construction. The land came offline as a productive hay field, and online as a photo-voltaic energy source. The decision to claim a few acres of pasture for a solar project is not one to be made flippantly. Without the few reliable cuts of hay from this field— and particularly in years like this one, when the climate does not cooperate— the school may be forced to buy hay. Yet everyone who makes the farm function is aware that we are in a unique position given the symbiotic relationship between the school and farm. Should the farm need to spend a few thousand dollars on hay, the school is able to pick up the tab. The field, however, has also served educational purposes. Flat, open fields are scarce on this hilltop campus, and the Lower Farm pasture was the go-to spot for students to learn to drive tractors and bale hay. We expect the new array will serve as an educational resource in its own right, allowing students to study the benefits and costs associated with sustainable energy development. Over the last five years the cost of solar panels has fallen by half, and solar energy production in Vermont

There is an understandable tension between agricultural needs, energy production, and the aesthetic character of our region. has exploded by 1500%.* Smaller solar fields have become commonplace among the region’s farms, as farmers have taken advantage of available space and green energy tax incentives in order to reduce their steadily increasing energy costs. The hundredyear-old Green Mountain Orchard neighboring The Putney School is one such example. The orchard constructed a small array following several lean years when they were letting sections of their orchard go fallow. Owner Andrea Darrow describes how the cost of the energy they conserved from the array amounted to their whole income from apples. When consulted by other local farms about the array, she affirms that they would do it again in a heartbeat. In many ways, our land use decision reflects broader concerns in the region. There is an understandable tension between agricultural needs, energy production, and the aesthetic character of our region. Here in Windham County, for example, the Stiles Brook wind project has met fierce public resistance on both environmental and aesthetic grounds. The project proposed by electric utility behemoth Iberdrola would be the largest wind energy project in the state. Yet “ridgelines are not renewable,” declares

the Grafton Woodlands Group, a grassroots opposition organization. Can the same be said of rich, flat pastures? Beneath the specific pros and cons of any solar project is an underlying tenet held by many raised on New England farms: clear and level land is gold. It is a scarce asset and often represents generations of manual labor in its creation and maintenance. Phil Ranney, a seventh-generation dairy farmer who works with Pete Stickney on Elm Lea Farm, speaks to this perspective. Several years ago, he was given a few acres of land from his parents’ dairy farm on which to build his home. Rather than build on an open pasture, Phil opted to clear a new plot from some bordering woodland. Even though he was not actively raising his own herd, the notion of sacrificing open pasture didn’t sit right. Putney School CFO Randy Smith, who managed the solar array’s construction, sees the project as a more temporary (albeit a 20-plus-year) solution. It is a bridge to our goal of being a net zero campus, but also to a time when the efficiency and design of solar modules obviate the need for expansive solar arrays. Future buildings and even building materials may well incorporate photovoltaic capacities. Units may be small enough to sit unnoticeable on rooftops, or be planted beneath our feet on pathways. Only time will tell whether the land will be put back to pasture when the solar array is retired. At least I am comforted by the fact that stewardship rests at the core of The Putney School and that our actions will continue to reflect our intentions as we work the land with reverence and care.

FALL 2016





uring the spring of 1955, when I was four, mental illness struck my mom. Since my siblings were all in school, I spent those days alone with her. As her psychotic episodes grew in intensity, the woods across the street from our house became my sanctuary. I’m sure my mom knew that I spent a lot of time in there, and since I always made it back before dinner, she probably felt I was safer in that forest than with her. As you might imagine, I carry emotional baggage from that time and yet I was also given a great gift—being allowed to spend many hours all by myself in the forest. During those times I felt completely a part of my surroundings. I even remember feeling that I belonged as much in the woods as the trees, ferns, birds, and salamanders. As a young boy I bonded not only with that place, but with mother earth as well. I clearly remember my wanderings in the woods of The Putney School. From 1982–1987 I was the dormhead of Noyes. Almost daily I would step out our apartment door, head down the woods road to the Water Tower pasture, turn left and walk downhill into the woods. I wouldn’t follow the ski trails, but would cut across them, climbing and descending ridge upon ridge, always at a slightly different angle. In this way I became intimately acquainted with those woods. One memorable encounter on those walks occurred at the top of one of the ridges. It was mid-morning and the school siren went off announcing a fire drill. Right in front of me four coyotes crested the ridge close to where I was standing and started to howl in return. I stood as still as possible, but when their

Staying 06

howling started to diminish, they spotted me and they took off the way they came. That was not only the first time I had ever heard coyotes howl in the daytime, but also the only time I have actually ever seen them howl. I know an experience like that would never have occurred on one of the trails. The ledges area of the school woods is also intriguing due to its repeating pattern of forest types, which are influenced by differing bedrock. The valleys, where most of the cross-country ski trails run, are underlain by metamorphic rock rich in calcium that support forests of sugar maple, white ash, and bitternut hickory. These are also the places that in late April are graced with delicate vernal wildflowers like red trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, blue cohosh, and maidenhair fern—all strong indicators of calcium enriched soils with a pH greater than 7. As one climbs an adjacent ridge, the bedrock quickly changes, and having little calcium supports forests dominated by hemlock and oak. Cresting the ridge and taking the steep hike down to the next valley brings one back to calcium-enriched forests. This pattern repeats more than three times in one transect across the ledges. I know of no better example in the entire region where such a clear and striking repeating pattern of forest types is dictated by the underlying bedrock. My forthcoming book takes this idea of connection to landscape as a two-sided

coin. Landscapes directly influence the development of the culture of people who live in them. This is why historically we had so many different cultures on this planet. And culture directly influences the landscapes in which people reside. Thus nature and culture are inextricably linked and are continuously influencing each other. Over the past couple of decades, numerous studies have shown that being connected to the natural world enhances emotional and physical well-being. Not only that, it improves mental function, increasing attention, cognition, and memory. These findings make sense to me. Our species, modern Homo sapiens, has existed for 200,000 years. For the vast majority of time, and until very recently, people were intimately connected to the land. I believe we are hard-wired to need connection to nature. When that relationship is cut, we suffer emotionally, physically, and mentally. As a culture we have embarked on a radical experiment—one where people can become completely disconnected from land and nature. Luckily for students attending The Putney School, they are exposed to the land at a critical period in their development. For some this is a very new experience. I remember in the 1980s we had a number of students from the Bronx. At first the Putney environs were certainly foreign and possibly even scary for them. However, with a little time they started to connect to the land. For some of these students, this connection was deeply meaningful—something that for thousands of generations all of our ancestors also experienced. When my first book, Reading the Forested Landscape, was published, I was asked many times, “Why would a person want to read a landscape?” For me, at its core, it’s about developing intimacy

My favorite pastime… is to simply wander through a forest, a desert, an arctic or an alpine landscape without a planned route—I just let the land direct me. with place. Just as we may be attracted to someone, we can also be drawn to the Edenic beauty of the land. But in order to see the full beauty of that person or land we need to develop intimacy. We need to know the history that has shaped them and has strongly influenced their development. Only then can we truly connect at a deep level. It comes as no surprise to me that the focus of my life’s work has been landbased ecosystems. There was nothing else that could attract me more. I also can’t comprehend living without a deep connection to the land. My favorite pastime—one I developed as a young boy— is to simply wander through a forest, a desert, an arctic or an alpine landscape without a planned route—I just let the land direct me. I am focused more on where I am than where I am going, and in these wanderings, I find a true communion with nature.


BOOKS BY TOM WESSELS Reading the Forested Landscape (1997) The Granite Landscape (2001) The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future (2006) Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to reading the Forested Landscape (2010) Granite, Fire, and Fog: The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia (2017)

Tom Wessels is an ecologist and founding director of the master’s degree program in conservation biology at Antioch University New England. He taught science at Putney from 1982 to 1992, and continues to occasionally lead Putney students into the woods to learn and explore.

FALL 2016




WORK CAMP FROM 1935-1961


Brian D. Cohen is the senior development associate at Putney. In over thirty years at the school, he has worked as dean of faculty, arts department chair, visual art and art history teacher, dormitory head, and more. In 1988 he founded the Putney School Summer Programs, which he directed until 2001.

FALL 2016



n June 15, 1935, nearly three months before The Putney School officially opened its doors, the “Putney Summer Labor Camp” welcomed 70 participating campers and 20 supervising adults, most future teachers, to Elm Lea Farm for eight weeks of hard labor. The Camp sought “young people whose minds were open to new experiences with a wish to vigorously respond to work, confront significant issues of the day, and explore their relationship to the current world realities.” Students, most of whom camped out on Water Tower Hill for the summer, paid $10 a week to work with faculty, who exchanged their labor and supervision for board. In these two months they shaped a functioning school campus from a Vermont dairy farm.


From its beginnings, the Putney Work Camp (the name changed slightly) continued to construct and maintain the school buildings and grounds and operate the dairy farm until the camp was discontinued after the summer of 1961. Though most applicants were complete strangers to hard manual labor, let alone farm work, the camp appeared to them like a great adventure. Campers, generally high-minded middle-class kids from the liberal intelligentsia, most from New York City and Boston, completed a 14-page application



for admittance, including a writing sample. Only about one in eight got in. The campers learned to work, and work hard. Hugh MacDougall and Ed Gray led construction crews in converting a carriage shed into Old Boys dormitory (which continues to serve today much as it was completed that summer). Mabel Gray taught campers their way around the kitchen and introduced the Putney Special. John Holden was hired as the teamster. Addis Robinson and Charlie Gray patiently showed students how to

handle tools and how to do a job right. Campers took pride in all they did, from the garbage crew (which carried particular prestige), to repairing roads, building dams, felling trees, picking vegetables, making lunch, scraping paint, tending animals, staffing the fire brigade, pulling weeds, and generally doing what needed to be done. Kids were taught how to do a great many things, gained respect for labor and for those who perform it, and, above all, learned that the more they knew how to do, the more useful they could be to this community enterprise. Following work, kids would spend afternoons swimming in Garland Pond, canoeing on the Connecticut River, riding horses, or picnicking on the West River. Weekends allowed for longer outings, biking, climbing, and hiking in the Adirondacks and White Mountains. Evenings were largely devoted to the arts—chorus, dancing, reading, poetry, photography, drawing and painting, literary criticism—as well as student government, a student-run newsletter, and a discussion series. Music was omnipresent: Bach and Haydn in the evenings and at the daily community meeting, folk music at meals and whenever kids gathered. Square dances, with callers coming from as far away as Boston, were a weekly fixture on campus and nearly every night somewhere nearby in southern Vermont.

Campers found at Putney a sense of community and cultural exchange that they had not known at their own schools, reinforced through close living (and living close to the land), hard work, singing, and a daily meeting in which they shared all they had been learning and doing. They formed close friendships with each other and with adults on campus. The counselors, many of whom were Putney students during the year, were responsible, approachable, and respectful. Girls were treated just like boys and expected to do everything boys did. Jane Roberts Gill ’41, who took part in the work camp in 1937 and 1938, recently noted that everything she did during the Putney academic year she did during the summer (except, presumably, homework and winter). The culture of the Work Camp was so compelling, and so representative of Putney’s fundamental principles, that ten participants from that first summer stayed on campus and enrolled in Putney’s inaugural school year. The Work Camp flourished during the war and after, offering young people, many of whom couldn’t afford the academic year tuition, a remarkable and unique summer experience while completing necessary improvements and maintenance work on the campus. By one estimate the Work Camp provided the equivalent of 32 full-time workers per year, and the school took in between $10,000 and $31,000 (roughly equal to $200,000 to $500,000 in today’s dollars) in additional revenue from summer fees. The Work Camp had generally been administered by someone closely allied with the academic year operation, though with time the leadership and staffing of the summer and academic year operations became quite separate. Mrs. Hinton would make an occasional appearance at the camp but was generally preoccupied with hiring faculty and recruiting students for the fall. In 1961 Director Ben Rockwell brought the Work Camp to a rather abrupt end, claiming the summer operation had gotten too complex, too long, too boisterous, and too autonomous, with little consultation or communication between the two entities.

The culture of the Work Camp was so compelling, and so representative of Putney’s fundamental principles, that ten participants from that first summer stayed on campus and enrolled in Putney’s inaugural school year. The outcry, shock, and dismay following the announcement of the end of Work Camp says a lot about the profound influence of the camp on a generation of participants. One very idealistic summer alumnus wrote to Board Chair Felix Pereira: “With great dismay I learned of your plans to discontinue the Putney Work Camp after next session. My two summers at Putney were the most meaningful of my life. When I returned home I found that the world had changed. I saw hypocrisy and superficiality in situation(s) I had previously accepted. What I had considered to be friendships were revealed as shallow mockeries of friendship. Everywhere I saw manifestations of selfishness and grasping… .” Ben proposed a fresh start for Putney’s summer programming, but his plans for a summer science camp failed to take root or to make up for lost revenue from the Work Camp. The camp was revived for a short while in the early 1970s, but apart from teachers’ conferences and Fresh Air kids from the cities, summer operations remained minimal until 1988. Work Camp alumni have gone on to distinction in many fields. Perhaps the most famous Work Camp alumna is Carly Simon, who attended the summers of 1958 and 1959, and whose platinum

records and Grammy awards were achieved even though Putney officially outlawed rock ‘n’ roll. Work Camp alumni organized reunions in 1980, 2015, and 2016, attended by former campers from all over the country, where they shared the remarkable extent to which those summers altered their views of work and politics, developed independence and character, and helped make friends for life. In the words of one veteran, “We learn[ed] about ourselves in relation to those around us, mak[ing] choices about what we really cared about, what we thought important.”

Work Camp Reunions, top to bottom: California: 1st row: Martin Lapedes (Lois’s husband), Lois Grundfast, Peter Rothman, Mady Linsley. 2nd row: Larry Veit (Carol’s husband), Carol Jaffin, Dan Silagi, Anne Sacuto, Kathy Kamen, Oliver Smidt (Mady’s husband). 3rd row: Bob Feldman, Bernard Frankel (Anne’s husband), Lenny Wechsler, Mike Ohare. New York: 1st row: Laurie Eichengreen, Fran Funaro, Elliot Baumgarten, Carol Schifrin, Audrey Schifrin. Back row: Colin Offenhartz, Susan Samuels, Josh DeWind, Mike Brenson, Susan Opotow, John Slidell, Bob Feldman.

FALL 2016




Place / Architecture / Education P

More on the Gray House renovation at www.putneyschool.org/ masterplan



The urgent need for new living spaces for students and faculty has been the driver for some deep thinking about how we use land, how architecture influences culture, and the essential character of the Putney campus. The term “placebased education” has been about since the early 1990s, but it generally refers to the use of local ecosystems and social issues in creating curriculum. I have for years been fascinated by the impact of the land and the built environment as an educational force in and of itself.

I have worked in four boarding schools, in four very different ecosystems, with very different climates, architecture and cultures. In one case my husband and I were lucky enough to be able to design the campus from scratch, and to think carefully about how the architecture and layout of the spaces would influence education and how people related to each other. In another we experienced what I call the architecture of intimidation, in which formal and massive structures make it clear to students that they are merely passing through, and that they can expect to have little impact on the place they live. When I first saw Putney’s campus it appeared somewhat haphazard, and it took me a little while to begin to understand its influence. I see now how a student’s experience of living here—being in the weather between every piece of the day, crossing paths constantly with those bent on other goals, alternating between community gatherings and solitude, seeing the modest scale of buildings compared with the grandeur of the views—these things and the spatial integration of the farm and the arts all contribute to ways of being and thinking that students take away from here along with their diplomas. I recently was given a copy of a thesis submitted by John Rogers ’47 to MIT in 1954. In it he analyzes the campus and the need for new student and faculty housing, in preparation for designing what became John Rogers dorm. It discusses the role of the campus in education quite brilliantly: “One of the most important facts in the life of each student is the out-of-doors … Putney to the student is a sequence of views, vistas, spaces, buildings, sounds, physical impressions of cold and wind and exertion, all strung out along [one’s] daily route in between various mental activities.” Rogers discusses the importance of the central part of

Each of the two sits in its own piece of land, within its own framing of the landscape and its own walk “home.” campus, “a sort of a rough ring, oblong in shape which straddles the ridge,” and the community’s understanding that this land should not be intruded upon with new buildings. He discusses the quality of austerity, and the unsympathetic nature of the winds. He notes that the buildings create both interior views inside the ring, and also frame the longer views off the hill. “The total Putney is a very delicate instrument, probably not completely understood by any one person.” The current master plan for the Putney campus, completed in 2011, started with an analysis of how the central campus and outlying areas are used, socially as well as for formal programs. The architect who made the plan with us (Bill Maclay, the architect of the Field House), spent many hours with students and adults who live here to understand the role of the campus in our work and lives, and the resulting plan has many echoes of the John Rogers thesis. The first two goals of the current master plan, ones that we are deeply involved in today, are renovation of the old buildings to be “renewable ready,” able to be heated with solar power, and the provision of more living space for both students and faculty. The first goal will take many years, as renovating old buildings to this standard is a messy process and we can’t afford to have more than one building offline at a time—even that is a stretch. This past summer Gray House (the old alumni house, renamed for Bill

and Mabel Gray, and now a dorm) was retrofitted. We wrapped it in insulation, replaced all the doors and windows, and installed the ventilation equipment needed when buildings stop passing air through poorly insulated walls. Gray House is now off fossil fuels and is powered by air source heat pumps—this feels like a great triumph. The second project, to provide living space for students and faculty, is also ambitious. The lack of adequate housing is compromising our ability to hire and keep great teachers, and we are throwing good money down the drain to heat and prop up buildings far past their useful lifetime. Old Girls dorm, built in the 1920s, will be converted to classrooms, and Old Boys, built by students in the summer of 1935 from an old carriage shed, will be taken down. So far we have completed the design process for two new dorms (see image), which will house 22 students and two faculty families each, creating space in the central campus to be used for academic purposes. These dorms are designed to be net-zero energy, and surprisingly well meet John Rogers’s goal that “each house must both reflect this “austere” quality and be “intimate” and “sympathetic.” Students were very involved in the design process for these buildings. I was delighted to see how much they understand about the impact of the land on their lives here, and how careful they are to preserve what is good and improve what is not. They are proud of the school’s ambition to be net-zero, and imaginative in discussing the future. The two dorms are very similar, which keeps design and building costs down, but will have different finishes and sense of place. Each of the two sits in its own piece of land, within its own framing of the landscape and its own walk “home”. Fundraising for these essential dorms is just beginning.

FALL 2016




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From vegetables to milk to wood to wool, the range of our agricultural production is awesome, yet we do not have granular data on the farm, garden or forest yields. With the help of the Sustainability Squad, we are beginning a multi-year project aimed at tracking the quantities of each item we grow and putting our yields for each category in the context of our local and total consumption. Students are tackling the challenge of data collection and analysis in order to help with future planting and harvesting decisions. We hope this study will serve as a benchmark in our efforts to increase awareness about our food sourcing and improve the efficiency of our farm. The graphic here represents the first phase of data collection and will be updated to reflect what we learn about our production and consumption over the upcoming months.



How much do we produce at Putney? How much spinach and how many eggs? What proportion of the corn we consume is grown on our farm? Of beef? Of wood we burn or syrup we pour? And what percentage of our food comes from the network of local farms, where our purchases represent valuable participation in the local economy?

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To track the evolution of this project and learn more about the unique role the farm plays in our community and kitchen, please visit www.putneyschool.org/ homegrown


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Design: Michael Bodel & Briony Morrow-Cribbs Data: Katie Ross & the Sustainability Squad






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FALL 2016


Me at



See more of Briony’s artwork on her website www.brionymorrowcribbs.com

Tell us about this image. Everybody wants to know who it is—that’s the thing with portraits. The likeness is from an image I found of a homeless man in the Bay Area. Creating this image was interesting because time became an element of it. Things are blooming and sprouting and surfacing. As you’re working, there’s the time lapse when something pushes up through the dirt. I add elements in as I go. That’s how things started to emerge out of his beard. You don’t know how long he’s been sitting there—if those things came from the inside out or the outside in.

Briony Morrow16



As you’re working, there’s the time lapse when something pushes up through the dirt.… That’s how things started to emerge out of his beard. TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

Briony Morrow-Cribbs is an illustrator, artist, gardener, and teacher who has taught printmaking at Putney since 2014. Prior to Putney, she taught at University of Wisconsin, Smith College, Twin Vixen Press, Community College of Vermont, and the River Gallery School. Where did your interest in nature and botanical illustration begin? It was a combination of interest in art (my parents are both artists) and science. The two merged in high school and college. I remember looking at a lot of old scientific books with beautiful pen & ink and etched illustrations and wanting to emulate that style. You grew up on Whidbey Island in Washington State. Is there a connection between that experience and your work? Definitely. I grew up in a rich, juicy environment, on an island in the Puget Sound—there are the woods, the beach, and all of these

things are slammed together in a potent, moody environment. I would often go into the woods or down to the beach and lose myself, submerge myself in that place. I think about it now and I can smell it, hear it, taste it. It’s very visceral. You seem to be view the natural world with a Tim Burton-like lens—sharply focused, but a bit dark, even in its beauty. Thoughts on that? There’s some part of me that’s still very animal-like. I’m so curious and interested in the natural world. When I walk through the woods, I see little holes in the ground, and I feel like I know what it’d


be like to crawl down into them. I still feel very connected to the natural world, more than I do to humans sometimes. There’s something in making my work— when I get lost in it, I have the visceral experience again. I can smell it and hear it a lot. I can feel it in all of these ways, more than just the two dimensions. The Tim Burton reference is perfect. You’ve been teaching printmaking here for a few years now. How do you think the environmental surroundings of Putney influence the students you teach or the work they create? It definitely has an effect. They feel much more “whole” than in other places I’ve taught. Students bringing all of their school and life experiences into the studio, processing them, and then applying them to their art. They feel very multi-faceted, and that state feels very natural to them. It makes for an exciting, alive environment. They’re weird, but in a good way. This stage of life is different; they come from a place where they’re not editing themselves, they’ll open up their imaginations and their heart to you in ways you never would have expected. There’s a vulnerability in that; I realize how easily that could be squished out of them. They want to believe you. They’re present. Of course, there are also moments when I can barely get them to clean the studio.

I understand you’re also a gardener. How do these two passions inform each other? I love working outside, with my body, and being in it—being with the dirt. Yesterday I found a frog, and I hung out with it. It was very cool to just be there. You just published a book, an adult coloring book playfully capturing “the dark side of horticulture.” Doing illustration is complementary to the experience of teaching here. Having all of those vocations makes for a very full life. I feel lucky to have that collage of things that I do, and I hope that I bring some of the outside world in to the Putney School community, and let them know you can make a living off of being an artist. That’s something people are afraid of right now. Your work has been described as capturing “The transformative moment when the monstrous overcomes revulsion and becomes desire.” It’s surreal, yet it’s not outlandish. It’s almost as if you’re showing the soul of the things we only see on the surface. I want to show the balance between light and dark, being able to own that darker side, not editing it out. Desire is a difficult feeling to navigate, as is the idea that the monstrous becomes part of us. We all have that stuff in us; it’s about being responsible to it in a different way.

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Detail of an etching by Ruby ’17. See page 20




Much of this issue of the Post is about land, in one way or another. The word itself is interesting, with different connotations from ground, soil, place, earth, or Earth. For some people land is a resource to be used, for some acreage to be bought, for some it has an essence or character of its own. For many Putney students this hilltop is the first piece of land they have learned to love, and having done this, they do it again and again in their lives. I learned to love land when I was very young, and I confess that when I go back to places I have lived I am Wise Putney, as eager to revisit the land as the people. There is a reason we talk Through foggy mornings on the east lawn about being "uprooted" when we We grew roots deeper into your body have to move. Land—this land and other— As you told us to wake day after day is a fundamental ingredient of our academic curriculum. From class speaker NOAH STRAU SS-JENKINS’S poem read at graduation 2014 Our ninth grade integrated curriculum, Humans in the Natural World, is broadly based on the intellectual structure of social geography, and brings the lenses of biology, literature, history, economics, and politics to the study of how humankind SAVE THE DATE interacts with land. Students spend time in the woods and study The Progressive Education Lab local economic systems. Other courses with close ties to the land announces its 2017 symposium include American Studies, Physiological Ecology, Biodiversity PROGRESS IN and Conservation Ecology, and Complex Systems: Agroecology. PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION Woods crew, gardening, herding, hiking, biking, skiing, and just Educating Students getting across campus in a storm all make our students part of to be Agents of Change the ecology of the land; eating in the KDU makes the land part of them. I plan someday to figure out how much biomass we add in JUNE 18-20, 2017 a year by growing teenage bodies, and how much of that comes @ THE PUTNEY SCHOOL directly out of the land on this beautiful hill. A conference featuring two days I am sure that the love of this land is what draws so many of presentations, workshops, alumni back here, and I hope that our current students will also and discussions with progressive take the capacity to love land out into the world with them. educators and activists, including EMILY JONES

Head of School

keynote speakers Yong Zhao and MK Asante.

More at www.pelconference.org

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EMAIL EAVESDROP Excerpts from Community Comments, the email listserv for Putney students and faculty to share (arguably) nonessential information.

One of my beloved yak earrings seems to have taken flight in today’s tempest.


TRADITIONAL VS. GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM Ruby ’17 was honored by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards with an American Visions & Voices award for a diptych of etchings (above). The work was selected as Best in Show for the region in its category and now hangs at the Department of Education in Washington, DC, as part of an exhibition entitled Art.Write.Now.DC.

(D)ONWARD After 15 years as director of communications, Dondo Cuerdon is venturing off to pursue a career in mental health counseling. Upbeat and inimitable, Dondo brought a wealth of experience in journalism and a passion for experiential education. Whether counseling them in the dorm, coaching them through the nuances of digital 2D design in Yearbook, or leading them down dirt trails on a mountain bike, Dondo has been a deep presence in the lives of many students over the years. We are grateful for Dondo’s creative contributions to the Post, and boisterous belief in people. We look forward to seeing him around and expect to field some jocular letters to the editor from him over the upcoming issues.



stop making sense and start making sushi

Camera Obscura in Reynolds 7: Basically we turned a room into a giant pinhole camera.

During fruit lunch tomorrow I will testing whether my Jellyfish robot will fly or not.

The light is perfect right now. If you have 5 minutes (that’s all it will take) I would love to photograph you. Does anyone have a spare filament extruder? the science department is looking for one. Here’s an exhibit of artworks created using pigments from Manila’s most polluted rivers.

Missing tortoise, has anyone seen lula?

Mystery surprise in the cow pasture! It’s probably my sports bra…

chupacabra sighted in Wender Rest up! You are not machines or robots. You deserve to take a break whenever you need it. Simply let us know. Share your concerns and needs with your advisor, we’ll advocate for you.





Dance Program Director in the Art Department / Dorm Parent: JR / Afternoons: Ballet, Modern Jazz and Dance Ensemble


Progressive Education Lab Fellow in the Science Department / Teaching Conservation Ecology, Chemistry & Microbiology / Dorm Parent: Huseby / Afternoons: Assistant Girls Soccer and Alpine Ski / Evening: Arts Book Arts What do you do when you’re not teaching? I’m training for a half-marathon in October, so definitely running. I’m not a particularly fast runner, so it takes up a lot of my time. What were you doing before you came to Putney? I was working at an outdoor education center on the coast of Maine teaching middle schoolers. I lived on the beach and taught all my classes outside. It was beautiful and exhausting, and I still find sand in most of my backpacks. What was one of your most profound learning experiences? I worked in a conservation office in Juneau, AK, a few years ago, which was a pivotal point for me in deciding to teach. I figured out

things that I didn’t want to be doing, including: interacting with screens more than humans, sitting at a desk that faces a wall, and being inside all day. Needless to say, I spent a lot of afternoons cartwheeling down the hallway. Do you have a secret talent? YES … Well, I’m convinced I do and I just haven’t discovered it yet.

What were you doing before you came to Putney? Before I came to Putney, I was living in NYC as a freelance dancer/teaching artist/ choreographer. I taught all over the region and danced at The Metropolitan Opera. I spent winters with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and summers teaching at The Joffrey Ballet School and for Putney Student Travel at Amherst College. Name three things on your bucket list. 1. Travel as much as possible—to experience different ways of life and discover new landscapes. 2. Alpine ski on all seven continents with my boyfriend. 3. I have always been proud of my family history, and would love to write a memoir. Not one to be published, only read by future generations of my family. Do you have a secret talent? I hold a First Degree black belt in Taekwondo


English Department / Teaching Humans in the Natural World, Creative Writing, and Short Fiction / Dorm Parent: Old Girls / Afternoons: Assistant Boys Basketball Coach / Evening: Arts Creative Writing and Lit Mag Design your dream project week. Three off the top of my head: Melville and Hawthorne, the relationship between poetry and silence, and the history of the slam dunk. What was one of your most profound learning experiences? When I was in graduate school for poetry, I was in a class where we had to do presentations on contemporary poets. Mine was on Susan Howe, and I was dreading it. I found her poetry to be difficult and intimidating. I couldn’t imagine what interest I might have in it, but because I had to do a presentation, I forced myself to reckon with the material. I ended up falling in love with her poetry and, more importantly, with her thinking. It very literally changed my life. It was a good lesson that I don’t always know what I think I know. In fact, usually I find out I don’t know much of anything at all. Name three things on your bucket list. 1. Visiting Scotland 2. Seeing a sperm whale 3. Floor seats at the NBA Finals (when the Celtics are playing)


English Department / Teaching English 10, American Studies / Dorm Parent: Old Girls / Afternoons: Gym Rats and Running & Fitness Design your dream project week. I’d like to build a desk and then pump out a manuscript at it. Do you have a new Putney habit? Doing AM barn. I’m trying to do it several times a week. Rolling out of bed at 5 in the morning to do essential farm work is a simple fact of life and everyone should have to face those. What led you here? In general, New England called me back. Putney drew me because it encourages the formation of sincere relationships. The other night, I drove some of my advisees and students home, in my own car, on a Vermont highway, at dusk. That doesn’t happen at many schools.

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Harvest Festival “Wonder what Harvest Festival would be like in the rain?” is a question we won’t need to ask ourselves again any time soon. Yet in spite of the wet weather, families, alumni, locals, and leaf-peepers ambled up to campus by the hundreds. We filled Calder Hall to capacity for Sing, drank a lot of coffee, and made the best of a drizzly afternoon. Somewhere, Mrs. Hinton was smiling.

@putneyschool Chronicle, WCVB Boston’s long-running news show, visited Putney in June to feature us alongside other local treasures, including Sandglass Theater, Hickory Ridge House, Gordon & Mary Hayward’s Garden, and (of course) the Putney General Store. As usual, our livestock played well on camera.



Community service is a long-standing afternoon activity at Putney and allowed me to get off of the hill and go make a difference on something I truly cared about. —YU KA ’1 5

SHOUT OUT! Vermont Fresh Network gave a nice shoutout to Putney and Sterling College for engaging students on the farm, getting fresh food into our kitchen, and learning how to improve our sustainability efforts. vermontfresh.net/news-eventsand-blog/back-to-school-theputney-school/



Image by Jock Gill ’63. See page 37




REUNION RECAP TTTTTTTTTTTTT Reunion is a fascinating enterprise. From year to year, the structure remains the same, yet the story of each reunion is written by the people who attend. During the three days of reunion in June, alumni sang in the old assembly hall (And did those feet in ancient times...), danced boisterously in that same space (Swing your partner!), and discussed in depth the current state of Putney: What are students learning? How does technology affect the campus community? How does new information about brain science affect the way you teach? Do all of the kids have iPhones? But even more importantly, this year’s reunion brought an especially strong sense of connection. Alumni lingered late into the evenings talking. They spent Saturday afternoon in familiar spaces, remembering deceased classmates, refreshing old friendships and making new ones. Their happiness and fulfillment were palpable. Reunion is a celebration of Putney, of its alumni and its purpose. We thank all of the alumni, guests, spouses, and kids who joined us in June, and hope to see you again soon.

Save the Dates

REUNION 2017 JUNE 9–11

(begins June 8 for the 50th reunion class) Classes of 1952, 1957, 1961-63, 1977–78, 1986–88, 2006–08, 2011–13


(Look for an invitation in January).

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’47 ’56 R E U N I O N C L A SSES Class of 1947: Peter Tandy, Anne Sarcka, Alison Cary Corson, Joan and Charles Staples / 1956: Front: Ann Rogers, James Breasted, Steve Scheiber, John Richardson, Jane Climenko Gottschalk, Jayn Rosenfeld, Anne Reynolds Skinner, Betsy Miller Campbell, Dotty Rose Gonson, Sue Randolph Clapp Back: Robin Gillham, John Levitt, Lincoln Ramirez, Mary Witherell Trevor, Ross Harris, Paul Buttenweieer, Bob Schneider, John Graef, Gottfried Paasche, Steve Sachs, Nick Grace / 1966: Front: Louis Postel, Nora Burnett, Roy Wilkinson, Jon Levi, Meryl Natchez Rafferty, Joan Rawlings Welsh, Darius Brotman, Ron Fielding Back: Susel Merton Fagan, Sandy MacDonald, Len Rieser, David Zemelsky, Abby Newton, Deborah Simonds Kaiser, Susan Lobell, Deb Gray, Margaret Tobin Segall, Carol O’Neill, Karen Roeper / 1980–82: Front: Ricketson McDowell, Dd Alton, Carlotta Brelsford Cuerdon, David Thomas, Melanie Gillis, Jennifer Ankner Edelstein, Rebecca Johnson Dibb, Alyssa Ettinger, Erica Crofut (also pictured are various offspring) Back: Maea Brandt and daughters, Alex Harman, Janice and Nadav Malin, Denise Paasche, Robert Hamilton and Kim Reimann, Anne Aleshire, Robert Churchill, Sam Angell with daughters, Jamie Isaacs, Maggie da Silva, J J Johnson, Owen Jones / 1991–92: Diana Brewer, David Brewer and Amy Borrell and daughter / 1996–98: Families left: Jackie Scott Devore, husband Lawrence, and kids Front: Rodrigo Nava and sons Jo Chuang and kids, Molly Kovel and kids, Ilana Savel and kids, Elisabeth Deliso and kids, Rachel Donn and kids, Alexis Kamitses and kid, Eric Hustvedt and Kristen McNeely-Shaw and kid Back: Erica Morse, Geoff Newton, Lauren Ciancio, Kate Ahearn, Shawheen Hazrati, Demeny Pollitt, Vasya Dostoinov, Emma Gardner, Summer LePree, Neil Taylor, Meli Glenn, Troy Hull, Megan Gray, Merrall and Monica MacNeille, Scott Tillman, Joshu Harris, Charlotte Cathro, Marleny Franco, Cawley Thompson, Lloyd Goldberg









Vita Murrow and Ethan Murrow ’93 Templar, April 2016

There is a legend that a great spotted whale lives in the ocean, although a sighting fifty years ago was never corroborated. Now two young whale watchers each set out to find the whale, one armed with sound-recording equipment, the other with a camera. When their boats collide, they pool their resources to capture incontrovertible proof that the mythical whale exists. The eventual sighting is a magical moment, especially when the children discover that it was their own grandparents who first glimpsed the whale fifty years ago. The Murrows’ spectacular wordless adventure is brought to life with stunning graphite drawings that convey the drama and haunting beauty of the ocean and capture the majesty of the awe-inspiring whale.

Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers Stephen Shames ’65 Abrams, 2016

Power to the People is the story of the controversial Black Panther Party, founded 50 years ago in 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. The words are Seale’s, with contributions by other former party members; the photographs, including many icons of the 1960s, are by Stephen Shames. Admired, reviled, emulated, misunderstood, the Black Panther Party was one of the most creative and influential responses to racism and inequality in American history. They advocated armed self-defense to counter police brutality, and

Journey to a Straw Bale House

initiated a program of patrolling the police with shotguns—and law books. Published on the 50th anniversary of the party’s founding, Power to the People is the in-depth chronicle of the only radical political party in America to make a difference in the struggle for civil rights—the Black Panther Party.

F. Harlan Flint ’48 Sunstone Press, 2016

This tale is the author’s life ramble that led to the adventure of building a cabin in the northern New Mexico wilderness. The place, called Santa Rita by its founders, was the site of a tiny settlement built by Hispano homesteaders a century earlier. Flint’s new neighbor, Baudelio Garcia, partnered with the author to take on the unfamiliar task of building a straw bale house. Garcia helped navigate the largely Hispano neighborhood to make the project succeed. The collaboration revealed the strong attachment of the local people for their home place, their patria chica, and the persistence of their ancient language and culture.

Goodnight, Beautiful Women Anna Noyes ’06 Grove Press, 2016

Goodnight, Beautiful Women bring us into the sultry, mysterious inner lives of New England women and girls as they navigate the dangers and struggles of their outer worlds. With novelistic breadth and a quicksilver emotional intelligence, Noyes explores the ruptures and vicissitudes of growing up and growing old, and shines a light on our most uncomfortable impulses while masterfully charting the depths of our murky desires. Dark and brilliant, rhythmic and lucid, Goodnight, Beautiful Women marks the arrival of a fearless and unique new young voice in American fiction.


Cait Lynch ’89 Blue Denim Press, 2016

Auxiliary Sail Vessel Operations, 2nd Edition: For the Professional Sailor G. Andy Chase ’74 Schiffer Books 2016

This text was created as a course curriculum for classes in sail vessel operations at the Maine Maritime Academy. This second edition contains new material on bridge resource management, risk assessment, safety aloft, and more. Designed to accompany the sailor as a study guide and point of reference, it calls attention to the myriad constant and critical elements of professional yacht and vessel management in both theory and practice.



Have you written a book? Let us know by contacting alumni@putneyschool.org

What are you really hungry for? Could you be both overfed and undernourished? How are the quality of your sleep, your mood and your energy levels? And, what about your digestion? Nourish asks you to dig deeper into your health and wellness puzzle by helping you discover the answers to these essential health questions and more. Whether you need to lose excess body fat or you are naturally lean, Nourish does not discriminate. The program is rooted in a platform of self-care and nutrient-rich, grocery store foods. Comprehensive and intensely personal, Nourish teaches you how to find what you are really hungry for. Learn the Nourish system and bring out the best of who you are to thrive lifelong.

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IN MEMORIAM Bill Uptegrove ’37

William Edgar Uptegrove of Jamaica passed away at the age of 96 on April 22, 2016 at Pine Heights Nursing Facility in Brattleboro. He prepared notes for his obituary, which are included below. He was pre-deceased by his sister, Florence, and his wife, Elizabeth ’40. He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Mathews ’40 of Abingdon, Virginia, his two daughters, Frances Uptegrove ’68 of Pomfret, Vermont, and Jane Uptegrove ’71 of Philadelphia, four grandsons, and three great-grandchildren. He also leaves a wide circle of dear friends. I was born March 18, 1920 in Hood River, Oregon. My family moved east soon thereafter and I grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. My high school senior year was spent at The Putney School. I went on to Dartmouth College, graduating in 1942, just in time for World War II, which I spent in the Navy on destroyers. I was awarded the Bronze Star “for meritorious achievement” as gunnery officer of the U.S.S. Fitch on D-Day at Normandy. After the war, I obtained a master’s degree in regional planning from the Harvard School of Design. In 1947 I married Betsey Doolin, whom I had known at Putney. We produced two wonderful daughters and were together until her death in 2012. My professional work focused on town planning. In 1975 I retired, and we came to live in Jamaica, Vermont, on an old farm that we had acquired in 1951 as a vacation home. For 25 years we kept several horses. We rode them over hill and dale, and our daughters became good riders. Betsey and I took one long horseback trip lasting two weeks, alternately camping out and staying with friends. We rode north as far as Tunbridge, then circled back home by a different route. Next to caring for our



horses, my main interest at our “farm” was woodlot management. We heated our house with wood, much of which I obtained from our own woods, using hand tools only. I also made trails for walking, horseback riding, and skiing. I loved backpacking in the mountains. When my daughters were teenagers we explored the White Mountains. When we lived in Rochester, New York, we became acquainted with the Adirondacks. Betsey and I once flew to Wyoming and went hiking in the Bighorn Mountains. On a trip to Yosemite we had a snowy hike with our daughter, Jane, over Cloud’s Rest, then down past the Merced River waterfalls to the valley. On several occasions I went on hiking trips with the Sierra Club in California and Wyoming, one with my daughter, Frances. Both Betsey and I were environmental activists, especially for clean water. When Jamaica was threatened with uranium mining, we were instrumental in getting a protective law passed in the Vermont legislature. We were members of the Conservation Society of Southern Vermont, the Stratton Area Citizens Committee, the West River Watershed Alliance, the Vermont Wilderness Association, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Everyone in our family plays a musical instrument. When our daughters visited us we often played together. I occasionally played my flute, accompanied by Eleanor Worthen, in the Jamaica Church and with the West River Chorus in Townshend.

Stephen B. Tanner ’40

Stephen Barrett Tanner passed away peacefully on June 20, 2016, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. He was born on November 4, 1922, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to parents William Maddux Tanner and Daisy Barrett Tanner, both from Texas. While he was a student at Yale University, majoring in German literature, he was drafted into the U.S.

Army in March of 1943. He served as a crypt-analyst in the 3915th Army Signal Radio Intelligence Company and participated in the Italian campaign of WWII. His fluency in both German and Italian were instrumental in decoding and translating radio transmissions intercepted by his unit from German forces. At the end of the war he hunted for, arrested, and interrogated German officers and Nazi collaborators. He then returned to Yale to complete his degree and while there he taught two courses in Italian as an undergraduate student. Upon graduation he was recruited by and joined the CIA. He was an able and successful Cold War warrior, focusing his many talents on gaining intelligence about the Soviet Union. When living overseas his cover was the U.S. Department of State, which meant that he had to do two jobs at the same time, the regular work of a Foreign Service employee plus his job for the CIA. After retiring from the government he worked as a consultant for various American and European companies doing business abroad. He briefly became a professional tennis teacher and wrote and published several books of humor. The time he spent at The Putney School was a very important, formative period of his life. His love for the school and devotion to fundraising never wavered throughout his adult life. He also attended the Middlebury College Summer Language School, where he met a student whose family owned a summer place on the shores of Willoughby Lake in Westmore, Vermont—it was love at first sight! On June 7, 1947, he and Anne Wallis Swift were married in Princeton, New Jersey. In later life his favorite sport was tennis, but as a young man it was figure skating. He was a member of both


the Cambridge and Boston Skating Clubs and in 1940 he won the U.S. Junior Pairs Championship with his skating partner. His favorite hobby was opera, particularly Italian opera, and he took singing lessons whenever he could. In his retirement years he became an avid impresario, organizing concerts, soirees, and other entertainments. He frequently used these events to raise money for local causes—to help buy the North Beach of Willoughby Lake for the town of Westmore, to refurbish the kitchen of the local church after it was damaged by fire, to establish a fund to provide scholarships for local children, and more. He felt that raising money to help others was his most important activity in his later years. He is survived by his wife, Anne, son Bruce Tanner ’69, daughter Kersten Tanner ’71, grandson William Tanner ’05, and granddaughter Kelly Tanner. Instead of flowers, a donation may be made in his memory to the Westmore Community Church or to The Putney School.

Effie Brewer Kimball ’42

Effie Brewer Kimball, born in 1924, died in Seattle on August 16, 2016. Effie spent her early years in Ipswich, Massachusetts. She studied at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design and at Sarah Lawrence College until she married Dave Davenport. They divorced in 1964. Effie remained in Alaska, where she and Dave had been living, and reconnected with high school friend Arthur (Kim) Kimball, a mining geologist with the Bureau of Mines. They married in 1965 and lived for the next 40 years in Juneau. Effie loved the outdoors, an enthusiasm she passed on to her children and grandchildren. From an early age she enjoyed fishing on the lakes of the Adirondacks, and later the streams of New Mexico and finally in the waters off Lena Point in Juneau. Throughout her life she was an avid skier and hiker. She and Kim were members of several hiking groups. After Kim died she continued her hiking until late into her 80s. She had a long-term interest in archaeology and she enjoyed exploring Indian ruins in New Mexico and the backcountry of Utah. She had a keen eye and could always find arrowheads and small treasures that

others had overlooked. She was a fine watercolorist. She leaves four children, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Effie lived a full life and died peacefully. She will be remembered with great love by her family and friends.

Sam Bunker ’45

On June 10, 2016, Sam Bunker passed away at his home in Dummerston, Vermont, surrounded by his loving family. Sam spent his early childhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and then moved to a farm his parents had purchased in Dummerston. Sam attended Yale, following a one-year tour in the U.S. Army as an MP during the end of WWII. After graduating from Yale, Sam returned to Vermont and ran the Bunker Farm for many successful years. In 1962 Sam began his international career. He was posted with the Ford Foundation in New Delhi, where he served as assistant station chief until 1968. He returned to the US and earned a master of public administration degree from Harvard. His international work continued until 1976, when he returned to the US and finished his tenure with the Ford Foundation as deputy director of the Middle East and Africa. Beginning in 1978, Sam worked as the director for the international division of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. He was instrumental in bringing electricity to the rural underserved in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Sam retired in 1990. He was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame in 1992, honoring his decades of outstanding service to the international community. Although Sam’s generosity, compassion, and commitment to helping those in need were his life’s mission and legacy, he also had a less serious and playful side. He always appreciated a good joke, and took his martinis very seriously: vodka, shaken, including Spanish olives, preferably with pimentos. In his younger years Sam was an avid skier and along with his brother started the Yale ski team. He was proud to point out how he broke his nose twice while ski jumping. Also in his earlier years he obtained his private pilot’s license. He even flew while in India, where he was once “escorted” by the Indian Air

Force after wandering a bit too close to the disputed Pakistani border. Sam is preceded in death by his brother John ’44, and son Stephen. He is survived by his second wife, Virginia, sister, Ellen ’41, and his children, Jennifer and James. He is also survived by five grandchildren, three great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Dennis Sadilek ’48

Dennis Sadilek of Riverside, Illinois, beloved husband of Mary Ann Sadilek for 37 years, passed away peacefully on August 10, 2016. Dennis was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. In 1947, Dennis was selected to study in the United States through the American Field Service, through which he attended the Putney. He was later granted asylum due to the communist government control of Czechoslovakia, and remained in the United States thereafter. He served as vice president at banks, corporations, and in real estate. Dennis was a true advocate of the American dream. He believed it was his sacred responsibility to give back to his community, church, and all those he met throughout his many years in the Chicago area. He was extremely active, an avid skier, tennis player, and golfer. He truly relished a life of joy and fellowship, and was a wonderful friend and compatriot to many.

David Tucker ’52

On March 26, 2016, David Tucker, of Pompano Beach, Florida, died at age 81. Dave grew up outside Saint Louis, Missouri, where his first job was working on the showboat as a child actor. After Putney, he worked at the MUNY Opera in Saint Louis, then followed his passion for the theater to New York. He was drafted into the Army in 1958 (where he worked as a photographer and as a paratrooper after surviving the bailout from a plummeting aircraft). He attended San Francisco State College, married his first wife, Barbara, and returned to St. Louis to teach at Forest Park Community College. Following the birth of their two children, they moved east, where Dave worked to help develop community college programs. He later turned to a career of writing and consulting. He authored

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a landmark study on weight and size discrimination for the Maryland Human Rights Commission and helped develop promotional and educational materials for the first Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday, In 2002 he married his second wife, Norma, and embarked on a new career with the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi. After retiring from this second career, Captain Dave started volunteering at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society as a docent. In this role he was able to bring together his love of theater and history with his experience as a river pilot on those same waters.

Anthony Northrup Cary ’55

By Barbara Cary: Born in San Francisco 1/21/1938, #5 of six children. Enrolled in SF Music Conservatory at age five; keyboards and theory. Went off to Putney by cross country train on his own at thirteen. Took as many different routes back and forth as he could in the following four years. Graduation present was a three-month trip to Europe, starting with a student troop ship to England and the purchase of a moped that he rode all over, particularly in France, on a dollar a day for food, staying in youth hostels and the homes of friends. Went off to Harvard, studied architecture, music, and computer design as well as whatever else caught his fancy. Graduated cum laude in architectural sciences and was admitted to Harvard’s graduate school in that field. Joined the Peace Corps rather than being drafted into the Army. Spent two years in Ghana as assistant headmaster in a school for children headed for higher education in England; taught science there. Took the LSAT to keep his then-girlfriend company; aced it. Asked Harvard if its law school would take him; they said yes; he chose law instead of architecture. Specialized in maritime law, eventually formed his own firm. Began his involvement with the dog world, raising and showing great Pyrenees; had the #2 Pyr in the US; retired Sebastian (the dog) to stud. Traveled the world in a three-piece suit with a big legal briefcase as maritime lawyer for Lloyds of London, Bethlehem Steel, and other large companies. Began singing seriously, Bach Chorale four years, Mastersingers Chorale 18 years, Baroque Choral Guild 17 years, San Francisco



Symphony Chorus eight years, and many others. Bought and had shipped from back east his Allen organ, a full-sized monster any small cathedral would love to have; began to collect and play everything ever written for organ. Married his fellow singer and ladylove, Barbara, and moved to LA, and back, with her. As executor of his parents’ estates returned to his architectural background to rehabilitate and sell various estate properties. Acquired his first Portuguese water dog, Poco Loco, training him in obedience and agility. Enjoyed the fine arts of building and repairing so much he and Barbara bought and polished eight more houses, with Tony doing the design work and Barbara running the work crews. The Hill Court house, the smallest of them, was bought by the dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Architecture and is still occupied by him, completely unchanged except for a new refrigerator, 25 years later. Acquired the second PWD, Sasha, who is a one-man dog, and is still mourning him. Retired to Carmel and joined the Saint Mary’s by the Sea Choir, Camarata Chorus, the Bach Festival Chorus, and I Cantori di Carmel to continue to feed our singing addiction. Began volunteering at the Monterey Aquarium, and took several classes in marine biology to prepare the necessary knowledge base to teach responsibly; was working two days a week, on the floor and on the information desk, giving behindthe-scenes tours, helping train new volunteers, and singing “Happy Birthday” to guests. Studied two years of Spanish to be able to help more guests of the aquarium. He died quickly and peacefully of a massive stroke on February 25, 2016. Barbara and he were together for thirty five years, and never stopped laughing together or loving each other.

Arthur Gillette ’56

Art Gillette passed away in May, following a battle with cancer. Professionally, he dedicated his years to UNESCO; personally, he sought connection and adventure, from his two transatlantic sails to his work to promote traditional sports and games worldwide as UNESCO’s

director of youth and sports, continuing through the years of his Paris Through the Ages tours, journeys through of the City of Light that rivaled any other. This quote from Peter Higginson, a lifelong friend of Art’s, captures his spirit: “The overarching feeling one has in reflecting on Arthur’s career in UNESCO is that he was not so much executing an approved program as he was living an idea. He had so many talents that, in the end, it really made little difference where he was assigned. Arthur didn’t amble through a UNESCO career: he took it by storm, marking the path he took with his humor, poetry, teaching, singing, photography, prodigious language skills (which included fluent Russian and Mandarin Chinese), and love of French culture and history.” Art is survived by his daughter, Elise, and his son, Arthur.

Randy Mickelson ’56

Randy Mickelson was a world-renowned vocal coach and musicologist who served as musical director of the Musical Society of New York, general director of the New York Concert and Opera Society, and was founder of the Sacred Music Society of America. During his long and distinguished career, he edited operas for recording, taught singing to the world’s top performers, and produced masses and ecclesiastical works, with a special focus on and brilliance around baroque music interpretations.

Jeremy Siepmann ’59

Jeremy Siepmann died aged 74 on April 6, 2016, at his home in Stonesfield, England. He was a pianist, teacher, writer, and broadcaster who made a career of bringing to life the works of the great composers through a multitude of books, recordings, and broadcasts. His passion for music and, in particular, for the piano began well before he went to Putney, but developed in earnest when he spent his high school


summers transfixed by the musical “miracles” produced by Rudolph Serkin at the Marlboro Music Festival. After Putney, Jeremy went to Mannes College of Music, where he met his lifelong and most loyal friend, the pianist Richard Goode. Those years also exposed him to musical luminaries like the composer Virgil Thompson, who recognized his potential and encouraged him to take his talent seriously. Not long after his marriage to Johanna Renouf ’58, the couple were invited to Hawaii by Nesta Obermer, who put Jeremy and his younger sisters through Putney. Also in residence at the Obermer Diamond Head salon was the conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent, who convinced Jeremy to relocate to London under his tutelage. As it turned out, it was unclear whether Sir Malcolm’s interest was strictly, or even primarily, musical. But Jeremy, who was born with dual US/ UK citizenship, opted to be a British subject and remained there, happily, for the rest of his life. After his first marriage dissolved, he married the American pianist Deborah Overbeck in 1987. He was a gifted writer whose works were appreciated by both accomplished musicians and lay people alike—seven books, mostly biographies of great composers; a series of Naxos audio books exploring specific pieces of music; The Life and Works of ten composers, consisting of four CDs and accompanying texts; and perhaps his bestknown and favorite series, The Elements of Music. His long broadcasting career with the BBC included many hundreds of programs on music, and a six-year stint as head of music at the BBC World Service. From 1997 to 2010 he was editor of Piano magazine, where he attracted contributions from many of the world’s great pianists. In all his career, he was most proud of his work as a teacher. Once described as a “philosopher of the piano,” he delved constantly into the metaphysical reaches of music that affect every aspect of our lives. He taught master classes in England, Europe, and the Far East and delighted in students who shared his insights and passion for music. Anyone with an interest in the particulars of Jeremy’s professional life will find ample references on Google, and on his website, jeremysiepmann.com.

Tertia Gale ’63

Teacher, independent spirit, mother, wife, student of life, Tertia Gale died July 23, 2016, after battling cancer for a number of years. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she came to Putney her sophomore and junior years, making lifelong friendships and deepening her love of the arts. Tertia, young and forging her own path in New York city in 1966, discovered and found great meaning in Rudolf Steiner’s work, and devoted much of her life to studying and sharing his teachings of anthroposophy. She and her then-husband, Eugene, lived on communes in Colorado, British Columbia, and Maine, and eventually landed in Spring Valley, New York, where Tertia spent ten years caring for the elderly. In 1981, Tertia entered eurhythmy school, fulfilling a long-held wish. She joined the faculty of a new Waldorf school in Princeton, New Jersey, in the mid-1980s. By 1991, she and Eugene had divorced, and she had met and married Elan Leibner, also a teacher at the Waldorf School of Princeton. The two lived in Hopewell, New Jersey, for the next twenty-five years. In the fall of 2002, Tertia was diagnosed with a relatively rare cancer. She underwent two major surgeries in 2003, and additional ones in 2012 and 2015. The effects of the surgery restricted her movement somewhat, and she decided in 2008 to retire from the teaching of children. She continued to teach adults, however, right until the last year of her life. Tertia’s final days were marked by a remarkable series of conversations and encounters among those who were closest to her. A mood of serene and peaceful acceptance pervaded the home as her sons, Noah and Lucas, Elan, and her brother, Peter, and other family and friends surrounded her, cared for her, and met one another in the most redemptive and freeing process imaginable. It was a period of grace that most befitted the elegance and grace with which she lived her life.

Anna Dewdney ’83

Noted children’s book illustrator Anna Luhrmann Dewdney ’83 died at the age of 50 at her home in Rockingham, Vermont, on September 3, 2016 after a long illness. Anna Elizabeth Luhrmann was born on December 25, 1965, and grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. Anna attended Phillips Academy for one year before transferring to Putney, which her father had discovered during a summer photography class. Putney inspired Anna and gave her a sense of place, belonging, and confidence. Her classmates recalled her at Putney as self-aware, serious, driven, real, grounded, meticulous, well read, and always drawing, and remembered her long, thick, and beautiful braided hair. Anna was close to Helen Breasted, who offered her stability, reassurance, and laughter. Anna cared greatly about Putney, sharing her skills with students for a generation—if you graduated from Putney between 1985 and 2013, Anna penned the calligraphy for your diploma. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art from Wesleyan University in 1987, returning to Putney in the spring of her senior year as a student teacher in art and inviting a group of Putney students to Wesleyan to see her superb senior art exhibition. According to her sister Alice ’87, Anna knew she was going to be a children’s book author and illustrator and live in Vermont since she was a child. Anna came back to Vermont after college, working as a mail carrier, bus driver, waitress, day-care provider, and an art and history teacher at The Greenwood School in Putney while developing her own ideas for children’s books. Anna loved animals; bunnies, gnus, antelopes, bulldogs (which she owned), pangolins, and llamas all starred in her books. When her daughters, Berol and Cordelia, were small Anna would imitate animal sounds to them as they drove by farms. Anna remembered: “I would say, ‘Look, there are cows.’ And I would moo and make sheep noises and chicken noises. Our vet had a field with donkeys, and then she got a llama. And I would go ‘llama-llama-llama’…I did my books about llamas because I love the

FALL 2016



sound to the word ‘llama.’ But they’re just so funny. They have such wonderful expressive faces. They’re fuzzy and goofy, and they’re just fun to look at.” She wrote and illustrated the Llama Llama Red Pajama series about the full range of a child’s experience of the world—sharing, going to bed, getting up, mealtime, holidays, teasing, friendship, school, travel, staying home sick from school, cooking, birthdays, separation anxiety, tantrums—and the lessons learned from them. The 17 books in the Llama Llama series all became New York Times bestsellers, sold over ten million copies, and have been adapted into stage plays, dance performances, musicals, and an upcoming animated television series. Anna was an outspoken advocate of literacy. She believed that the act of reading to a child fostered empathy and kindness in that child: “What I hope the children will take away from my books is to have fun reading them, but I want them to feel loved, I want them to feel cared for, and I want them to feel confident … When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language, we are teaching that child to be human. When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes … that child then learns to feel the world more deeply, becoming more aware of himself and others in a way … to bond with other human beings, and to see and feel the experiences of others. I believe that it is this moment that makes us human.” Called “a rock star of the children’s book world,” Anna made many appearances, signings, and readings, but it was seeing and reading to kids one-on-one that gave her the greatest joy. Anna asked that, in lieu of a funeral service, her fans read to a child instead. She is survived by her parents, George and Winifred Luhrman, her sister, Tanya Marie Luhrmann, another sister, Alice Luhrmann Laughlin ’87, Alice’s husband, Josh Laughlin ’82, her companion, Reed Duncan, and her two daughters, Berol and Cordelia Dewdney.



David McPherson ’85

David attended The Putney School his sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school. At Putney, he found beloved academic mentors, developed a keen sense of the outdoors and the independence it offers, and established a love of learning which he carried throughout his life. His special mentors were his English teacher, David Calicchio, and his physics and photography teacher, Ed Shore. Because David had many talents, he appreciated the variety of Putney’s offerings in guitar, softball, skiing, and art—photography, metal working, and ceramics. Putney prepared David well for New York University and his master’s of business administration in finance and real estate at the University of Wisconsin. Putney gave him the sense of independence to venture to rural Tanzania to teach English and help build a school, and to Hungary to teach English and work as the office manager and legal assistant at the Budapest office of the law firm of White & Case. At that office, he managed the installation of the computer network, became the office expert on compliance with the Hungarian Value Added Tax, and worked on multi-million dollar mergers of Eastern Europe companies. His devotion to honesty and truth-seeking, also honed at Putney, served him well in performing due diligence. Colleagues and friends appreciated David for his diligence, persistence, and helpful nature in each office in which he worked. After graduation from Wisconsin, he did real estate financing transactions with J. P. Morgan in New York and with Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Company in Baltimore. David’s most recent position was management of real estate properties in Berkeley, California. David’s beloved son, Tyler, was born in 2007 in Baltimore, and David became a devoted father. The accompanying picture is of David and his son Tyler.

Tom Brewer ’08

Tom Brewer, 26, of Echo Park, California, passed away on April 23, 2016, when he was struck by a DUI driver while riding his bicycle close to his home with a friend. Tom was born in Stoneham, Massachusetts, on May 12, 1989. Tom graduated from Putney, then took a gap year in Peru to travel and study Spanish with his good friend, Wilder Yost ’08. He attended Burlington College for two years before transferring to Emerson College. There he received a degree in writing for film and television. He then promptly headed to LA to make his mark in the film industry. Tom had worked as a film editor for the past year. He enjoyed skateboarding, bicycling, writing, drawing and self-publishing his comics, playing guitar, adventure, and travel. He was considered a great artist and a warm, sensitive human being. He was a bright light to all who knew him. He will be sorely missed. Tom is survived by his parents, Jayne Robbins of Portland, Maine, and Chip Brewer of Gloucester, Massachusetts, his twin brother, Shawn Brewer ’08 of Portland, Maine, sister, Kirsten Brewer ’04 of Montpelier, Vermont, sister, Alicia Brewer of Williston, Vermont, sister, Jessie (Barry-Brewer) Harris of Waltham, Massachusetts, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends. EDITOR’S NOTE: We receive news of deceased alumni through many different channels; however, we do not always find an accompanying obituary, or the issue is in production when we learn of a death. Five alumni fell into this category during the production of this issue, and we wanted to share their names.

Howard Blair ’42 Leonard Wilson ’44 David Tyler ’47 Jean Eliel ’48 Anne Kupferman ’57

PUTNEY POST Emily H. Jones, Head of School 2016–17 TRUSTEES Joshua Laughlin ’82 , Chair Tonia Wheeler P’77, ’89 Vice Chair Randall Smith, Treasurer Ira T. Wender P’77, ’89, Vice Chair Katy Wolfe P’19, Clerk Charlie ’18, Student Trustee Mahogany ’18 Student Trustee Daniel Garcia-Galili ’02, Faculty Trustee Libby Holmes P’15, ’17, Faculty Trustee Lakshman Acuthan ’84 John Bidwell ’78 Elizabeth Blaylock ’80 Daniel Blood P’15, ’18, ’20 Dinah Buechner-Vishcer P’14 Natasha Osborne Byus ’88 Lee Combrinck-Graham, M.D. ’59 Lavinia Currier ’74, P’19 Joshua Rabb Goldberg ’75 Stephen P. Heyneman ’61 William P. Kellett G’02, ’15 Christopher Lehmann-Haupt ’52 Thao Matlock P’18 Breck Montague P’08, ’15 Mary Montague P’08, ’15 Nkomo Morris ’94 Peter Pereira ’52 Robert G. Raynolds ’69 Marni Rosner ’69, P’04, ’07 James E. Thompson ’74 Gan (Iris) Wang P’16

TRUSTEES EMERITI Barbara Barnes ’41 Kate Ganz Belin ’62 Joan Farr ’49 Sarah Gray Gund ’60 Kendall Landis ’42, P’73, ’79 William New, Jr. Bici Binger Pettit-Barron ’48, P’77, ’79, G’07

FALL 2016 EDITORIAL BOARD John Barrengos Michael Bodel Alison Frye Emily Jones Hugh Montgomery PUBLISHER Michael Bodel Director of Marketing and Communication EDITOR Alison Frye Alumni Relations Manager PHOTOGRAPHS Michael Bodel Aspen Gollan Laura Swoyer Jeff Woodward The Putney School Archives DESIGN Lilly Pereira The Putney Post is published twice yearly for the alumni, parents and friends of The Putney School. We welcome your comment and ideas. Please direct your correspondence to: Editor, Putney Post Elm Lea Farm 418 Houghton Brook Road Putney, VT 05346; 802.387.6258; putneypost@putneyschool.org Please send address corrections and new phone numbers to: Alumni Office, The Putney School, 418 Houghton Brook Rd., Putney, Vermont 05346, 802-387-6213, alumni@putneyschool.org

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FALL 2016




Putney Reunion 2017 The most fun you can have on a Vermont hilltop in June

JUNE 9-11, 2017

(50th reunion for class of 1967 begins on Thursday, June 8)

CLASSES OF 1952, 1957, 1961–63, 1967, 1977–78, 1986–88, 2006–08, 2011–13 REGISTRATION OPENS APRIL 1





3 wEeks to create, learn, and coNnect through art Dive deep into any 2 workshops and join an exuberant, open community on a hilltop farm in Vermont.


Studios WORKSHOPS IN THE ARTS... Animation Ceramics Dance Drawing Fashion Design Fiction Writing Filmmaking Glass Arts Metal Jewelry Painting Photography Poetry Writing Printmaking Sculpture Songwriting Theater Vocal Ensemble Weaving & Fiber Arts BEYOND THE ARTS... Farm Culinary Food Lab ESOL—English Language Class


Adult Studio Week Age 21+ August 6–12, 2017 Arts intensive for adults with 6 hours/day of instruction and studios open 24 hours/day

Session I: June 25 – July 14 Session II: July 16 – August 4

Blacksmithing | Creative Writing | Fiber Arts | Glass Arts | Metal Jewelry | Painting Engineering and Design Ages 11-17 July 16—August 4, 2017 Creative STEM program for students interested in science & engineering



summer.putneyschool.org OR CALL 802.387.6297


Night scene from the barn: said hi to this little one, then watched the birth of a calf. A good Putney night.



Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road, Putney, Vermont 05346

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