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are a wonderful organization. I met some great guys in it including several ushers in my wedding who didn’t make it back. After the Marines I went into the insurance business with my dad in Boston. Twelve years later, I bit on one of those can’t-refuse offers that took us to Calif. We’ve been here for 30 years. I’m still working full-time in insurance and loving every minute of it. But the most important thing to tell you is about my son, the doctor, John Jr. He is now chief dir. of cardiology at Scripps Hospital in Southern Calif. It’s the highest you can go.” (Your reporter could hear Jack’s buttons popping.) “Betsy and I just celebrated our 57th anniversary. We’re fine!” Shifting gears: our Caribbean sources report that Jack Keniley’s stolen boat is “still on St. Martin in the hands of the French, which means it’ll never be returned or at least not without major legal costs.” From Dave Fenton, “We visited the Leonards for a couple nights in May. Played a little golf. Didn’t hurt anyone. They’re both fun!” Our barbershopper, Dave Brooks, checks in: “I’m learning to paint portraits at Silvermine Art Center. Some of my paintings even look like the person I’m trying to portray. Maybe learning something new helps keep you alive—like George Gershel learning French. So glad Ned Collins is back with us. I have good memories of him and his Cape Cod family.” Jack Evans, from his “Shangri La” in Canada, called: “In spite of an early-June snow, we had a good summer and an unexpected surprise: one day our phone rang and a voice said, without any room for disagreement, ‘My name is Dirk; I live down the lake, and I’m coming for a visit!’ A little later, he stepped out on our dock and introduced himself as, Dirk Soutendijk ’56. He saw the picture of our ‘retreat’ in the winter Bulletin and recognized it as his lake too. We had a good visit. Small world dept.” We welcome the return of Don Stevens, who fills us in on some of the past 60 years: “From Taft, I enrolled in Indiana Univ., where I grew up in a hurry listening to the stories of my GI Bill classmates. For example, ‘When my B-17 was shot down over Belgium, we fell into friendly hands. But soon they gave me a deck of cards to use as markers and sent me on my way, walking to Switzerland. I made it, but my hair turned white.’ Another, a B-24 pilot, told of rolling down the runways en route to Germany with his plane loaded to the gills. The moment he felt a little lift in the aircraft, he pulled the gear up, pointed the nose to clear the trees, and away they went…. I graduated in ’52 with a degree in business, much the wiser because of these guys…married and went off to the Air Force stationed in Minneapolis…. Finished my two years as a USAF budget

officer…returned home to Indianapolis… joined a property and casualty co., where I grew into the treas.’s job and retired in 1997. Ruthie and I had two girls—both are married with children, who are now college graduates. In 1961 my activated Air National Guard Wing sent me to Europe. As a result, I have six years of active duty in the USAF—28 all together. I retired as a lt. col. and was awarded the USAF Commendation Medal. I lost Ruthie to throat cancer in 2001. We were married almost 50 years…. I remarried in 2002 and am now living in Noblesville. 1945 to 2009.... It’s a lifetime, isn’t it!” Larry Leonard reports on his clan’s Aug. stay at the N. Fork Ranch in Shawnee, Colo.: “Had a wonderful time. My horse, General, figured out quite soon that I was not a true cowboy! The photo captures the gang, all nine of us. I’m the good-looking guy with the fat stomach. I will add that ranches are expensive; in fact, very expensive.” Your reporter asked, “Was this then the celebration of your 80th?” Larry said, “No. My 80th will be April 2010. Joan and I will probably toast that happily alone at our local bar and grill!” And from his “Lake Woebegone” perch, John Philips writes, “I’ve had to retire from ballroom dancing, but still am up to dining room words of wisdom: ‘Why do old women eat garlic? So you can find them in the dark.’” And from his always welcome op-ed perspective, Nate Lord: “Someone had better figure out a political strategy to force Congress to enact a graduated consumption tax to promote investment, and a credible threat of a constitutional amendment establishing a sinking fund to assure repayment of our govt.’s debts. Otherwise Congress (many of whom think they have earned life tenure) will repay them with inflated legal tender. I wish all classmates good health.” And in good voice, George Gershel begins what we hope will be a regular View of an American in Switzerland: “Switzerland has a population of 7.5 million. The country is divided into 26 cantons. In the U.S. they would be states, but the power of the canton is much greater. The central govt. manages foreign affairs, collects federal taxes and represents Switzerland in the world. There are seven ministers in the federal system. Each year one is elected pres. but stays in the background. What is most interesting is that a lot of decisions are made by referendums. The federal govt. of Switzerland has very little to say about everyday living. Switzerland is a true democracy. It’s a peaceful, well-organized, common-sense country. I will be back in the U.S. every three months, staying in a townhouse I have rented in Columbus, where my children live. Initially I thought I’d stay with Harvey on these return

trips and maybe recover some of my losses. However, I’ve concluded his food is for rabbits and his liquor below normal standards.” We find some sad but yet inspiring news from Ingram Schwahn. Your reporter has always looked forward to reading Ingram’s interesting, upbeat letters. So I was caught off guard when I read: “I first noticed sometime in 2005 that my dear Patricia seemed to have the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.” All of us wonder I suppose what kind of a human being I will turn out to be when the chips are down. No question about Ingram. When your reporter asked for his permission to share with the class this change, which for almost four years now has been asking for constant love, dedication and courage, he replied, “Yes, it has been a tough time for both of our families. Each day is a new day for Patricia, with new things to learn or re-learn. She still has a memory of her parents’ and grandparents’ names and places. It will be the last memory to go, along with my name. However, she continues to be kind to people, sweet to me, and I to her. Hopefully, there will be a cure someday for this dreadful disease.” Maybe, a Taft graduate will be inspired to go into research to find the missing bullet or stem cell to attach itself to the neurons to rebuild them. They have moved from Rockwall, Texas, to a retirement home in Dallas “on a tree-filled, beautiful 63-acre campus.” The address is: Ingram and Patricia Schwahn, Presbyterian Village, North, Apt. #1118, 8600 Skyline Dr., Dallas, TX 75243. Eduardo de Lima called from Brazil: “My daughter is back from Miami. I promised her if she graduated from college I would finance her travel…. She’s traveled all over Europe. Now she’s got to get a job. As to the view from Brazil: we have lots of corruption. But I’ve reached the point where I don’t give a damn. I’m a good fighter but to wage war with politics seems fruitless. Good health is what it’s all about now. No sale on the ranch, but I remain hopeful. I miss Taft. We had a great time there. And as I read about our class today, I find we’re all a lot more interesting than we were in ’48. Please give my best to all.” Bill Hatch jumps in to cheer the return of Ned Collins, and adds, “As we all approach 80, nothing seems to work very well, but with a lot of Tylenol I manage to play tennis and golf two to three days a week; none well, but at least I am upright. We took a brief trip east (1,500 miles worth) to see friends and granddaughters; one granddaughter works in NYC. Exciting place, but glad I never lived there. Guess I am just a country boy.” The phone rang again, and it was Father John McSweeney in Vt.: “My health is good, although my legs aren’t what they used to be. I’m retired from Taft Bulletin Fall 2009 45

Profile for Julie Reiff

Fall 09 Taft Bulletin  

Quarterly magazine of the Taft School

Fall 09 Taft Bulletin  

Quarterly magazine of the Taft School

Profile for reiffj
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