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from the editor

Six members of the Class of 1936 gathered for lunch in one of Wyndham’s private dining rooms on May 27 to celebrate their 70th Reunion. An original class banner, yellow felt with cut-out letters spelling “The Perfect 36,” hung over the fireplace. Memories flowed with the wine—terrors of freshman year, the difficulty of the academic work, a freshman show organizer who “wore a skirt made of linoleum and didn’t believe in washing her hair,” the blunt speech of Mr. Herben (Chaucer and Shakespeare) against knitting in class, the easily embarrassed Mr. Broughton (Latin), and the passion for ensemble singing.

Betty Hemsath Van Newkirk ’36 recalled performing madrigals in a concert of college groups led by Leopold Stokowski. She helped another student from Bryn Mawr’s contingent take flowers to Stokowski’s suite at the Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, which had “a ceiling painted blue with stars and a peach-colored, kidney-shaped velvet desk. … I drew water in his bathtub so we could leave the flowers there.”

Hilarity gave way to discussion of classmates’ subsequent lives and careers, and to the state of the world and of the nation. Sally Park Scattergood ’36 noted she had finally accepted she can’t change the world, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t stopped trying. All agreed that old age is no excuse for hopelessness and giving up efforts to make a difference. After a silence, someone finally asked, “What’s the mood on campus? Are students concerned, involved?” They were relieved to hear about their community service and activism, and the range of political views and activities.

A theme of Reunion 2006 was taking time to recognize “overlooked treasures” on campus and in the area. We add to those the human element. As member of the Class of 1956 wrote: “Bryn Mawr is my umbrella against the uncertainties of the world. Best of all is the rainbow, the small band of classmates, roommates, sisters of the heart, who can always be depended on to cheer, chide, mourn, giggle, hoot, rejoice or just be there.”

Kimberly Blessing ’97, electronic services representative to the Executive Board of the Alumnae Association, writes a “silent bid” at “Athena's Attic,” the fifth auction held during Reunion for the benefit of the Art and Archaeology Collections Preservation.            


Return to August 2006 Highlights





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