Classmates who have died since the 60th Reunion**
**Roberta Fielding Bregman Aug 2 (only recently learned)
From our Reunion Remembrance Service
A TIME OF REMEMBRANCE
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Maud Hazeltine Chaplin planned and conducted a moving service in remembrance of classmates who have died since our 55th Reunion. Classmates suggested that we include Maud's comments and poems by Ann Rockefeller Roberts and Sheila Owen Monks on our website. The names of our thirty-seven deceased classmates were read by former class Presidents, Jane Kentnor Dean, Pat Leahy Meany, and Cecily Parke Sesler as follows:
Rosemary Lawson Peters, Nancy Beatty Swett, Nancy Bivings Whitney, Suzanne Hewitt Lowell, Margot Spett Modlin, Ann Brackett Koerbel, Diane Taylor Olson, Rochelle Cashdan, Patricia Kelley Theiss, Susan Peet Miller, Margaret Hall Coffey, Eusty Barber Cowardin,
Nancy Wittenberg Rader, Irma Miller Lessel,l Kiki Heagney Tremain, Phyllis Rosen Herman, Margaret Ann Simon Scott ,
Dorothy Paulonis Zenie, Anne Schreiber Parker, Nancy Collins Collins, Carol Metzger Vanecek, Arlene Hunt Rawlings, Lois Cowles Harrison, Phyllis Yaffe Haber, Sandra Berkley Aylsworth , Marlene Bell Goldberg, Sally Bell Chamberlin, Carol Poulleys Cladouhos,
Barbara Henwood Williams, Barbara Kastner Ullman, Wanda Britton Shattuck, Janet Campbell Cardle, Natalie Crawford Amoroso,
Martha Gillman Chritton, Gertrude Watling Mulcahy, Ellen Parr May Oliver , Dianne McCracken Brown
WELCOMING WORDS BY MAUD
I would like to welcome you—and to say thank you for coming, both to our reunion and to this service. I am sure you all want to join me in thanking Joan Lasley, Janet Isenberg and Pat Cavanagh for the planning of this service—and our thanks also to all those at the college who helped to make it possible—and that includes the person or persons who set up all the chairs!
In your program you will find the names of the classmates we are here to join with as we hold them in our memory. I have been asked to say a few words about
our time of Remembrance. Words seem inadequate to the occasion. The French novelist Flaubert once wrote:
Fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of her needs or her thoughts of her
sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.
Well, I have no aspiration to melt the stars: you will shortly hear from two of our class poets, and indeed theirs is music to dance to. I serve a much more humble
purpose. I want to talk about what it means to hold them in remembrance.
Your presence here today is a testament to the private and the shared memories we have of each of them. Each one of us here today has memories of those we held especially close—roommates, dorm mates, those whom we know through our majors, those we became close to after we left Wellesley—and there are some whom we knew only slightly. But WITH all of them, we shared a life—those years we had together at Wellesley, when we laughed, worked, talked and talked some more, got excited together, sometimes got sad together, rejoiced and lamented, sang, danced (remember Junior Show?), and complained loudly, vigorously, and immaturely about what was going on in our lives and in the world. These moments are now memories—but all the more important for that. We should not let those memories go—because they are memories of our shared lives, and in honoring them, we honor those whom we miss. We grieve because they can no longer do these things—and, more selfishly, we grieve because we want them back—we miss them, we long for them, we have so much more we would like to do with them.
And that is precisely what we should do. One of my favorite quotations is from Gilda Radner, who says:
“I wanted a perfect ending…Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”
We do not know what will happen next. But we do know that we have to go ahead, do the things, finish the tasks that these classmates were not given the time to do, give the love that they had not run out of when they left us, dare to be the person they would want you to be. Do it for them and do it for the world. Their lives will be expressed through your memory, and your memory will be expressed in your actions.
POEM BY ANN ROCKEFELLER ROBERTS
37 Wellesley women
Now gone from us
Each life a treasured legacy
the words petals
falling from the lips and hearts of their beloveds
A curtain swaying in afternoon light
A favorite chair remembered
A cherished saying
Wellesley – where we came together
Classmates becoming friends
Our songs, our tears, our laughing together,
Secrets now – held in the stones of the dorms
sharing the seasons
the tastes, the colors, the smells if the land
sun sparkling the chilly waters of Lake Waban
we walked the same paths together
to and fro
wearing down the way in-between
sitting together in classrooms
comparing, sharing ideas and feelings
late nights in the dorms
holding each other in crisis or triumph
we will walk their same walk
bittersweet gift of all lives
Fire flies at twilight
night surging over
the first ray of the sun at dawn
the streams of their lives held in our hearts
flowing – remembering always
POEM BY SHEILA OWEN MONKS
When we were eighteen
We sat on the edges of our beds
and talked all night:
How we loved this one or that one,
How they loved or didn’t love us.
We were beautiful then
(Although we thought otherwise)
We were perfumed and smooth
With silky heads and strong, straight bodies.
We hummed and burned with the deep energy
in the hearts of flowers,
And we gave off their pure, indescribable scents.
We were tulips and roses;
We were camellias and pink lilies.
I couldn’t say when that began to change
Or when we felt something in us
Heavier and more tangled,
More like the intricate patches of the forest floor
Where roots and leaves are matted down and many
Where there are dark scents and shadowy places.
When the news came,
The voice on the phone was your daughter’s.
She was as old as our mothers had been then.
At first I thought, not yet!
But then I remembered: of course, my darling,
It’s right after all.
Now you are tulips and roses;
Once again you are camellias and