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Lois Loehr Brown
The Oct. 27, 2013, issue of Parade magazine asked if Orson Welles’ 1938 radio drama The War of the Worlds really created panic. Well, it certainly did on the campus of Mary Washington College! I was a sophomore that year. Several of us had been invited to the home of a classmate near New Hope, Va., for the weekend. On Sunday evening, a family member drove us back to school. If there was a radio in the car, it was not turned on. The young man drove as if he had “road rage” in his heart. We were very much relieved to get to Fredericksburg in one piece! Suddenly we were overcome with a very weird feeling. There were no students on the campus! It seems that when they heard the broadcast, they believed that it was all true and quickly packed up and headed for home! Yes, the 23-year-old Orson Welles did indeed create panic all those 75 years ago. And it is still vivid in the memory of this graduate, who did not hear the broadcast but saw its result.
Phyllis Quimby Anderson
Anna Austin Ware still has her routine, with a relative who takes her to the grocery store and doctors’ appointments on Tuesdays and a house helper on Wednesdays. They fill in for her busy daughter, who stops by every morning before going to her office in Chestertown, Md., where they had a recent sailboat downrigging. Anna said it’s fun to see the ships when driving over the Chester River Bridge, and she’s ridden on them in the past. Anna had a recent outing with Libby Phillips Roe and Bill, and Libby’s son, Bud, who drove them around Sudlersville, where they saw their now-sold home. They visited the Roe farm, where Bud lives at Sarah’s Fancy (1748). Libby and Bill spent the night, and Bud took them back to Cokesbury the next day. The first Roe ancestor came to the area in 1673 and had other property before Sarah’s Fancy. They found a paper at Washington College in Chestertown listing the men in the troop of Col. James Roe (War of 1812), who lived at Bud’s, and a re-enactment was being planned.
Elizabeth Cumby Murray celebrated her 90th birthday in September with a 90-year-old friend. They had a party with about 200 friends at Sankaty Head Golf Club, with good food and weather, and a great band for dancing. Because of arthritis, Elizabeth doesn’t walk too well, but she still drives and plays bridge four times a week. She recently visited niece Debbie of Richmond. Since Elizabeth no longer travels, she doesn’t get to see her remaining relatives in Virginia. She looked forward to Thanksgiving with most of the family at daughter Trish’s home.
Mary Ellen Gardiner Starkey is doing pretty well, but walking is difficult, as it is for all of us 90-year-olds! She needs some help but still lives alone in her townhouse. She told me about her family, but it was hard to keep up. She has two great-nieces in college; one was about to graduate. Jan is a high school teacher, and Mary Ann has her master’s degree.
I (Phyllis Quimby Anderson) turned 90 in May. As I said last time, my children had a big party for me. Since then my daughter has married, and they are living upstairs while they look for a house. My son from Utah has been staying here and doing jobs around the house. I still drive, except at night, and he does a lot of the driving when I need it. I still play bridge, sing in the choir, am a Red Hatter, and work with our church’s Women’s Fellowship. I visited the new USS New York, built from the metal of the destroyed Twin Towers, with my two sons. Hank was on it, and every year they have a reunion in a different place, this year in Baltimore. I never knew there was so much to see there. While there, we saw my daughter Melanie, who has cancer but was on the mend. Her daughter and son-in-law in Arlington, Va., brought her to Baltimore to see us. Her son was with her for a while before heading to a new job in Chile, and friends stay with her when they can. My other children, grands, and greats are well and successful. Looking forward to a bright New Year!
Betty Moore Drewry Bamman
Mark and I planned to move to Haines City, Fla., in January. Any news? Please email me.
During the season of change, when much of the nation is bathed in glorious color, we fondly recall the autumnal beauty of the MWC campus.
Remembering those days, we are saddened to have lost another dear classmate. Mary Elwang Sharpley of Charlottesville reported the passing of Hilda “Hildy” Jones Blakemore, 84, in August. A celebration of her life was held in September at Main Street United Methodist Church in Kernersville, Va., with interment the next day at Fairfax Memorial Park Cemetery. A native of Cardiff, Md., Hildy was valedictorian of her Bel Air High School class and majored in history at MWC. After graduation, she taught fifth grade for five years. She was married to William Kinzer Blakemore for 49 years, and they lived 42 years in Springfield, Va., where they reared their two sons. In addition to her parents and husband, Hildy was preceded in death by her sister, brother, and son Robert. She later moved to Kernersville to be near her other son and his family and became active in their church. She is survived by son William and his wife, a granddaughter, extended family members, and friends. On behalf of the class, our heartfeltsympathy was sent to Hildy’s family. We remember her lovely face, sunny disposition, and sweet smile.
In the fall/winter edition of Class Notes, we reported the June death of Mildred Vance Secular, sister of Lucretia “Lucy” Vance Gilmer. In her latest letter, Lucy, who lives in Bristol, Va., enclosed an obituary for their only brother, Claude Vance Jr., 89, who died in September after a long illness. Ever an active, dedicated church member, Lucy finished entering all the church library books on computer and printing author, title, and subject cards. She planned to cook her usual Thanksgiving dinner for her two nieces, Claude’s daughters, and her grandnephew.
In August, Judith “Judy” Stone Johnstone and Bob drove from their new Weston, Mass., home to Illinois for granddaughterKatie’s outdoor wedding beneath two giant oak trees on a perfect,blue-sky day. Judy enjoyed havinga mini-family reunion at the sametime. Granddaughter Meg, Ann and John’s daughter, is engaged. The husband-to-be had friends hide in the shrubbery in Central Park and pop out cheering when she said “yes.” After the summer wedding, four of their seven grands will be wed, and they look forward to the great-grands. The Johnstones had settled in well in Weston but still miss Virginia. Judy’s current reading list includes the latest biographies of Jefferson and Washington, and she said Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life gives a description of Mary Washington that wouldn’t have pleased Mrs. Bushnell!
Barbara Tripp Wright of South Hill, Va., had a follow-up exam in October by her U.Va. medical team. It showed she was making progress, but her eye surgery had not yet reached its desired effect. She still had double vision, though it had improved since March, and she hoped for further improvement before her next exam in April. She still can’t drive but is grateful for her neighbors and church family. Barbara stays in touch with Helen Lowe Eliason, who likes living in a Delaware assisted living facility and meeting new residents. Alta Towe Fogelgren and Barbara stay in touch by email, exchanging, Barbara wryly added, details of their latest health problems.
With the beginning of the fiscal year in July, we thought you might like an update on the status of our Class of 1949 Scholarship. With no additional donations in the last fiscal year, the total market value as of June 30 remained at $52,651. Of the $2,400 award budget for the academic year 2012-13, $1,000 went to Jennifer Metesh ’13, a historic preservation major from Roanoke, Va., and $1,400 to Jessica Hopkins ’15, a history major from Duncannon, Pa. Of our $2,500 annual budget for 2013-14, $1,250 went to Hopkins, who was renewed, and $1,250 to Casey Klein ’17, a freshman from Fredericksburg with an undeclared major. Such an award would have covered much of our college tuition 60-some years ago, but with today’s charges, it covers little. Please keep our prospective Devils in mind as you consider donations, and remember that this scholarship originated with and represents the Fabulous Forty-Niners!
Corinne “Conni” Conley Stuart spent last summer in Halifax for her role in an episode of the Canadian sitcom Mr. D. Next we heard from her from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, on the opposite side of Canada, where our multitalented Conni played an evil person in the horror film Wolf Cop, about a cop who becomes a werewolf. Our lovely Conni portrays a “shape-shifter” who changes from one evil being to another. Can you picture that? Conni said she was learning lots about the horror genre and that it was loads of fun to shoot because of the special effects. She cited a scene filmed in mid-November in which the cop was tied to a tree, turning into a werewolf. It was about 4 degrees Fahrenheit and took four hours to shoot. Her mythological character was dressed in long robes, fortunately covering silk long johns, thermal tights, and layers of warm socks in her boots. She said it was “quite cozy, except when the wind blew snow in my face!” Get ready for this: Conni’s character impaled the cop/wolf with her sword, then drank his blood, which she claimed as a veritable “fountain of youth”! Can’t you imagine Conni’s glee at portraying that role? Some octogenarian, isn’t she?
Conni also wrote about Moose Jaw, perhaps best known as the headquarters for Al Capone during prohibition. They have a mock-up of his office (night club and brothel included) and the tunnels where they transferred booze to the railroads. Young actors played various characters on the tour. Even more interesting was the mock-up of the tunnels and living quarters for the Chinese railroad workers. Conni felt the treatment of the workers rivaled slavery and that it’s a testament to the Chinese that there are so many prosperous and accomplished Chinese-Canadian descendants today. Our warmest thanks to dear Conni for her mini-travelogues. Just when we were in despair for having so little to report, Conni came through! As you must be aware, May 30, 2014, will mark exactly 65 years since we walked across the stage in GW, clutching our new diplomas in anticipation of the next part of our lives. Now, we are invited back in honor of that memorable day. We’ll be part of the combined 1908 Society rather than an individual class. But, while we have no idea how many or few of us will make that nostalgic journey, we’re still the Class of Forty-Nine! By now, you should have received a Reunion Weekend brochure with the format and schedule for the weekend of May 30 to June 1, 2014. May we meet again, you know where, you know when … “some sunny day?”
As ever, love to all of you from both of us.