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Greg Gaiser
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Jane Pomerance (Gallagher)
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Married 3 Heathcote

Something I wrote last December . . . .   

                                                                                                          
December 22, 2007

 

Hello from Maine!

 

Yesterday I went to pick Nate up at the middle school at 2:25.  By 2:35 we were on the trail Nordic skiing at Twin Brooks, a recreational center a couple of miles from Yarmouth.  The sky was deep blue, the trees coated with snow, and the trails were groomed packed powder.  I kept thinking: it doesn’t get any better than this.

 

After we got home, Jake wanted to take Marley for a walk in the woods.  We have no snow shoes, so that meant trudging through knee-deep snow along the trails behind our house.  Not easy.  And my legs were already just a bit tired from trying to keep up with Nate at Twin Brooks.  But we went off into the woods and Marley was beside himself with glee.  By then it was about 4:30 and almost dark.  The sky was deep periwinkle and the yellow moon was rising over the snow-covered trees.  We stopped to take in the scene just as the last rays of sun were lighting up the tops of the trees.  I thought: we live in a post card.  Amazing.

 

This has been an interesting year.  Our babies are growing up.  Jake is a junior, Bart in 8th grade, Nate in 5th.  Jake is driving (yikes!), thinking about what colleges to look at, and is as tall as Whit (and still growing).  One minute he’s cracking me up, the next minute driving me insane.  But despite the challenges, he is very close with Whit and me and still talks with us about everything.  Counting that blessing every day.  He’s caring and hard-working (when he feels like it), a deep thinker and (most often) a pleasure to be with.  Still playing soccer, hockey and lacrosse and truly loving hockey and lacrosse.  I think he likes crashing into people almost as much as scoring.  Bart is a sweet little soul.  He’s working very hard and doing well at school.  He’s passionate about history and knows almost every detail about WW II.  He loves to hang out with his buddies.  Two days ago, he spent an hour all by himself making a snow fort on our back deck.  It looks like the alps back there now.  Cracked me up the other day when he came home from his guitar lesson and was practicing “Freebird.”  I’m thinking:  no, that’s MY music.  When he’s not paying attention, I’m going to learn that one myself.  Also playing soccer, hockey and lacrosse and hustling when he wants to.  He’s sensitive and bright and (most often) a pleasure to be with.  Nate is the highest energy kid I’ve ever known.  He just operates at a higher frequency than most people will ever reach.  He’s fast, loud, spirited and full of trouble.  On his soccer team, they call him “the weapon.”  Several times, from the sidelines, I heard the coach yelling “get it to Natey, get it to Natey!!”  He’s tiny, much smaller than most of the others on the field, but he has this fierce determination (perhaps because he’s the youngest of three brothers?) that serves him well.  He’s also a very kind, deeply caring little angel (when he wants to be) and (most often) a pleasure to be with. 

 

Whit is still working with the Protein Group and traveling to Michigan once or twice a month.  He’s become quite a competitive cyclist and is disappointed if he doesn’t log a couple thousand miles on the bike each spring/summer/fall.  Fortunately, he didn’t hit any deer this year (at 35 mph on a bike, that’s not pretty).  Hoping he’ll get as addicted to Nordic skiing once I get him out there on skate skis.  Still playing hockey in a men’s league and loving it.  He coaches Bart’s hockey and Bart and Nate’s lacrosse teams and the kids and parents all seem to appreciate that.  He’s patient and balanced and (most often) a pleasure to be with.

 

I’ve been working part-time (well, pretending to work part-time) for Safe Passage, the organization Jake, Bart and I have volunteered with in Guatemala.  For those of you who may not remember, Safe Passage’s mission is to help children and families who live and work at the Guatemala City garbage dump break the cycle of poverty in a dignified way through education.  I began working at Safe Passage in April on events, special projects and outreach.  I love this organization and can’t imagine doing anything more meaningful with my time.  It has been a year of transition.  Our Executive Director, my friend, Hanley Denning, was killed in a car accident in Guatemala in January.  Also in January, a documentary called Recycled Life received an Oscar nomination.  Recycled Life is about the people who live and work at the Guatemala City garbage dump and contains interviews with Hanley.  After the accident, the producer and director of the documentary created a film Tribute to Hanley using footage they had taken while filming for the documentary.  It’s an amazing portrayal of the difference one person can make in the world.  After years of volunteering with Safe Passage, I was asked to join the staff after I coordinated a major event in Portland featuring the Maine premiere of Recycled Life and the Tribute film.  We had less than six weeks to plan the event because we wanted to have it on Hanley’s birthday, March 9th.  We had the producer and director fly in for the event, we had a local TV personality emcee, a local singer provide music, and we ended up selling out the Merrill Auditorium, a beautiful theater with 1900 seats!  And, amazingly, an executive from HBO flew up to make a $10,000 donation to Safe Passage at our event.  One of my favorite moments from that crazy, emotional time was the day I was driving Bart and a friend to practice and my cell phone rang.  It was the HBO exec calling to confirm a few details.  I got a kick out of asking Bart and his friend to “keep it down back there, I have HBO on the phone!”  Big bug eyes in the back seat.  A big part of my job is coordinating events in other parts of the country using the films as a way to build awareness about and raise funds for Safe Passage.  My experience with Safe Passage has been an amazing journey.  I have learned and grown more as a person because of this experience than anything else I’ve ever done (except, perhaps, being a parent).

 

I feel blessed every day to live in Maine, to be surrounded by such beauty and peace, and to have my family, my dog, and my supportive community around me.  We have faced some profound grief during the past few years.  One of my best friends died not nine months before Hanley was killed; so in a very short time, two women who were very close to my heart passed away.  This has given me an incentive and an opportunity to explore my faith, my spirituality, and my core values.  As I said, I’m learning and growing.  I know that I need to be close to nature to be happy.  I know that the more I see of man, the more I like my dog.  I know that I am blessed to have crossed paths with so many incredible, kind, funny, caring, and spirited people.  I know that love IS the answer.  I know that if I don’t meditate every day, I’m not often a pleasure to be with!!

 

I hope you all have a blessed, peaceful, warm holiday and a happy, healthy 2008!  Be well and enjoy!

 

 

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Heidi Hoppenfeld
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March 13, 1960 Technology Sales Single
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Michael Macy
July 24, 1960 Community Development Committed Relationship Green Acres
     The studies were interesting, the security of a career compelling
     At the extremes though -- in sports, in love, in altered states, in nature
     . . . i kept encountering something Transcendent and Mysterious  -- all the more so because no one seemed to acknowledge or talk much about it.
     So i caught a different train after graduation, walked the Rockies, lived in India, delved deeply into all the sciences, religions and philosophies.
     Finally found "It" circa 1987 ... life's been even more of a roller coaster ride ever since!
     Updates promised for our 50th ...  
     Sorry i couldn't make our 30th, but best wishes to all my old friends!
          - Michael
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Stanley Toll
January 19, 1960 Exceutive Recruiter Married 3 Greenacres

In Houston since Jan '83; Wife Julie; married Sept '88
3 kids now 17, 15 (boys) and 12 (daughter)
Last 17 years have been running a successful Executive Recruiting desk (head-hunting) for Accounting & Finance professionals within the Healthcare Industry.
Not too many photos on the SHS website; will try and get a photo on soon. Amazing to see the changes; the memories are of how everyone looked at 18.

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Madeleine Stimpson (Melkonian)
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VP for Institutional Advancement and College Relations www.mountsaintvincent.edu
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David Sondheim
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Applied Technology Teacher - Sir Frances Drake HS, San Anselmo CA www.drake.marin.k12.ca.us Married 2 Edgewood
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Jeffrey (Jeff) Perry
October 09, 1960 Analyst www.lemurproject.org Married 4 Greenacres - Class of 1971

In the thirty years since graduation I've managed to travel roughly half-a-mile from the house that I grew up in.  However, I now live on the opposite side of Post Road, which makes me feel like I've made some progress (although I'm still not allowed to park in the senior class parking lot).   I moved back to town in 1996 largely because of the "Cheap Deli", only to have it close down about five years ago.  Regretably, there are very few establishments in Scarsdale anymore where one can buy a cheeseburger wedge and quart of beer for $2.00, while all the while admiring the collection of dead flies above the meat counter.  Other than this, the hardest part of living in Scarsdale again is having to now root for Fox Meadow to beat Greenacres in elementary school sports games.  On a positive note,  I am now close enough to walk to town, so no longer need to hitch - which will make Grover Fitch's mother happy.  I have four children in grades 1 on the low end (Fox Meadow) to 11 (SHS).  In an SHS Class of '78-related twist, I met my wife at a party thrown by Nicky Moretti to which she was brought by her good friend Susie Agoston.  Professionally, I've been able to accomplish much of what Michael Mattis has scientifically while still holding down a full-time job in a different field for the past 25 years.  Despite what my parents said, I've still never acquired a taste for beets.  For the last couple of years I've spent much time pondering something that Billy Abrams pointed out recently - we are now closer to being 70 years old than we are to being 20.  There's no way that I've found to spin that positively.  When not overcome by depression because of this I spend most of my time trying to keep my SHS-junior son and his friends from doing what we did while at SHS.  Thankfully since we've graduated they've raised the legal drinking age in Hartsdale from 14 to 21.

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Nina Stachenfeld
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Associate Professor, Yale University School of Medicine
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Michael Bartalos
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Artist www.bartalos.com
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