Vanderbilt Newsletter 2012
A 44-Year Tradition
Sally Smith Stephens
Yes, the Grandma of our class does still exist -- I, Sally Smith Stephens, did respond in recent years but the e-mails failed to go thru -- so I am also sending this one to Nancy Thier as advised.
Rick and I are still in Columbia, S.C. and now both retired. Rick stopped professing after 35 years at University of South Carolina. We are looking forward to lots of traveling -- had a great time on a cruise to Alaska and fun week in Seattle this year. There are lots of Smith relatives in the Nashville area so we have visited them and the Vandy campus. We'll be heading to Disney World the week before Christmas with our daughter's family. Next year we plan a trip to Ireland and then on to our 50th high school reunions in KY and TN.
On the home front I continue to spend lots of hours each week volunteering at a local cooperative ministry, local library branch and our church. And, of course, spend as much time as we can with our children and four grands! Brent, his wife Sheryl, 10-year old Caroline and 7-year old Ty are in Fairfax VA where Brent is a structural (forensics) engineer. Sally, her husband, Mark, 10 year old Madison and 7 year old Mia are nearby in Lexington SC. Your computers would crash if these proud grandparents exercised all our bragging rights!!!
If traveling near Columbia, please drop in for a visit! Hope this is reaching you in time for circulation.
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Lots of changes for me in 2012. I moved to my new condo in December, 2011. I am settled in here and LOVE living here. My patio and fireplace are delightful!
In July, I finally retired. Having planned carefully, I knew I was ready to retire. Can not believe I no longer have to awaken early and drive to work in ice and snow. It was absolutely the right decision and I do not miss working. I keep busy and even joined the Jewish Community Center to get a little exercise in addition to walking. My plan is to volunter for a food pantry, but I am not quite ready to make a solid commitment to that.
My son married an actress and I have not heard from him in over a year. They may be living part time in Los Angeles and part time in Australia. I would NEVER have predicted that he would cut me out of his life. That has been difficult for me to deal with. I continue to hope that he will reconnect with me in the near future.
We have a BIG 45 year reunion coming up!!!! We should all try to be there.
Hi everyone! I was fortunate to be with my children and grandchildren in Hawaii through Thanksgiving. My two granddaughters are very involved in theater as well as so many other activities. It makes my head spin. It was a great two weeks.
I am not staying home much this winter, as I will travel to Bozeman, MT., mid-December, where my son, Allan, is now living. Right before Christmas my daughter's family will join us to ski in the area. It is a real thrill for the Hawaii group to spend time in the snow! We are planning to go to Yellowstone Park for a winter experience there. When I return from Montana, I will be scheduling knee replacement surgery in January or early February. I have put this off until I can no longer do so.
I am still active with the City Council and Chamber of Commerce in Erin, TN, but nothing involving the medical field right now. I do a lot of craft hobbies and have gone to the John C Campbell Folk Art School in Brasstown, N.C. this past summer for classes in marquetry and making pine needle baskets. The weeks there were amazing experiences.
I hope this note finds everyone well.
Merry Christmas to all! This is a year of great change. I retired 2 weeks ago, and we have moved to The Woodlands, a township to the north of Houston. We haven't sold our old house yet. I will be going back to work part-time in January, but just to teach EKG classes and CPR. Jim is still working, but from the house. We are going through all drawers and moving room by room. Many, too much memorabilia! Difficult to throw stuff away, but necessary. I was too much of a packrat. We are moving on.
My daughter, Leigh, PhD, is still working at the Broad Institute in Boston, but she has moved to a larger place. Paul, our son, is now at CBeyond, which is a cloud server company. He is Vice Pres of Sales and seems to like it a lot. Our granddaughters are 13 and 11 now, growing up fast. I get to stay with them for 2 weeks in January while their parents go on vacation.
I can't believe how many years it has been since we were all starting out together. You made my day.
I am wishing the very best for all of you and a good year to come. Blessings to all.
I am grateful for another healthy, happy year in Brevard. Even in the dead of winter--"off season" for here-- there is STILL more to do than I can fit in!!
My "career" here is volunteering. Weekly all year I help in the circulation department at the busy county library. My "other" volunteer day through 2012 has varied. January through April it was helping with AARP free tax preparation service. May through November I volunteered frequently at my county Democratic headquarters. Now that election is over, I'm helping Friday mornings at a crisis food bank that serves 19%!! of my county! And of course, I continue to get lots of fun, vigorous exercise.
I hope 2013 is wonderful for each of you....
Karolyn Payne Dey
Hello everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful year. Tom asked me to marry him on Christmas of last year and on September 29th we married in Redstone, Colorado, with all our children, grandchildren and my sister, Katherine. who flew in with her husband, Jim. We had a marvelous weekend with all the cute grandchildren and older ones of mine. I have attached a picture of us and one of the grandchildren minus my grandson. Two of his grandchildren are adopted and are all precious. Redstone is an historic inn and a cute and very small tourist town in the mountains. The food was unbelievable and the wedding done so well by the planner.
I am still working for Children’s Hospital Colorado at the South Satellite. I am down to 30 hours but usually work more in the Physicians Specialty Clinic. I am not sure that retirement is in the near future due to the finances of our times. But I do enjoy the job and all the precious children we see.
I had several surgeries this past summer - got my bladder hitched up, which was great. Also had a lesion removed that they biopsied at that time. Later had a large squamous cell removed from my arm leaving a 5- inch long scar. But all is well with all of it now.
My children are great and it is wonderful to see them when I want to. Grandchildren Gabe and Sophia are now 16 and 13 and so busy with friends and sports. Sophia is in the group picture of the wedding beside me.
I believe we are scheduled for a reunion in 2013 so I will try to come for a change and see some of you lovely ladies. My best to all of you.
616-335-5487(MI), 859-396-0655 (cell)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone,
I have had a quiet year. I spent lots of extra time at our cottage in Michigan, supervising the tear out of 100+-year-old windows (39 of them) and four doors last January. This September we tore out the two layers of ceiling in the living and dinning rooms, and replaced the ceiling tiles with white washed wood. I continue to clear out the underbrush, and walkways surrounding the cottage. Starting this spring, I found I was able to begin regaining my hand at tennis and bridge. In Charlottesville, VA, my newly created gardens survived my summer absence, so our jungle is finally tamed and urbanized. That about sums up my year.
John, my son, was in and out of VA or Michigan, depending on the demands of his work, which continues to prosper. Castle Park, Michigan, my bit of heaven on earth continues to be the perfect summer vacation place. My offer for all of you to visit remains open, June through September. You cannot surpass the option for tennis, golf, beach walking on spectacular remote sandy beaches for miles on end, swimming in Lake Michigan (70'), reading on our breezy large porch overlooking the lake and tennis courts, swimming laps in our new pool, relaxing on our pristine beach, fixing meals with all the windows open to the marvelous breeze and sounds of the lake and trees, and watching awesome sunsets over the lake. The local towns of Holland and Saugatuck are charming, with abundant specialty shops. Come, stop by for a breath of fresh, Michigan summer, and stay as long as you wish.
Karin Cross Lorenz
Hello all! 2012 has been a noteworthy year.
Two grandbabies were added to our family....Maggie, born to Rebekah and Matt (Boston) in March, and Timothy, born to Matthew and Judith (Alaska). Those happy events account for 5 weeks of our time this year!
Claire, age 2/12, (Boston) visited us for a week at the farm, by herself, in July.... which turned out to be a successful experiment. And on another spectrum, Rod's mother died peacefully at her residence in Peoria, in August, at age 97.
A summer highlight: Cheryl, Jane, and Leah trekked to Peoria in June. We all spent some time at the farm along with Kate and her fiancée, Steve, and his boys. NEWS ITEM: coincidently, the 4-mile Steamboat Classic Race happened the same weekend. Everyone participated, except the sensible ones (Jane, Cheryl, and myself!) Lo and behold, our very own Leah came in 2nd (SECOND!) place in her age division!! Go Leah!!
In September the LOTN (Ladies of the Night....Vanderbilt work friends) ventured to Alaska for our 10th anniversary of traveling together. Our unplumbed cabin became our home base. Great fun with numerous unexpected adventures!
As you know, Matthew and Judith live off the grid in Alaska, so our prayer was for a healthy baby who would preferably be born IN the hospital.....Valdez, 85 miles away, over the mountains, in winter. Our wish came true. Timothy was born a week early IN the hospital WHILE we were flying from Chicago to Anchorage on November 1st.
For the next 3 weeks in Alaska, we quickly learned how to adapt to -30 degree weather with a wood-burning stove for heat....and no plumbing. For Matthew and Judith, life goes on as usual. They took/take Timothy out, to the store, to visit friends, to our cabin, etc, each day. Rod and I developed a routine, which included a mile hike and babysitting (for me) and cooking, hauling water from the local well, wood cutting, and stove tending (for Rod). We were a little sad to say goodbye to our cabin for another year, but arrived home just in time to host the Boston crew along with Kate and Steve for Thanksgiving.
Footnote: Matt and Judith and Timothy are coming to Peoria enroute to France in January, and also in June, so we will see them again soon.
In June, Kate and Steve will be married in our home, with the reception (pig roast) at the farm.
And YES, next year is our 45th!!! We all need to save the date; right now (October 3-5) Life is zooming by!
Meanwhile, may each of you experience "peace" in the coming year.....I think of you often.
Hope you see you in October!
Jane Law Sheridan
Christmas week Anne, Ben and Max and Jane, Les, and Alex will meet in North Carolina. Our friends live less than an hour away and will join us for festivities. Ben is 3 and hasn’t quite figured out the Santa thing, but was very impressed with Halloween. Santa asked Ben what he wanted for Christmas and Ben replied he wanted to be “a big fast black race car.” Ben was hoping for Halloween to be every Tuesday...wait until he sees Christmas!
Daughter Anne and the boys will be relocating to Cincinnati in 2013. She’ll look for a house to rent in January and plan a move in February. Son Alex lives in Cincinnati, as do two of Anne’s friends. When Anne started thinking about changing positions, Cincinnati was really the only city of interest for her, and the position in International Programs at the Univ of Cincinnati appeared! Needless to say, Jan and Feb should be Wild.
Otherwise, we Sheridans are much the same. I’m using “wrinkle remover,” but have not
shed 50 pounds or learned Spanish. However, I have hugged the little boys a lot and am so lucky to be able to help.
Many happy wishes for the new year.
Peggy Jill Gordon-Sherman
5515 Green Valley Drive
Knoxville, Tennessee 37914
Home phone (unlisted): 865-851-7277
Cell phone: 865-705-0989
I was hoping that I would be able to say that I am divorced when I wrote this 2012 Newsletter, but not yet. It so happens that this guy is so delusional that it is impossible to negotiate with one this sick, so things drag on. He will settle if I pay him $200,000 but since I do not have this amount of money, that will not happen. I do have a new, great lawyer, Kevin Shepherd. What a difference a good lawyer makes.
Lisa has had a good year in general. A few months ago, she was hospitalized for 5 weeks at a state mental hospital for diagnostic and medical management. Her final diagnosis is Anxiety Disorder; PTSD is a sub category of this. I have been telling health professionals for 8 years that she is not psychotic, but suffers from PTSD and Momma Tiger was finally validated by several doctors and an MMPI. The importance of a correct diagnosis is necessary for proper treatment--what a difference. The past few months have been difficult in that she has been hospitalized about 8 times for medical problems, the last admission being sepsis, encephalopathy, acute UTI and kidney injury with severe dehydration. She exhibited 0 symptoms until she collapsed and was transported to the ER with an off the chart WBC. We both continue to be fighters and have positive attitudes and I still love life to its fullest.
We had a great Thanksgiving lunch with my son, Danny, and his wife, Tracie. We have essentially been estranged for over two years. I do miss them in my life. We met for lunch and he gave me red flowers, which are now dying, in the vases I have placed all over the house. I hope this to be a beginning of having them in my life again for there was always a hole in my heart with the void of my dear, sweet son. I am inviting them over for an Xmas brunch. Lisa and I are busy with decorating for the holidays. It is slow, but rewarding. I find that as I get older, if I get tired of doing something that I love to do, I just stop and continue when the mood hits me so that I can continue to enjoy the things that I do for fun, like gardening, decorating, cooking, reading, etc.
Wishing all of you a healthy and content 2013. Love to you all.
Charlene Bell Tosi
Happy Holidays to all my Vandy classmates! My biggest news this year is that I FINALLY self-published my book that I have been working on for 20 years. It is the culmination of my work with women in the Woman Within Program that I designed in 1987, which is still going strong 25 years later. The name of my book is Discover Your Woman Within: Journey to Wholeness. You can check it out on my website:www.discoveryourwomanwithin.com. If you order a book on my website you get a personalized, signed copy! My son, Tony, designed the cover!
My other news is that I starting the retirement process. I plan to do less with the Woman Within Organization (www.womanwithin.org) and more with my family. This past year I spent a week in Mexico with my son, David, and his family and we plan to return to Mexico over the Holidays for a week. Also this summer we were privileged to baby-sit David’s 2 children, Aryana and Ian for 10 days. It was great fun—AND I was exhausted at the end of it.
Our other son, Tony and his life partner, Jenny, have visited us several times this summer and it is always a delight to be with them. The painful part is that Tony is divorced, so we see his children very infrequently because of some strained relationships between him and his ex-wife. We do the best we can with the situation, however, I wish it were different.
My husband, Rich, has really been enjoying his practice of meditation. He is active taking Tai Chi and does Mondo Zen and meditation retreats 3-4 times a year. It seems to be the ‘pill’ that has worked the best for his depression! He I now leading a workshop called “A Matter of Life and Death” which looks at how we want to die and how to be with dying person. I am very aware this is something we are all looking at these days—not only with our parents, but with our own mortality as well. Not easy, however, necessary.
Life has been good and I feel truly blessed. Thanks for keeping this connection and I look forward to the time we can all be together again! Have a wonderful 2013!
My big news concerns my children. Erin opened Little House Green Grocery this month. It is a neighborhood source for locally produced foods, fresh produce, grocery essentials, prepared foods, events, cooking demos, and classes. I am so proud of her. And since she is here in Richmond, I can get good, healthy, fresh food from her. Alex and Miranda eloped and now have baby Wylie, my first grandchild. He is perfect, of course, except for living in Austin Texas, a bit far for me to see much of him. We do Skype and I treasure those times.
I'm still working at my medical billing business, and about to start my 21st year at the Virginia General Assembly in January (2 months). Love my embroidery and knitting. So lucky to have a job(s) and a home.
Happy Holidays, and a Wonderful 2013 to everyone.
Hello, everyone – 2012 has been busy for me with travel and surgeries. Travel included 2 cruises: Caribbean last February and, most recently, the Panama Canal. The Princess cruise visited Aruba, Panama, Columbia, Costa Rica and Grand Cayman. My friends and I enjoyed it all, including the educational seminars offered prior to each port. What a remarkable accomplishment to build the canal 100 years ago! Fascinating history! I loved Costa Rica and will try to return.
I mentioned last newsletter the planned May Charleston trip with my three sisters. Great! Because of retirement -0 YEAH—I was able to visit Stephanie, Steve and Parker (now 21/2) pretty regularly, every 2-3 months. Both Stephanie and Steve were successful in changing to better, busier, and more secure engineering companies in the area. Steve in Virginia Beach and Stephanie in Norfolk. They will move from Newport News to Virginia Beach after the holidays. They have just closed on their new home and plan to rent their Newport News home. Lots of stress – the good kind!
My left thumb surgery, tendon transfer, mentioned last time, has increased somewhat my thumb strength and flexibility. In July I needed surgery to decompress a nerve in my left forearm, which was causing drooping fingers. Improvement, with therapy, is awfully slow. I also have a new silicone joint (knuckle) in my left little finger, which had been stiff/frozen straight with arthritis. That works fine now.
Most serious is a pretty new development. In August I began to experience tingling down my right arm. It rapidly developed into numbness and weakness in my hand and arm. MRI showed degenerative disc disease (no surprise there) with bulging cervical discs and one disc herniation. The herniated disc pressed on 2 cervical nerves. The rapid acceleration of symptoms, especially hand weakness, was alarming. So, November 6th, my neurosurgeon did a hemilaminectomy, removed the herniation, releasing pressure on the nerves. I am still numb and weak (writing with this right hand is a chore) but time and PT should help. It might take 1-2 years to know if any permanent damage. Surprisingly, I have not had pain with any of this, but the numbness is really annoying.
Socially, no changes – dinners and movies and theater with girlfriends (also cruises). I do help out, when needed, at my office where I do miss my dear office family. I continue to attend Shapes classes, most the aqua classes, between travel and surgeries – so helpful for my arthritis.
This year I began volunteering at Resurrection House, a day center for the homeless, where they can receive counseling services, food, clothing, a doctor visit, bicycle if needed for getting to work, bus passes. They can send and receive mail, take showers, come in to spend time out of the heat or cold (mostly heat). We do their laundry (60-70 loads each day). It is so satisfying to help.
I think about the pray for the friends who have experienced such tragic and sad family losses. I am grateful for the fortunate in my family and friends. Compared to many friends, my few health issues are minor. I plan to able to keep traveling whenever the opportunity presents itself. Reunion?
I wish for all of us and our dear families happiness, good health and peace in 2012.
I am really looking forward to hearing from all of you. This time of year always brings anticipation of the newsletter, and I love it! Our family is fine. Spike and I are still working at our same jobs with no plans to retire just yet. David is practicing law here in Knoxville. Marie works as a financial analyst and also as a nanny. (Two opposite job descriptions!) Justin will be finishing up his second and he says forever last graduate degree in architecture. He works part-time for UT as an extern in facility management, something he has an interest in doing. He is OVER school! Andy is a second year med student at Wake Forest and really likes it. He is engaged to marry a Wake classmate, Emily Hix, in August. She is adorable, and we are so happy that she will be a very special addition to our family! Marie likes the idea of a sister at last and the fact that Emily has agreed to team up with her to stand up against all of the men in our family. That sounds awesome!
Now, it is very important that ALL of you make plans to come to reunion this year, the first weekend in Oct. I have been to all of them, and it is really so much fun! Besides, this is our 45th - can you believe?! Please try very hard to come! Hope all of you are well, will have a good Christmas, and a great year ahead. See all of you in October???
Leah Kinnaird, EdD, RN
Once again, I'm so glad we know each other and keep in touch. This has been an enjoyable year for us, starting with a stream of houseguests from Dec through April, including Karin, Cheryl, and Jane who were calling Gene, "Pool Boy," by the time they left. In August my mother moved in. She is 96 and a pretty amazing card player, but less stable on her feet. Ours is one of the smallest nursing homes in the US, and the care is exceptional.
I'm consulting locally with some traveling mixed in. I don't like the idea of retiring and am keeping my knowledge of health care up-to-date. Looking forward to working with CEOs/Trustees of small hospitals in April...will try to gently rock the boat and disrupt the status quo.
Gene and I went to California this year while I attended the Magnet conference. I'll attach a picture to demonstrate that we really did hike (not climb) cliffs. I continue to run regularly. Ran in the Steamboat Classic in Peoria mid-summer. Neither Karin, Jane, nor Cheryl (who were close by) ran. I came in 2nd in the 65+division in this 5,000 person, 4- mile race. Impressed? [There were 7 people in my division, which means the older one gets the better the odds.] I've been a member of the SOS Dragon Boat team for more than a year now, paddling with other breast cancer survivors...vigorous and competitive.
Family update: our son Chris is getting divorced, has taken up running and will be in the Miami ING Marathon Jan 27th. MaryLynn, Doug, and kids (ages 10,9, and 8) are happy and healthy. Getting a BS in Social Work, Shawntrice, our foster daughter, is teaching autistic preschoolers in San Antonio. I had a terrific time taking her two oldest daughters (ages 15 & 14) to Adventure Island in July.
Thinking about each of you and wishing for some time together, (Attached is my "conquering the cliffs" picture.)
2012 has been a busy year for me. I am so grateful that I retired when I did because I have needed to help with my 95-year old mother's care. Even though I have 4 siblings, I am the " in charge" person. Mom was misdiagnosed in the ER on Christmas Day 2011... Ended up with strep sepsis from her knee. Had emergency surgery and lost all short-term memory and the ability to walk. So, she requires 24-hr care. I spend a lot of time with her, as well as coordinating her caregivers. Etc. The rest of my time is spent with my adorable 20month old grandson, who will be getting a little sister in April. We are thrilled about that!
Walker and I both stay busy with church activities and other volunteer groups. Our greatest accomplishment has been the renovation of our kitchen and two of the bathrooms! It has taken the full year and we're not 100% finished! Maybe we'll get to travel somewhere this year! Love to all, And Happy New Year!
Doreen James Wise
2012 was the best year yet. I LOVE retirement.
Just for fun (not) we moved again. Our new address is 2 Crestwood Drive, Houston, 77007-7007.
I did as much hiking and fishing as possible. And my best friend took me to France. We cooked with Lydie Marshall at her school in Nyons after a week in Paris. I had never been and I fell in love. Cannot wait to go back!
One of my cancer friends and I hiked in northern CA (see picture). I also took up kayaking-and will go on m first Vandy organized trip in February. Anyone else going to see the whales? It would be fun to do together...
Sort of work: I am sitting on the Board of an artisan bakery, trying to help them manage rocket growth. And I am an "angel" investor in a tech startup started when I was at MRC and spun off. It is very interesting and so different than anything I have done before....
We are all well and blessed. Blessings to all!
Sally Hale Womack
Cookeville, TN 38501
Life seems about the same as in the past several years. Chuck continues in his urology practice full time though he plans to retire this coming summer. I have forebodings of disaster hitting when we are home together all the time.
I have had some health problems this year though I seem to have escaped surgery so far. Cardiac symptoms in January sent me to a cardiologist who did every test he could think of before ordering a cardiac cath in March. Some blockage was found but none to warrant stints or bypass surgery. Now I am on meds, of course, and am a faithful attendee of cardiac rehab. Thank goodness for cheerful dedicated nurses.
Our four children are no longer children but grown responsible adults. Two have children of their own - one with a 14- and a 12- year old and another with an almost 3 year old and a 1 year old. We are hoping for more grandkids eventually but guess we'll just have to wait and see. One son, the youngest and the one unmarried in the bunch, is a flight instructor building his hours until he can apply for a commercial pilot job. He took us up in a little twin-engine plane in the summer. Now I understand better why he loves to fly; the world is beautiful just above the treetops.
Best Wishes for a joyous 2013! Doesn't that sound strange?
My Dad. I miss him every day!
Instead of celebrating our wedding anniversary at our usual spot, Waffle House, we went on the Allure of the Seas; a FABULOUS Royal Caribbean ship out of Ft. Lauderdale and then spent Xmas with Mom. Had a kitchen grease fire on New Year’s Day, which postponed my return trip to Atlanta by 2 weeks. A total disaster but no one was hurt and the damage was kept to the kitchen. Remember do NOT put flour on a grease fire; it’s baking soda! Elisabeth will never forget that again.
Jennifer continues with Sun Valley Race Committee in the winter and landscaping in the summer. She is one happy camper and as she says, “living the life.” Catharine did move to Sandpoint, Idaho, and loves it. She found a job in a week working for two nurse practitioners. When they discovered she could do more then patient assessment and filing, she wrote a grant and received funding for an immunization program for underprivileged children and is currently transferring patient medical documents to the computer, which will take 4-5 months. She is through with further school and misses lab work. We’ll see what happens this year.
Elisabeth announced her engagement in August 2012 and planned a spring wedding in Orlando. She and Brad and Brad’s 14-year-old son have been living together for a year. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Brad’s mother joined them in November. With mounting stress Elisabeth and Brad cancelled the Orlando plans in November and decided on a destination wedding in Las Vegas Jan. 17th, 2013 with immediate family. With the delay in Florida, I returned to Atlanta on Tuesday, went to the hospital to stay with a friend who had surgery, she came home with me and we learned together about a bladder catheter cycle, left for home on Thursday morning, I found my MOB dress Thursday afternoon (once again thanks to Rebecca), alterations on Friday, picked it up on Monday, typed the wedding program Monday at 5:30pm (whoops forgot about that one), took it to Paper Affair, the proof came back at 6:56 pm and I picked them up this morning. We leave for Vegas in the morning!
It’s a wonder Tom has stayed with me for 40 years! Hope to see you all at the reunion!
PS: Thanks to Betsy and Sally for getting back in touch. We missed your news! No replies from Glen Ellen, Betsy McMillan and Pat Westmoreland. Everybody else responded! Thanks guys!