Class of 1956 Summer 2019 Class Notes

Faith Wixson Varney

I received a phone call from President Bill Johnson that reminded me that he and/or Betsy Harvey Ruff write each scholarship recipient congratulating him/her and asking a few personal questions to bring to our next meeting. That way we get to know him/her a bit better. It is nice to know him/her and to know what s/he intends to do with his/her life and education. (Not that we know, even in college, what we’ll be doing in 15 years.)

I received a nice note from Henry “Hank” Brodersen. I’m going to quote him:

“My wife [Ian] and I just returned home from a trip to Florida, where we attended the 90th birthday of one of Ian’s relatives. There were 30 to 35 people there including many old friends of the birthday ‘boy.’ I naturally mingled and talked to lots of them.

“In the course of a discussion with one old-timer (82 years old), he mentioned that he had lived in New Jersey at one time, and when I asked where, he said Hackensack. I perked up immediately since I graduated from Hackensack High School. He then mentioned that he grew up in Farmington, ME, and attended the University of Maine. I perked again! He said he started out in the Class of ’58 but was out one year so he graduated in ’59. He belonged to the local fraternity — Phi Eta Kappa — and of course I told him I am a Sig Ep. He then said he knew Bruce Hamilton ’58, whose brother, Allen Hamilton,  was in our class. I then said the only PEK I could recall knowing was Dan Rearick. He then said, ‘oh yeah, Dan and I played in the band together.’ I couldn’t believe we had played together! His name is John Elmore ’59 and he played trombone. I’m not sure but I think he majored in some sort of engineering. His picture is in the Phi Eta Kappa picture in the 1957 Prism but he only shows up in the band picture in the 1956 Prism. He now lives somewhere in the Sarasota, FL, area, and no, he doesn’t play trombone any more.

“As for me, all is well. I’m still playing with the Southern Maryland Concert Band (53 strong now, with five tubas!) as well as a small group for church services every Sunday at a nearby Veterans Home. And I deliver Meals on Wheels at least once a week. Ian is well also, still volunteering with the Garden Guild at a nearby historical plantation as well as many church functions. We’re both still pretty active, or at least as active as people our age can be. We haven’t traveled much but we’ll be out in Arizona for Thanksgiving with our son and his family, and then Christmas in Florida with our daughter and her family. “I hope you’re both well and that you’re still tooting” (I stopped last summer). ”I know you had mentioned a while back that Erlon ’55 had to drop out, so I hope he’s OK. Say hi for me, and for both of you, stay well.”

Mary Lou Rossano-Collier contacted the Alumni Association about her late brother, Daniel A. Rossano, Jr. Danny was a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brother and was studying engineering when he was killed in a tragic car accident on College Avenue in April of his junior year. The Class of 1956 donated the painting “Forest Light” by art professor Vincent Hartgen to the University of Maine in Danny’s memory. The Rossano family attended UMaine’s 1956 graduation and the presentation of the painting.

Danny’s sister recalled seeing the painting as a small child, and contacted the university about its location. “Forest Light” had moved around in the ensuing years, from the campus to the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor. Mary Lou persisted in her efforts to see the painting again. “Forest Light” now hangs in Alumni Hall (not to be confused with Buchanan Alumni House) with a plaque that reads: “Gift of the Class of 1956/ In Memory of Daniel A. Rossano, Jr., Class of 1956.”

One last bit of news: Dick and Betty Brockway Nevers are enjoying their second great- granddaughter. Eliza was born in June.

Finally — watch your inbox for information about a mini reunion luncheon in October in South Portland.

Please come!