Sudy Taylor Graham
Well, here we are again. At the time of this writing, I find myself buried under a ton of snow, temperatures (if we’re lucky!) reaching into the 20s, a fire always kept blazing, and coffee always available! As for my friends in Arizona and Florida — I’m not talking to you (just kidding)! So, on with the news.
I’ve been batting emails back and forth with Karla Edmunds Christensen, which has been a lot of fun. Do you realize that this classmate of ours (along with her friend Lucy Leaf ’69) rode her horse from Bethel, ME, to Jordan, MT, in 1973? I have a hard time wrapping my head around that adventure! Karla moved to California, where she received an M.A. in educational administration in 1985. Evidently, Montana called her back and she returned to Jordan in 1996. For 13 years, she served as Garfield County superintendent — as well as teaching in one-room country schools (I immediately think of Little House on the Prairie!). As in most of our lives, we run into some years that aren’t so fun — for Karla, it was a dark period of severe undiagnosed depression. Pulling out of that period, Karla writes, “I decided that life begins at 70. I started a new business called Prairie Breeze Equestrian Center.” This is a special center that uses horses to heal children who have been abused — where they find security and learn how to make wise decisions and trust again. Beautiful, Karla! She and her husband, Gene, also have a piano-tuning business and have three children.
I got an email from Sally Devereux Ellms the day after I sent my column in! Sally, I’ll try to do my best updating your news to 2019 (and, yes, if I don’t make it back this summer — I will for sure for our 50th, and we’ll catch up personally!). Sally retired from teaching in 2008 (but really didn’t retire — we’ll get to that in a minute). Her husband, Chip ’71, worked for Nalco Chemical for 27 years, retired, and ended up working (first part-time and then full-time) for a small company in New York. They did this while raising three kids and operating a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm. The farm expanded as they bought land from neighboring farmers. They are now in their 15th season; however, Sally and Chip are no longer at the helm, as their son and daughters have taken over. To me, what makes all this so special and rewarding is that their kids and seven grandchildren have been a big part of all of this from the beginning. Sally and Chip have actively kept in touch with University of Maine friends over the years — and, I’m sure we will see them in 2020 at our 50th! Class of ’70 — I want to see you all there!
A short email from Glenn E. Bushel tells us that he is still practicing law in Baltimore. And, since his kids and grandchildren also live in Baltimore, I guess that’s where he’ll stay! Glenn and his wife, Kaye Brooks Bushel, have recently enjoyed traveling and seeing the sights in Eastern Europe — visiting Romania, Hungary, and Austria. Glenn writes that it makes them appreciate “what we have here.” Thank you for your email, Glenn.
I’ve taken the liberty (as a friend!), Jerry Stelmok, to add a blurb about your business: Island Falls Canoe! So, I’m going to doing a little bragging for you! Jerry has been building beautiful custom wood and canvas canoes since 1975. I always smile when I remember Jerry telling me, “If you can’t get there by canoe it isn’t worth going.” In some ways, I may have to agree. Some of you may be familiar with the name E.M. White of Old Town. Well, Jerry still uses some of those original designs along with some of his own adaptations (and, yes, the artwork you will see on some of the canoes is his work!). Not only has he had a hand in building over 800 canoes, dinghies, and such – he restores, teaches classes, and has helped over a hundred people build their own canoes in his shop in Atkinson, ME. Please visit Jerry’s website: www.islandfallscanoe.com.