Class of 1970 Summer 2020 Class Note

Sudy Taylor Graham

Well, without a doubt, the biggest news is our 50th Reunion (Unbelievable! How did that happen?! Right?). I’m sure that I’m not the only one sitting here in disbelief that we are actually that old. I mean, weren’t we just yesterday having coffee in the Bear’s Den — or studying at the library — or scurrying off to class — or watching a demonstration against the Vietnam War? To me, it does all seem like yesterday, and I’m looking forward to catching up with all of you — to see where life has taken each of us on its journey.

OK. Let’s see what I have for this column.

Recently I received an update from Sally Torrey Leclair ’89G, and was so excited to learn that she and her husband, Art ’69, only live two hours from me! You bet we’ll be getting together! The only bone I have to pick with her is that she hadn’t let me know five years ago when they first moved to Winter Park after she retired as principal of McGraw School in Maine — sorry, Sally – had to say that ;- ). Anyway, they are thoroughly enjoying our beautiful Colorado winters as they try keeping up with their two active grandkids, who are skiers and hockey players. And, in the summer months you will find them on 13K mountain hikes — although this summer they plan to tackle their first 14er! Having a son, daughter-in-law, and a two-year-old grandson back in Maine, they make it back “home” quite frequently! Sally ends on this note, “Meanwhile, living life to the fullest — a happy 50 years later — and our 50th anniversary this June.”

In our last column you probably read about our classmate George Smith. If so, you will not be at all surprised to learn that George recently received the fifth annual Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (along with another great outdoorsman, Charlie Mann). Congratulations, George! Well deserved! Read about George’s achievements elsewhere in this magazine (and you might hop onto his website — it’s quite a delight).

Jeff May, thank you for taking the time to send me such a beautiful email — it truly made me feel like I had just stepped into your life. My challenge is going to be how to do it justice when I attempt to condense it! So here it goes. Upon graduating, Jeff moved to New York, taking a job at The Sterling Winthrop Research Institute doing pharmaceutical research in diabetes. A few years later he attended the University of Rhode Island, where he earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry. And, from there, Jeff undertook a post-doctoral Fellowship in reproductive biology at Duke University. It is here where he stayed “put” for several years as a research associate in the Department of Ob/Gyn — defining his research in ovarian function. Next, he moved on to Wichita, KS, to help establish The Women’s Research Institute. Within a year Jeff was asked to take over the human embryo lab and spent the next nine years doing assisted reproduction (IVF). He writes, “When asked how many children I have I say around 300 (haha!).” Eventually, due to changes within the clinical IVF group, the group dissolved. It is during this time that Jeff met Lisa, a young medical student, and they got married and had two beautiful daughters (one is a college sophomore and the other a junior in high school).

Where are they now? After the clinical group dissolved, they moved back to Wichita, Jeff as a faculty member at Wichita State University and Lisa as a radiologist. They are still in those positions but trying to figure out where they want to “land” after their youngest joins the college ranks. Having acquired a love for the desert they are considering the southwest and the area around Durango, CO.
I think this is a wonderful idea — and, it seems like most of the residents in Stephen King’s neighborhood agree. Stephen and Tabitha Spruce King ’71 requested a zone change, which will allow them to turn their Bangor home into an archive of Stephen’s manuscripts, writings, articles, notes, photographs, audio and video recordings, etc. The house will also become a “writers retreat” where writers would be allowed to stay while working on their projects. The Bangor house will not be open to the public — the Kings do not wish it to be any more of a tourist attraction than it already is. If approved by the city, this change to the inside of the house will be gradual (it’s not going to happen overnight!).

Perhaps many of you are familiar with Rick Charette and his Bubblegum Band — or better yet, have been blessed by being at one of his concerts! Rick has spent 35 years delighting children everywhere with his music. What makes him so loved by all? He finds out what kids want to sing about — what puts a smile on

their faces and makes the songs fun. Rick also engages his young audiences by using puppets or hand motions — and, since most of them know the words to his songs, they sing along! And like most of us in the Class of 1970, we finally retired (we may not want to admit it, but we are in our 70s!). Rick recently held his last performance; however I think we will still see him in hospital wards singing to the children, (am I right, Rick?).

OK, a few things that I found interesting. Rick’s hero (way back when) was Pete Seeger, for the way he seemed to hold his audience “in the palm of his hand.” And, that during his years attending the University of Southern Maine, he played gigs at bars and coffeehouses with his guitar, dulcimer (which I played back in the day!), and an occasional banjo. Rick took classes at USM but received his degree from the Orono campus. Now he plans to relax with his wife and enjoy precious time with their children and grandchildren (and, I bet we if we could listen in they’d be singing “I Love Mud!”).